Friday, December 12, 2014

The Scents of the Holidays

Three of the things I enjoy most about winter holidays are: the music, lights and the aromas.  The strong aromatics of pine and rosemary, rich camphoraceous scents of frankincense and myrrh, all fill me with a sense of wellbeing. I bring in fresh greens to mix amongst my artificial pieces and burn incense in the afternoons.  The shorten daylight hours and lower temperatures of winter  leave me craving the warming fragrances (and taste) of cinnamon and clove added to the sunny sweet smell of orange. The best way I know to enjoy those is by making tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            . Brewing pots of tea is another way I fill my home with aromas that bring pleasant memories of years gone while strengthening my immune system. Only part of this immune benefit comes from drinking the tea, the other comes from the influence its aroma has on the olfactory bulb of the brain and the psychological energetic plane.   The warm sunny aroma of orange conveys joy and positivity. You may wonder what a recipe for tea has to do with a blog about making changes but, sometimes it’s easier to change viewpoints by making simple changes in the environment.  

The instructions for making the tea are simple.
You’ll need a fresh orange ( I prefer organic) Wash and peel it. Eat the orange, save the peel.
2 clove buds
4 sticks of cinnamon
6 tea bags. I use black tea but the Lipton type blends of orange pekoe , even green tea will work.
 To make enough for a 1 liter pitcher put a quart and a half of water in a 2 qt. sauce pan. Place the orange peel, clove buds and cinnamon into a pot of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the tea bags and cover so that the tea steeps for 20 minutes.  Remove the fruit peels, tea bags and spices. Sweeten to taste with your personal preference of sweeteners. I like agave nectar.
This can be drunk hot or cold and left-over can be stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.  
Orange peel, especially dried, is an important part of Chinese medicine. It stimulates digestion and relieves spasms. In the early 18th century sweet orange was reputed to alleviate nervous disorders, colic,  liver and stomach problems.  It helps in the digestion of fats. It was also used  to treat conditions such as coughing, arthritis and sore throats.

Adding clove and cinnamon to the tea expands the possibilities of health improvement. Modern research finds that cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It helps in cases of depression, the common cold, and can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections. Cloves are anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic. They’re a good source of some minerals especially manganese.  

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We Are What We Eat

When given a choice on meals I tend to lean toward that of a lacto-vegetarian. That means I include dairy (preferably raw), eggs and fish in my meals. My husband, on the other hand, is a carnivore.   It has been a 22 year personal conflict for me.  In the last year I have been aware of a lot of information floating the internet about animal treatment.  In this year of CHANGE,  watching my husband suffer through the results of his life choices, I am beginning to recognize this as an opportunity to re-assess my own  values.

 I admire anyone who can abstain from eating the flesh of another. Not everyone can. Some people's glandular chemistry prohibits this. They may try to honor the philosophy but find their health losing ground after a time. We live on a planet where every life force relies on another for its survival. Lions, water buffalo and alligators co-exist sharing the same watering holes...until supper time. Then the weakest or youngest is culled from the group; it maintains a natural balance. Animal waste becomes food for plants.

People who choose vegan as a more humane choice should read a book titled The Secret Life of Plants by Thompkins and Bird. It is filled with fascinating research showing the ability of plants to communicate with us, their reactions to violence  and even how they have mutated to meet 'request' from humans. It leaves the understanding that just because we don't stroke or hear plants doesn't mean they don't have a voice. Just because we don’t see red doesn’t mean they are not bleeding.
So, which species deserves to die and which to live? Which is more important than the other? In nature no species, plant or animal, is better.  Humans are the only species that the planet can survive without; it’s as though we are guest here. We are also the only animal that kills for pleasure or money. Our greed is the disruption to nature. This is one of the subjects looked at in my book- SHIFT: A 5th Dimensional Approach. All of these thoughts added to my husband’s preference are why I have tried to practice compassionate eating (and living).

Eating compassionately is eating when hungry- being thankful not only for the food but for the plants and animals that have given their lives so that we may live- asking a blessing on their spirits- not eating more than  needed nor wasting.
To me the inhumanity comes not from killing to live but from the treatment of animals- whether they are cows, calves, dogs or cats. The animal INDUSTRY of our developed nations is horrible. Visit the 'farms' and see how  animals are treated before they are packed into trucks, herded into lines where they stand watching the animal in front of them tortured, shot or electrocuted. You will refrain from eating meat. We call it meat instead of animal to de-sensitive ourselves.  We call it beef instead of cow, pork instead or pig and milk fed veal instead of 7 day old baby calf. The names and packaging frees us from feeling accountable.  We buy more.

As I witness the violence in our culture, the words “we are what we eat” take on new meaning. Words such as terrorized, abused, and beaten should never be in the same sentence with food we are consuming. Please know where your food comes from and how the animals are treated. Maybe the levels of violence existing in the world will reduce. All life should be honored. Taking one life to save another is a hard call but to me it should be the only reason to kill. Hopefully, all will learn to live gently and not support those who do not. 

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