Ginger Tea – Oh So Goodness!

I used to call it the “creeping crud.” You know, the variants as sinusitis, person-with-coldbronchitis, laryngitis, coughing, sore throat and the like? Those of us who sing, teach, coach, or otherwise strain our vocal cords on a regular basis, need some relief and prevention.

Enter – Ginger tea!

A fellow singer keyed me into this years ago as a preventative, as well as a therapy. I’d see her going from one rehearsal to another, always clutching her ginger tea. After picking up her habit, I can vouch for the effectiveness of ginger tea; both, as a preventer of illness, and as an aide to healing when the “creeping crud” arrives despite every effort.

FullSizeRender(1)The recipe is simple enough:

Green tea

Fresh ginger

Fresh lemon juice


For two cups of tea, I boiled water, added about an inch of fresh ginger peeled and sliced, juice from ½ lemon, a teaspoon of local honey, and three green tea bags.

Let’s take a look at the healing and health-promoting properties of each ingredient:

Green tea: loaded with antioxidants with many medicinal properties, benefits-of-ginger-tea-for-good-healthhas properties that improve brain function, increases metabolism and increases fat burning, properties in tea called catechins, can positively impact oral hygiene and reduce infection risks, may help the body process blood sugar, has been shown to be heart healthy, and can decrease the risk of cancer.

Ginger: ancient Chinese source for digestive issues such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, morning sickness, and cold-bugchemotherapy-induced nausea. Its pain-reducing capabilities can help with pain and inflammation seen with arthritis, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It has been shown to inhibit the virus that causes colds.

Lemon: antiseptic properties, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and pectin fiber. Functions as an anti-inflammatory. The list goes on.
Honey: anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties among others.

Now you can see why drinking this is like putting the power of Superman into a cup. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and antiseptic properties in every sip!


Daily green teas:

Some people brew a super-strong cup of tea using 8 bags of Bigelow Green Tea. It’s their morning “shot” of goodness. I have found Bigelow brand to be the most authentic tasting tea in tea bags.

IMG_1849I have also discovered the joys of loose leaf green tea available on-line from Ten Ren Tea. The Oolong variety has a wonderful aroma and taste. A bag of loose leaf Oolong is expensive, but it lasts a long time. A little bit less than 1 tablespoon of tea leaves yields two of these small pots full of fragrant green tea which will fill my mug twice. Just enough to start the day off right, and my beverage of choice on Sunday morning before singing in choir or before going to special morning choir practices.

A couple cups of Ginger TeFullSizeRender(2)a or regular green tea will soothe the mind, tummy, and go a long way to boosting our wellness!

Enjoy a cup while you go through your Affirmations!

In health-




Free Affirmations Flash Cards!

As a National Board Certified Teacher, I was well acquainted with affirmationsflash cards. The students loved them. A flash card is the only way to learn facts, in my opinion. I have also used them to benefit my meditative time. Positive messages, or affirmations, are also a hot topic for: stress reduction, calming down before bed to get better sleep, mindfully starting the day, and putting your consciousness and faith in the right place.

These flash cards are near and dear to my heart. They came about as a result of reading Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. His up-lifting Bible quotes and affirmations that he penned or quoted from others so moved me that I wrote them down on pretty square sheets of paper.

A medical team performing an operation
A medical team performing an operation

Around the time of my retirement in 2012, I felt a need to shore my spirit up with affirmations that would sustain me through a waiting period before some much needed major surgery. Contrary to what I thought, I was not going to just ‘have my usual care-free summer’ then have my surgery in late August. No. My physical activity ground to a near halt. My spirit wanted me to hustle around walking along the beach, straightening up the house in anticipation of a post-surgical healing period, and tucking away teaching mementos.


It seems that patience is a life lesson that I keep having to work on. It’s a recurring personal theme. Anyway, to get myself in the right frame of mind, going through these affirmations waaffirmation2s pure gold. After using these precious squares of wisdom and calm on a daily basis, somehow they got shuffled off into a drawer.

Recently, a friend of mine was facing some major surgery herself, and was a bit tearful about the whole thing. This had been something she had vowed she did not want to do, but do she must. When trying to console her and give her my prayers for peace and a successful outcome, I remembered these gems. How I wished I could have handed them to her!

