soothing ginger tea

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in healthy food, healthy lifestyle, home remedies, Recipes, wellness | 1 comment

7178625061_796d8d7f0fAs the temperature changes, look to ginger tea for some warming comfort, and calm.

Ginger is famous for its various beneficial properties which include relieving nausea, dizziness, mucus, flu symptoms, menstrual cramps, migraines, and even helps cure athletes foot when used as a foot soak. Ginger helps calm stress, uplifts mood, and stimulates digestion. What could be better?

Here is an easy way to incorporate ginger into your day. Boil up a quick and soothing ginger tea! All you need is ginger + water, and to make it even more delicious, add a squeeze of lemon and a touch of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-1 inch of ginger root, sliced thinly (you can keep the skin on)
  • 2-3 cups of water (depending on how strong you like it)
  • honey, as much you like
  • lemon, as much as you like

Directions:

Place sliced ginger into a pot, add water then bring to a boil. Let gently boil for 5-10 minutes. Add honey and lemon, then pour tea into your mugs. You can re-boil the ginger slices for 2-3 more batches of tea.

Photo courtesy of RobotSkirts

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soothing ginger tea

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in healthy food, healthy lifestyle, home remedies, Recipes, wellness | 1 comment

7178625061_796d8d7f0fAs the temperature changes, look to ginger tea for some warming comfort, and calm.

Ginger is famous for its various beneficial properties which include relieving nausea, dizziness, mucus, flu symptoms, menstrual cramps, migraines, and even helps cure athletes foot when used as a foot soak. Ginger helps calm stress, uplifts mood, and stimulates digestion. What could be better?

Here is an easy way to incorporate ginger into your day. Boil up a quick and soothing ginger tea! All you need is ginger + water, and to make it even more delicious, add a squeeze of lemon and a touch of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2-1 inch of ginger root, sliced thinly (you can keep the skin on)
  • 2-3 cups of water (depending on how strong you like it)
  • honey, as much you like
  • lemon, as much as you like

Directions:

Place sliced ginger into a pot, add water then bring to a boil. Let gently boil for 5-10 minutes. Add honey and lemon, then pour tea into your mugs. You can re-boil the ginger slices for 2-3 more batches of tea.

Photo courtesy of RobotSkirts

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Sanity in the Subway: 5 tips to enjoying the subway commute

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Food for thought, healthy lifestyle, wellness | 0 comments

3544734138_54f2f90376Living in a city is not always the easiest choice, with all of the noise, exhaust, crowds, traffic and people bumping into you left and right. However, the city can foster great opportunities, cultural diversity, conveniences and efficient public transportation, among other amenities.

Using mass transit not only saves our air from pollution, it provides an opportunity for the daily commuter to sit back and do nothing, or something, until they arrive at their destination.

Some people see the subway ride as a stressful time where they are sandwiched in between their seats, with bad smells and screaming children. While this can be true, you have the power to take charge of your subway commuting experience.

Here are 5 tips that will help you see the commute as a more enjoyable experience:

1. Know where you are going + give yourself enough time to get there: This is an easy one when you are commuting, as you usually know the route. If you are headed someplace new, you will save yourself time, energy and piece of mind by researching the best way to get there. Hopstop is a great resource as is google maps. If hopstop tells you that your route will take you 35 minutes, give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes, by leaving earlier.

2. Stay on the local to avoid running to the express: If your local train takes you where you need to go, stay on it, even when the express shows up at a joining station. As much of a thrill as it is to catch that express train because it passes 1 or 2 stations, you will have more time on your local train, in turn, spending less time shuffling around, worrying whether or not the doors will close on you.

3. Pack a water bottle + healthy snacks to stave off hunger: On longer commutes, pack yourself some goodies for the ride. Stay hydrated by bringing a water bottle, and a few healthy snacks like trail mix, granola bars, whole fruit, nutbutter or seedbutter + jelly sandwich. These snack will help you in case you missed breakfast, or are traveling to be in the public eye. Use those energy enhancing proteins, and fabulous fiber to help fuel your day.

4. Bring something to read: Some of you may enjoy staring off which feels indulgent after a long day, but for longer rides we suggest bringing something to stimulate your mind like a great book, a puzzle, catalogue or a pen and paper to write or draw.

