Hello, brunch food idea. I mean, I know I put “breakfast” in the recipe title, but this recipe was made for brunching on. If you are wondering, “what exactly is a peanut butter graham crunch?” Well. Let me explain. It’s your new favorite thing and I already have 8901 more ideas for other recipes to make with it. So what is it? It’s mashed up graham crackers mixed with peanut butter and maple syrup. And it’s the bees knees. (vegan friends, not literally<3)
Truth be told, this smoothie “bowl” would be just as enjoyable served in a glass, so don’t let the whole “bowl” thing stand in the way of your smoothie dreams. This cool lemony treat is the perfect antidote to the steamy summer heat. Look at that, I’m rhyming—not intentional, but I’ll take it. And on that note, I’ll leave you to it. The zingy, lemony treat, that is . . .Read More…
3 ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup coconut milk cream
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp turmeric, ground
Mint leaves, fresh
It takes little more than a whiff or two for the most phlegmatic of cats to transform into a furry ball of ecstasy. Frisky and frolicking, rubbing and rolling, head over heels over tail – as Simon the cat shows below, cats go gaga over catnip
Kitty Crack: Not Just for Tame, Little Ones
What does it take to transform the King of the Jungle into a frisky ball of feline fur like an overgrown kitten? In a word: catnip. This humble aromatic herb is renowned for the euphoric effect it has on cats. Not just the little house cats, but the Big Cats too.
Lions, leopards, cheetahs: they all go gaga over catnip, as this video shows. Take a look: this is the cutest cat video ever! Well… IMHO.
Do Big Cats go Gaga for Catnip?
The cat’s responses are actually pretty similar to a female cat’s typical playful, even predatory reaction to sexual pheromones. The behavior, however, is not directly related to any sexual response (Source).
The kitty high can last from 10 to 15 minutes. After this, the cat will be immune to catnip’s charms for about an hour. Often, this activity is followed by a crash: a period of sedentary zoning, when the cat may settle into a dreamy, silly pose.
The cat’s pawing, chewing and rubbing against the catnip leaf helps release even more of the intoxicating vapor into the air.
So, How Does Catnip Work Its Magic On Cats?
According to the American Chemical Society, catnip owes its psychoactive effect to nepetalactone, a compound found in the herb’s essential oil. Nepetalactone is a feline attractant that exerts its influence through the olfactory system, the sensory system that is responsible for the sense of smell. Experts believe that it works by mimicking pleasure-seeking pheromones in the cat’s brain.
How Pheromones Work
Pheromones are chemical compounds that enable creatures of the same species to communicate with each other. In effect, they act as airborne messengers that carry information between individuals of the same species.
When a cat, for example, secretes pheromones, they impact the behavior of its fellow cats. They do this by binding with neural receptors in the other cats, and trigger an instinctive pattern of behavior.
Nepetalactone acts in a similar way when a cat inhales the essential oil from catnip. It binds with olfactory receptors in the cat’s nose. These receptors, in turn, trigger a neurological response that causes the cat’s euphoric behavior.
Kitty Crack? What the Science Says…
While catnip may have an LCD-like effect on your cat, it is neither a drug nor addictive. This infographic explains the chemistry behind the drug-like effects of this herb.
How Catnip Works
The sensitivity to catnip is an inherited susceptibility: experts say more than 70% of all cats inherit a “catnip gene” that makes them susceptible to the herb. The rest are simply indifferent to it. One in four cats is not genetically wired to go gaga over catnip.
The trait does not emerge until a kitten is about six months old and approaching sexual maturity. Adult cats experience the greatest effects, which may be due to the maturity of their reproductive senses and stronger pheromonal instincts.
In the Canadian Veterinary Journal, Grognet observes that, unlike the frenzied, even uncontrollable high a human may experience by taking a hard drug, “Catnip produces a very definite, repeatable response. A cat will pretty much do the exact same thing every time it smells it.”