I had needed my surgery badly, too, and was happily anticipating the day of its arrival. After a recovery period of several months, I was going to be and feel so much better. When waking up from the anesthetic, the first thing I said was, “I’m so happy!” I was so happy for the waiting to be over and so happy to start my recovery, but still in need of my affirmations! Recovery can be maddeningly slow.

There is that lesson in patience, again. Without these little gems, I would have gone out of my mind before and/or after my surgery.
We do not need to be getting ready for surgery, though, to benefit from daily affirmations. They are a great way to start, finish, or revive during the day.

These affirmatioCosmetic-Surgery-recoveryns would be best printed by you on some pretty paper. Choose your favorite color or find a great floral print or gentle pattern that would not take away from the message on them. So, print your set; there are 8 pages. Each page has lines for you to cut them out. I do keep mine in a certain order because the flow of thought works well for me. You’ll notice there are some blanks on page 8 and a full blank page for 9 so you can add your own.

How to use your affirmations:

The whole idea behind putting these on ‘cards’ and not just printing them out as a list is to give us an opportunity to mindfully read and reflect on each one; taking time to consider, ponder, and apply its truth.I-believe

Many of these are Bible quotes that may appear to repeat, but the message is from a different source. Sometime we need repetition. The one about the ‘rough being a state of mind’ is in reference to golfing. When the ball lands in the rough, it is our mindset that controls how “doomed” we feel. It’s not being Pollyanna, it’s being optimistic and embracing a can-do spirit. Mindset is everything.

CLICK BELOW FOR FREE AFFIRMATION FLASH CARDS!!  (.pdf format). You can download and print them off!

Affirmation Flash Cards   

So, let’s continue with the positive flow of the New Year.

Gosh, we have tackled: 1) Stress, 2) Kale, and 3) Water intake already! Now we can continue with positive thoughts each day.

It has been a personal pleasure to share these Affirmation Flash Cards  with you! Please share with me any of your own that I could pass on to others!

In health-






Top Google Searches for 2016!

Heard on the news recently about the top 3 Google searches for 2016, where everyone’s focus seems to be on improved health? Can you guess? Here they are:

  1.  How to get rid of stress
  2.  How to make kale chips
  3.  How much water do you need to drink to lose weight

Let’s help ourselves and the world by addressing those hot-topic issues.

How to get rid of stress?strss

A stress-free life will never be experienced this side of heaven. We are, however, so much more in control of our response to stress. Sometimes we can control how much stress is on our plate – sometimes not.

Mindset is the key!

Have you ever allowed a ‘grumbly’ mood take over? From then on, every little thing that does not suit you gets amplified? Things snowball to the negative? On the flip side, have you ever been so happy and positive that nothing could turn you away from your happy frame of mind?

I noticed this past December that, no matter where I went, there was a holiday song in my heart, if not my ear, and I was extra courteous to all drivers and pedestrians. I was excited, happy, and wanted to embrace the world. Instead of grumbling at slow lines in the market, I said a prayer for the harried cashier, and counted my blessings to be in the midst of such abundance…and I looked for ways to share mine.

When the storms do blow, and the waters rise in spite of our best efforts, well, that’s stress! The ‘fight or flight’ hormones flood our beings. We are challenged to first regroup ourselves before flying off the handle with our response.

How do you start the calming regrouping process? I have even said “STOP!” out loud to myself, something short of a Jimmy Cagney slap on the face, to wake myself up. This is a reminder that spiraling out of control is a choice; and I do not want to do that. Definitely a time for cleansing breaths followed by a few affirmations. If possible, stepping back and away from Happy1the “stresser” is helpful. Asking for help, or sharing your burden with another, can be key in getting a handle on things and gaining perspective.

As far as how much stress is on our plates, we all should pause and take into account:

  • How much of that stress is self-created?
  • Can we eliminate any of the stress by paring down on the number of obligations we put ourselves under?
  • Have we asked for help?

How to make kale chips!

A reprise on a favorite recipe already shared:

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Savory and Cheesy Kale Chips

Soak ¾ cup (preferably raw, unprocessed) cashews in water for at cashew nutsleast one hour.

