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Happy New Year’s Eve 2013

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Wishing you all a beautiful & safe New Year’s Eve and a tremendously blessed 2014!!

Oh, and wanted to share a great new Facebook page I discovered.  Go check it out, like it and share the love!  🙂

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https://www.facebook.com/NogMosNoMore?ref=hl

What If’s

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It seems to me, at least this morning, that worry equates to “what if’s.”  I have been fortunate in my life in that I have never lost someone  intimately close to me before.  Everyone I love is living, including my 94 year-old grandmother.

Things are changing, because I am getting older.  So is everyone else.

My step father was recently placed on hospice.  The inevitable is coming, and it could be any time.  I will be flying to Oregon in two weeks to spend time with my mother and my step father, also helping out any way I possibly can during these four days.

I have been filled with worry for my mother.  All the what if’s.  Like, what if my step father passes while I am there?  What if my mother completely falls apart?  I am very concerned about her living alone so far away in their little house in the country.  You know, all the important what if’s.  Of course, they are all important, right?

But…God.  I was reminded this morning by His heart nudging mine that He is God regardless of what is going on.  He is faithful.  He provides.  He does not change.  He is good and He knows the future.  He is God and He changes not.  My job (our job) is to remind ourselves, nourish our own souls by these truths (His truths) and to rest in His care, His promises.

Letting-Go

I am leaving my “what if’s” in His hands this morning.  This is a continual, daily process.  A choice I must make.  He changes not.  He has never failed me before (nor anyone else I know) and He never will.  We can go through our lives worrying and fretting, praying and picking up the burdens again, but regardless, God is God and He is faithful.  Our jobs are to remind ourselves, “work out our salvation,” feed our spirits with His truths and trust that He has everything under control that concerns us and those we love.

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No for candy, yes for super food!

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Have you ever heard of a jujube?  I always thought jujubes were only candy.  Not so!

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Last week I tasted the most delicious jujube tea at our local farmers market and received a little health-history lesson about this very special super food.  Jujubes are a bit larger than a walnut, a beautiful brownish-reddish color and felt very light and soft in my hands.

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The jujube originated in China where they have been cultivated for more than 4,000 years and where there are over 400 cultivars. The plants traveled beyond Asia centuries ago and today are grown to some extent in Russia, northern Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and the southwestern United States.  Some jujube trees grow up to 40 feet tall in Florida, but are smaller in size in California.

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The benefits of jujube the super food

Jujube contains high levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, carotene, vitamin C, B, P, and minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. Below you will find some benefits of jujube.

    1. Decrease in seborrheic keratosis

Vitamin C present in jujubes is an antioxidant, that participates in the physiological oxygen reduction of the body and lowers the production of seborrheic keratosis by preventing the chronic melanin sedimentation in the body.

    1. Liver protection is another benefit of jujube

The fat, protein and sugar contained in jujubes protect the liver. These nutrients stimulate liver to synthesize protein, thus increasing the amount of albumin and red protein, controlling the ratio of globulin and albumin, preventing transfusions and reducing the level of serum alanine aminotransferase.

    1. Many will be glad to know that hair loss prevention is among the benefits of jujube

Jujube has the function of nourishing spleen and stomach. There is an old saying in China goes like this “Good spleen, good skin”. With radiant skin, the hair can have a sound shelter. So eat more jujubes can prevent hair loss and help you to grow glossy hair.

    1. Nourish stomach and brain

In fact, jujube is used in Chinese medicine to nourishing spleen and stomach. In case of irritating substances in prescription medications, jujubes are equipped to protect the spleen and stomach. Jujube is rich in protein, carbohydrate, organic acids and fat, which produces the tonic effect for the brain. Jujube cake with flour and jujubes is very delicious and moreover it can improve the functioning of the brain and stomach.

    1. Nourish the blood and provides vital energy

As a matter of fact, rich amount of vitamins in jujube is one of the most important benefits of jujube which is advantageous for capillary. Take 20 jujubes, brown sugar (30 grams) and 1 egg; make it with water stew. You should take this mix every day. It is beneficial for women’s recuperation after childbirth.

  1. Sleep promotion

As it has already been said, jujube nourishes the blood and spleen, but it also has a soothing effect. Take 1000 grams of jujubes, wash them, eliminate the nuclear, then smash and add water to boil on slow fire. After that, filter the juice and mix honey (500 grams). Mix into the paste with heating, reserve in bottles. Take 15 ml for two times a day. The mix continuously served will prevent and cure insomnia.

Additionally, jujube is important in calcium supplement, anti-diarrhea and emission control prevention. But, jujube is not appropriate for people with constipation for the rich content of carbohydrate.

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The jujube tea I sampled was delicious.  It reminded me almost of a cinnamon-raisin type of tea, but satisfyingly rich.

I am sharing this very special recipe with you below.  The making of this tea certainly is a process, but well worth the time involved.

Ginger jujube tea is normally served hot with pine nuts. Ginger has a soothing effect on stomach and sore muscles and jujubes alleviate stress.

This Korean tea is dark in color and has strong flavors of spicy ginger and sweet dried jujubes because it was cooked in simmering water for a long time. A fast way to make ginger tea is to use a pressure cooker.