Catnip, botanical name Nepeta cataria, is an aromatic herb of the mint family. An herbal cousin of peppermint and spearmint, it is native to Asia and Europe, and was introduced to North America by European colonists.
Nepetalactone, the compound that gives catnip its effect, is found in microscopic bulbs that coat the herb’s leaves and stems. When these fragile bulbs are ruptured, they release nepetalactone into the air.
Source: Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Cats get their high off catnip by inhaling the nepetalactone from a live plant, plucked leaves, dried herb material, or an essential oil extract.
Catnip is an aromatic flowering herb in the mint family. Close herbal cousins include peppermint, oregano and basil
A Human High?
Catnip does not have a reciprocal effect on humans. There is no similar human high, because our brain is physiologically different from the cat’s brain; it is not wired to be triggered by cat pheromones.
Neural receptors are species-specific, and can only be found in the species that produces the pheromones. Without these receptors, the human brain is immune to the lure of catnip.
Sniffing versus Sipping
While sniffing catnip does not have an effect on humans, it has a sedative effect when they sip it as an herbal tea. In fact, as early as the 1600s, Europeans valued the herb as a mild sedative, brewing tea or extracting juice from its leaves. It was a widely popular tea before they were introduced to Asian teas. Today, herbalists often prescribe catnip tea for its calming, sedative effect, which is similar to that of chamomile.
Catnip Herbal Tea
Catnip tea has a calming, sedative effect on humans, thatâ™s very similar to chamomile
Catnip was widely indulged in in Europe until the introduction of black tea from China.
Another benefit that catnip offers is its excellent insect repellent properties. Research shows that it is even more powerful, albeit shorter-lasting than DEET, the most-widely used chemical repellent. Other benefits this herb offers include alleviating colic in infants, relieving excessive flatulence and treating toothaches.
Tips for Using Catnip
Catnip, like other essential oils, loses its potency over time. It is also photosensitive to Ultra Violet rays, so over time, exposure to light causes it to lose potency even faster.
If you need to store catnip, freeze it in an airtight container. This will keep it fresh and help to maximize its potency. If that is not convenient, then use an airtight container, and store it in a cool dark place.
There are different ways to give catnip to your cat.
• Grow it in a pot and keep it near a window or in their cat enclosure.
• Dry it out and crumble some on the floor for them.
• Buy toys with catnip in them
• Spray it on the scratching tree
Rejuvenating Catnip Toys
To rejuvenate an old catnip toy, rub loose catnip on the toy’s exterior to refresh the scent. You can also store it overnight in a baggie with catnip, or spray it with catnip oil spray.
If you are using dried catnip, crumble it to release the potent essential oil, before you just sprinkle it.
Your cat can get desensitized if she’s around catnip all the time. To avoid this, put away catnip toys after play. Put them back out after a day or two.
Brew your self a Cuppa! Here’s how:
• 2 teaspoons catnip
• 1 cup water, boiling hot
• Honey to taste
1. Place the dried catnip in a cup
2. Add the boiling hot water and cover
3. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Strain. Flavor with honey as needed
How to Make
Catnip Herbal Tea
Get your gingerbread fix without having to mess with making, rolling, chilling and cutting cookie dough , not to mention saving yourself a week of heartache because you can no longer taste anything you consume because you’ve burnt off all your taste buds because you have no patience at all when it comes to waiting for cookies to cool before you inhale devour sample them . . . not that I would know anything about that ??? , sign me up! #winning
There are many reasons why people eat and not just hunger. One of the major reasons that make people eat several times per day is the belief that they will boost their metabolism. According to the American Dietetic Association, eating frequently may be good for your health so long as you take between four and five hours between meals. However, you should always remember that every calorie counts.
One of the benefits of green tea is boosting metabolism, according to a World Healthiest Foods’ report. This is because green tea promotes the loss of visceral fat, which accumulates in the tissues lining the abdominal cavity and surrounding such internal organs as the intestines. One of the problems associated with visceral fat is metabolic syndrome. Green tea contains caffeine, theanine, and catechins, all of which promote fat loss.