2002937136_556449cf525. Sit up straight, focus on your breathe + practice tuning out: As tempting as it is to slouch on the train, try practicing better posture by sitting up straight, engaging your abdomen and relaxing the tension present in your face. Try to focus on your breathe by noticing your inhale and exhale. For loud trains, when they arrive at the station feel free to plug your ears, and while riding a loud train (with loud passengers), practice tuning them out by tuning into your book, your breathe, or your thoughts.

Photos courtesy of Rambling Traveler and mrhayata

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healthier lunches in public schools

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in calories, families, fast food, food politics, healthy food, let's move, lunch time, news and happenings, raising children, school food | 1 comment

6235929961_7ab2fe63d7Throughout the country, many public school students are not loving their new school lunches.

Since August, public schools have been mandated to follow the new nutritional guidelines set out by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, providing more fruits and vegetables while limiting levels of fat, sodium, and calories.

Due to the calorie restrictions, protein portions are smaller, food is less cheesy, and the milk is no longer chocolate, but plain and skim.

Before this regulation, lunches had no maximum calorie limit. Now, high school lunches top out at 850 calories, for middle schoolers it’s 700 calories, and elementary students receive just 650 calories.

Many students are upset that despite smaller portions of heavier food items (like meatloaf and chicken nuggets), lunches have gone up in price, at an average of ten cents per lunch. This increase in price is to help mitigate the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as to follow the federal requirement that lunch prices incrementally rise to help pay for their overall fees.

Despite the fact that many NYC public schools have already converted to low fat milk and whole grain breads, the introduction of more fruits and vegetables has led to more waste. The apples, pears, and bags of baby carrots are often seen in the trash, uneaten.

The New York Times’s Student Opinion blog asked NYC public school kids about their new lunches. They wanted to know if these new regulations are a “lost cause” or if lunch has the potential to be both “healthy and tasty?” Reading some of their reactions, it seems like from their standpoint and despite all the media reaction, not too much has changed. Most students say that next to their greasy pizza is a small scoopful of unappetizingly bland vegetables.

One student said, “I think that a healthier school lunch program is a lost cause. It is spending money that we don’t have for a lunch with fruits and vegetables that we just throw away.” Another student declared, “I believe that the food itself isn’t the problem moreover the overall picture of American health.”

Although some students reacted positively to the changes in school lunch, most students weren’t too thrilled about the change or would prefer for their lunch to remain the same. In spite of many students’ preference to avoid eating the fresh fruits and vegetables, research has shown that children must be exposed to a vegetable ten to twelve times until they are willing to eat it on their own.

For more information about students’ reactions across the country, check out an informative article from the New York Times. To learn more, here is an insightful interview with the Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack.

Perhaps the best solutions are time, teacher participation and food education. With time, we will hopefully see students trying new foods, and liking foods they never though they would. In turn, teachers can act as role models, as they do in the classroom, by creating balanced plates of their own for students to see, and with food education, children will learn why it’s important to eat well, especially at lunchtime, and change will happen, slowly but surely.

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks

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Flora’s seasonal recipe: roasted vegetable puree

Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in cooking with kids, healthy food, local food, lunch time, Recipes, seasonal | 0 comments

4744510812_15f1812af3It may look like baby food, but boy is it good!

Get creative with your fall vegetables and puree them into a smooth and soothing dish.

As the weather gets cooler, drizzlier and damp, I turn to warming foods that will ground me and make me feel great inside and out.

I was so cold the other day that I decided to preheat my oven and roast vegetables, since it’s my favorite dish. This time though, I wanted something more fluid vs. chewy so I thought, why not blend my roasted veggies with a little bit of water, and make a puree?

Instead of stopping at the roasting stage, I went one step further. That one step made my day so much warmer!

Here is how:

Makes 4-5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium sized potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • 2-3 cups water, the more you add, the soupier it will get

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400F. Rinse and chop up you carrots, celery, potatoes and chop your red onion (if you have different vegetables lying around, use those up instead). Add olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and mix. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, depending on how small you chopped your veggies. Stir them midway to make sure they’re cooking on all sides. Once lightly brown, soft, and fragrant remove from the oven. Add veggies into a big bowl, then add water. Blend with an immersion blender (or food processor) until smooth. If you blend less, you’ll get a chunkier consistency. Serve immediately, and garnish with some rosemary, and a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like. If you make too much, you can always save some for lunch the next day.

Photo courtesy of Miss Messie

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