When it is cold outside, this spicy hot drink will warm your body and even heart.

Korean Ginger Jujube Cinnamon Tea

Yields: about 16 cups
Total time: 50 min

Ingredients

    • 40 dried jujubes, Korean dates
    • 2 oz ginger (55g)
    • 3 oz packed brown sugar (85g)
    • 0.5 oz cinnamon sticks (14g)
    • 3 liters drinking water

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

Instructions

Preparation Wash ginger and dried jujubes. Peel off ginger and cut into thin slices.

Brew Put ginger slices, dried jujubes, cinnamon sticks, and 3 liters of water in the pressure cooker. Cover and cook under pressure for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Then reduce the heat to very low and cook for another 10 minutes. Release pressure and add in brown sugar and without cover, simmer for another 5 minutes, or until sufficiently infused.

Serve Drain and serve with a few pine nuts in the tea and honey or brown sugar on the side.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

Serve with pine nuts.

Korean ginger jujube tea 생강 대추차

If you do not own a pressure cooker, this process can be accomplished (as per our local farmers market vendor) by slow-simmering for several hours.  Honey and brown sugar truly is optional, as the jujubes have their own sweet, unique flavor.

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What a neat little super food, don’t you think?

Happy Monday,

Wendy

Yoga for Dumber than Dummies!

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If you remember, I tried Yoga for the first time a few Friday evenings ago and mentioned I would come back and talk about my experience.  To be honest, I have simply put this off because of how ridiculously dumb I felt after my very first EASY Yoga workout.  Oh, and the aches and pains I had for days afterwards…I have felt so ashamed to even share with you all!  I went at this so ill-equipped.

The workout I used I now have come to love.  It is relatively easy and very gentle, and I especially appreciated that there are three instructors to exercise with based on your level of expertise.  You can find this DVD here:Image

I think the most important thing one can do before a Yoga workout is to review the different postures, especially if you have never performed Yoga before.  That was my first mistake!  It was very difficult watching the TV at the same time as I was engaging in the exercises, which I had never before done, and I truly believe this caused my neck to ache for days afterwards.  Yoga is supposed to relax you, and all I felt was extreme stress during my first workout because I had not properly prepared.

Here is a great site for a simple review of basic Yoga positions as well as more advanced techniques for relaxation, prenatal and back pain: www.yogadownload.com.

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Secondly, water is so very important after a work out.  Why?  Some yoga exercises squeeze and soak your kidneys, which releases toxins in your body. You need to drink water to help flush out those toxins.  I did not do this, rather I had a glass of wine!  Dumber than a dummy!  All my body toxins just settled back to their original locations and it felt like they multiplied because I felt so stressed trying to get the positions right!  I truly could hardly move the next morning.

Breathing is another important part of Yoga.  I found I was holding my breath through many of the exercises!

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You should have the ideal automatic breathing pattern.  This slow and relaxed diaphragmatic breathing pattern provides the human body with superior body oxygenation: about 2-3 minutes for the DIY body-oxygen test (stress free breath holding time after usual exhalation). There are many other effects that correspond to the ideal breathing pattern. You can find them on many Web pages devoted to the ideal breathing pattern for Yoga.

Additionally, the body and cells require oxygen 24/7.  (A Yoga novice can practice in the best yoga sessions, but if he or she sleeps on their back at night, or breathes through the mouth while sleeping, all the positive effects of yoga practice will be demolished by tissue hypoxia and free radicals generated during sleep.)

Here are some other additional Yoga tips I have discovered:

Motivation for Yoga
You should examine your motivation behind trying Yoga. Many students are happy with improved form and physique. To this end, they try impossible poses which may be beyond their capacity. They should remember that Yoga has physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits.  Sometimes, instead of trying a difficult pose, the student may be better served performing a simple one.  

Don’t Try for Yoga Perfection
You may have seen perfect Yoga poses in a picture or video. Do not try to imitate the seeming perfection of the pose. It may have been morphed, for all you know. Striving towards superficial Yoga perfection can be dangerous. So, do not sacrifice your body trying the perfect pose. Rather than trying to contort yourself into a pretzel, focus on how your mind and emotions feel when you do Yoga.

Form Over Feeling
One of the main Yoga dangers is putting form ahead of feeling. This tendency is becoming widespread, leading to increasing Yoga injuries.

Yoga Injuries
Straining too hard can cause back injury, bone spurs or tendonitis. These injuries can be slow to manifest. Even some seniors, denying their age, try to perform poses which are too difficult for them. Take care not to fall into this trap. Trying too hard can cause injuries which may take many years to manifest. And, it may take some more years to rectify the damage. Therefore, do Yoga poses within your limitations to prevent injuries.

Summary

I really hope my mistakes and tips about Yoga have helped you!  Remember to relax, breathe and know your Yoga positions before attempting a DVD, and especially drink your water after your workout!  If you are just beginning Yoga or are interested in giving it a try, taking a class with others is a fantastic idea to have hands on guidance with your session.  Otherwise, if you already enjoy Yoga as part of your lifestyle, I think you would really enjoy the DVD I myself use.

Have a lovely weekend,

Wendy