Break the Fast
Scientific studies have shown that eating breakfast is very important for good health, particularly because it boosts metabolism. It also encourages physical activity.
If you really want to boost your metabolism, one of the best methods is to exercise. Exercise helps in adjusting the caloric equation, which is the main reason why it is highly recommended for shedding off extra pounds.
It helps in losing weight because it ensures that your body uses the calories you ingest to maintain a good balance. According to Dr. Martin Katahn, a Vanderbilt University psychologist, a low calorie diet is self-defeating.
It is being reasonably active that will boost the metabolism and help in keeping one’s weight down.
Avoid Refined Grains
Products made of refined grain causes the body to secrete more insulin, says Dr. Joey Schulman. While insulin helps in removing glucose from the bloodstream, it does not remove it from the body but takes it into cells. More insulin will therefore result in excess fat in the body, which lowers metabolism.
Eat More Protein
Metabolism involves the transportation of molecules to different parts of the body. One of the things that enhance the transportation of molecules is an appropriate balance of amino acids, which are contained in protein.
Dietary protein also results in the release of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon promotes the use of fat by signaling fat cells to release fat into the bloodstream. Including some protein in one’s meals will hence boost metabolism naturally.
Most of us feel some discomfort in our guts from time to time. It may be because we’re nervous about something, or perhaps we ate something that didn’t agree with us. But if you regularly feel aches in your abdomen, it might be a sign of a disorder called irritable bowel syndrome.
What is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms—including pain or discomfort in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movement patterns—that occur together. Irritable bowel syndrome doesn’t lead to cancer or other health problems. But its discomfort can be difficult to live with. The severe or frequent abdominal pain it can bring often leads people to visit a doctor.
Physicians and researchers don’t know for sure what causes irritable bowel syndrome. One possibility is that it comes from changes in the way that the brain and the gut communicate. Dr. Emeran Mayer at the University of California, Los Angeles, is an NIH-funded scientist who’s working to find treatments to correct altered brain-gut interactions. “Most people would agree that stress plays an important role in triggering symptom flares in irritable bowel syndrome,” says Mayer.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects about 1 in 5 Americans. It occurs more often in women than men, and begins before the age of 35 in about half the people who get it.
There’s no medical test to identify irritable bowel syndrome. Instead, doctors make a diagnosis based on the patient’s symptoms. The most common symptoms include bloating and pain in the abdomen, along with changes in bowel habits. People with irritable bowel syndrome may have constipation, diarrhea or both. Many patients first notice symptoms after a stressful event, like losing a loved one or changing jobs. People with irritable bowel syndrome often report higher levels of stress or anxiety. Stress reduction strategies and cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy, can help relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Some researchers suspect that irritable bowel syndrome can be caused by a change in gut bacteria. The gut is usually filled with helpful bacteria, which our bodies need to digest food. But sometimes the types of bacteria can change, like after taking certain medications. For people with this type of irritable bowel syndrome, a supplement of probiotics—a collection of live, healthful bacteria—might help. Probiotics are available as capsules, tablets and powders, and they’re found in some dairy foods, such as yogurts with live active cultures. The potential benefits of probiotics, however, are still under study.
How can my diet treat the symptoms of IBS?
Many people with irritable bowel syndrome find that certain foods can make them feel worse. “There is no specific irritable bowel syndrome diet,” says Mayer. “Irritable bowel syndrome patients are generally more sensitive to a variety of foods.” Every case of irritable bowel syndrome is unique, so if you have symptoms that disrupt your life, don’t suffer in silence. Your doctor can work with you to find the treatment that works best for you.
Eating smaller meals more often, or eating smaller portions, may help your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Large meals can cause cramping and diarrhea if you have IBS. Eating foods that are low in fat and high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice, whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables, may help.
Fiber may improve constipation symptoms caused by IBS because it makes stool soft and easier to pass. Fiber is a part of foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state in its Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 External Link Disclaimer that adults should get 22 to 34 grams of fiber a day.1
While fiber may help constipation, it may not reduce the abdominal discomfort or pain of IBS. In fact, some people with IBS may feel a bit more abdominal discomfort after adding more fiber to their diet. Add foods with fiber to your diet a little at a time to let your body get used to them. Too much fiber at once can cause gas, which can trigger symptoms in people with IBS. Adding fiber to your diet slowly, by 2 to 3 grams a day, may help prevent gas and bloating.
If you have irritable bowel syndrome, try keeping a diary of the foods you eat and how they make you feel. Then, you and your doctor can decide together if you should try making changes to your diet.
What should I avoid eating to ease IBS symptoms?
Certain foods or drinks may make symptoms worse, such as
foods high in fat
some milk products
drinks with alcohol or caffeine
drinks with large amounts of artificial sweeteners
beans, cabbage, and other foods that may cause gas
To find out if certain foods trigger your symptoms, keep a diary and track
what you eat during the day
what symptoms you have
when symptoms occur
Take your notes to your doctor and talk about which foods seem to make your symptoms worse. You may need to avoid these foods or eat less of them. Your doctor may recommend that you try a special diet—called low FODMAP or FODMAP—to reduce or avoid certain foods containing carbohydrates that are hard to digest.
Examples of high FODMAP foods and products you may reduce or avoid include
Fruits such as apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, mango, nectarines, pears, plums, and watermelon
Canned fruit in natural fruit juice, or large quantities of fruit juice or dried fruitVegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and garlic salts, lentils, mushrooms, onions, and sugar snap or snow peas
Dairy products such as milk, milk products, soft cheeses, yogurt, custard, and ice cream
Wheat and rye products
Honey and foods with high-fructose corn syrup
products with sweeteners ending in “–ol,” (including candy and gum), such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol
It is one of Nature’s most powerful healers. Dubbed “The Spice of Life,” turmeric has long been one of the most highly valued medicinal herbs in the ancient Indian and Chinese systems of medicine. Today, modern science has provided the basis for the use of turmeric and curcumin for conditions ranging from minor wounds and bruises to some of the most dreaded of diseases: cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Turmeric and Curcumin Health Benefits
What the Science Says
Research shows that turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a chemically-diverse herb, boasting over 200 bio-active compounds. The most powerful of these is curcumin, the same compound that gives this spice its golden yellow color.
Over the past few decades, numerous clinical studies have shown that curcumin has unique anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which have powerful curative and preventative potential. They alleviate inflammation, retard age-related diseases, protect brain cells, inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors and boost liver function. How do turmeric and curcumin health benefits work?
As an Anti-Inflammatory
Modern science confirms that turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory herb. This super spice has been shown to be effective in reducing the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with inflammation. As several studies show, this makes it highly effective for treating for arthritic conditions, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis.
How an Anti-Inflammatory Works
Turmeric contains over 2 dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) is an enzyme that is responsible for the formation of prostaglandins, which cause the pain and swelling of inflammation.
Turmeric’s COX-2 inhibitors block this enzyme from producing prostaglandins, helping reduce inflammation, relieving pain, swelling and stiffness.
As an Anti-Cancer Agent
Cancer, one of the most dreaded of all diseases, is characterized by an uncontrolled growth of cells. Curcumin works by hindering this growth at the molecular level, helping prevent or slow the growth of cancer.
How an Anti-Cancer Agent Works
Curcumin hinders tumor growth by starving cancerous tumors of a blood supply.
Like all cells, cancer cells obtain the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive and grow from blood vessels. They obtain this nourishment through a process called angiogenesis. Curcumin blocks cancer cells from this this essential process, which cuts them off the blood supply they need. By cutting off these supply lines, curcumin inhibits the growth and spread (metastasis) of cancer in your body.
In this video, Dr Li explains how cancerous tumors grow and spread by “hijacking” the body’s normal process of angiogenesis. He also explains how these tumors can literally be starved to death.
As an Antioxidant
Curcumin is an antioxidant that works by neutralizing damaging, destructive molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage in your body by “scavenging” electrons from other molecules. This cell damage is the cause of many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
How an Antioxidant Works
Free radicals are unstable because they contain unpaired electrons: normally, electrons come in pairs. To make up for the missing electron, free radicals basically “steal” electrons from other molecules. Left unchecked, this creates a chain reaction that damages more and more healthy cells, a process that responsible for causing some of the most chronic of diseases, like cancer and heart disease.
Antioxidants protect cells from this damage by preventing the actions of free radicals. They “donate” electrons to free radicals, stabilizing them and preventing them from invading other cells.
As a Neuroprotective
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is characterized by a progressive cognitive impairment. Studies show that turmeric can be used to improve cognitive function in patients with AD.
Both inflammation and oxidative damage play a key role in the nerve cell damage caused by AD. Turmeric’s potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities provide significantly protection from the damage caused by both harmful processes.
However, the most prominent characteristic of a brain affected by AD is the presence of beta-amyloid plaques. These plaques are basically the accumulation of small, chemically “sticky” fibers called beta amyloid fibrils, which gradually build up into plaques.
One crucial way in which curcumin works is by preventing and even reversing plaque build-up in the brain, slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2004 study found that AD mice that were treated with low doses of curcumin showed a reduction in their the levels of beta-amyloid of around 40%, compared those not treated with curcumin. The same study found that curcumin was more effective than NSAIDS like Ibuprofen and Naproxen in inhibiting the development of beta-amyloid plaques. Furthermore, unlike NSAIDs, curcumin does not have the toxic effect that NSAIDs have on the toxic effect on the kidneys, liver and GI tract.
Another study, by the University of California, found that curcumin not only inhibited the accumulation of beta amyloid in the brains of AD patients, but also broke up existing plaque.
As a Cholagogue
Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) supports the traditional use of turmeric as a digestive aid. It helps ease the symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, gas and bloating.
Turmeric may also alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), a chronic gut condition, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
How a Cholagogue Works
Turmeric owes its beneficial effect on the digestive system to the cholagogue properties of curcumin. A cholagogue is a compound that stimulates the production of bile by the liver, and helps regulate its flow. Bile is an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat.
Turmeric’s capacity to regulate the secretion of bile is useful in the treatment of liver and gallbladder complaints. It is useful, for example, in the treatment and prevention of gallstones, according to Commission E.111 In one study, mice with gallstones were put on a special feed that contained curcumin. Within 5 weeks their gallstones had been reduced by 45% and within 10 weeks, they had reduced by 80% more than untreated mice.
As a Hepatic
Turmeric has strong hepatic properties, acting to support the normal functioning of the liver in multiple ways. Studies show that it may also be effective in the prevention and treatment of liver damage and cirrhosis.
How a Hepatic Works
The researchers attribute curcumin’s beneficial effect on the liver to its capacity to inhibit the secretion of TGF-beta (Transforming Growth Factor Beta), a compound that triggers a process called fibrosis.
Fibrosis is the liver’s natural self-healing response to replace tissue lost through injury or infection, which it does by forming scar tissue. In a normal liver, the rate of scar tissue production and its degradation are equal. The problem arises when there is an imbalance between the two, causing excessive scar tissue to accumulate in the liver. This eventually advances to cirrhosis, a life threatening condition.
Curcumin works by slowing down the progress of scarring from fibrosis, which prevents and may even reverse liver damage and cirrhosis.
Turmeric and Curcumin Health Benefits
One of the key benefits that turmeric offers is its sheer versatility of its usage. With the broad range of health conditions that its can be used for, it has numerous possible applications. Not only does it target specific diseases, but also contributes to an overall sense of well-being. Not to mention adding a certain zing to your curry.
The Green Pharmacy: The Ultimate Compendium Of Natural Remedies; James A. Duke, 1998