Assemble the following ingredients and put into a food processor:

1 large clove of garlic, peeled, and sliced

2 Tbs. coconut aminos (a gluten-free version of soy sauce or you can use wheat-free tamari)

2 Tbs. avocado oil or coconut oil

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 lemon, juiced

1/8 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. salt

cashew processorProcess soaked, drained cashews and the ingredients listed in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed.

Evenly distribute paste over one bunch of cleaned and prepped kale leaves, and massage leaves with paste to work in the goodness and to break down the kale a bit.

cheesy-kale-chipsEvenly space prepared-chips onto parchment-covered baking sheets and bake in 180 degree oven for 1 hour; turn leaves over; continue baking about 45-60 more minutes, until all leaves are crispy. Store in a zip lock bag. Enjoy!

How much water do you need to drink to lose weight?

The very question concerns me. There is no formula for “water in…fat out.”

The bigger over-riding question is how much water do we need to drink to be healthy? …to have a properly running digestive system? ….to avoid headaches?

Granted, drinking a glassful of water 30 minutes before each meal has been shown to “fill” a person up enough to actually cause eating less during the mealdrinking-water. Whether to base a ‘weight loss diet’ around that is questionable, if the quality of the food is not considered. My book, Toolkit for Wellness, and these posts are all aimed at food choices that do not cause inflammation and create a healthy balance of non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Proper hydration is obtained when the urine is a pale yellow/amber. You will notice that first thing in the morning, your urine is a darker yellow because you were not drinking any fluids during the night. As you begin to hydrate yourself, your urine’s color lightens up. If your urine starts looking as clear as water, you may be a bit too hydrated. It is possible to drink too much waterwater which causes loss of valuable electrolytes/minerals. Consistent over-hydration could land you in the hospital!

So there you have it: stress, kale chips, and water.

Done. Done. And done!

FYI: When you throw your back out on New Year’s Eve like I did, twisting as you get out of your easy chair, the absolute BEST therapy is walking! Just keep doing it. So much for my accelerated exercise routine for January 1st! But, hey, I can walk and do kitchen counter push-ups!

Now, if I could just sit in a chair comfortably again… off to the chiropractor!

Happy New Year!






New Year – New Beginning = New You!!

As we contemplate turning the calendar page over to a new year, it 472704661_d1seems so natural to consider what we want to accomplish for ourselves in 2016. Beyond returning to work, beyond picking up the pieces after happy holiday clutter, and beyond the next trip to the market – what are our goals for 2016? Can making a resolution EVER result in triumph? I think so. I know so!

frust2Don’t you think it is a commendable thing that we consider turning over a new leaf? Even though resolution making has become almost an empty effort because of poor track records, it does reflect hope in self-betterment.

But taking things from resolution to reality can often seem overwhelming and usually result in feelings of frustration and failure soon after the resolution is made.

That’s why I spent considerable time sharing with the readers of ToolkitforWellness-2[1]Toolkit for Wellness there IS a good way to create change in our lives. We are all too aware of our ‘failure’ at fleshing out our resolutions each year, but this need not be so. Exacting any kind of change or additional projects in our lives is best done in small steps, not in giant leaps, and with a solid, measurable plan.

Consider the differences between wishful thinking and successful planning. One big difference is, when thinking of a goal or resolution, we tend to think BIG and very GENERAL:

01-livewelllakewood• Lose weight
• Exercise more
• Drink more water
• Eat healthier
• Start my own business

What does any of that mean? Do you have a plan? What does it look like day-to-day? What are the individual daily steps you need to take to get you there?

Before you join a gym, commit to doing home exercises each morning while your coffee brews. Rack up success at this small commitment first. My book gives you ideas and a plan on how to do this.

Take the bread/starch component out of just one meal a day – namely, DSC_0795breakfast – and enjoy daily success at feeling better. Add a serving of vegetables to breakfast in the form of a giant handful or two of spinach or baby kale lightly sauteed in a dab of extra virgin olive oil to go along with your bacon and eggs. You will never miss the toast and your meal will last for hours.

Toolkit for Wellness readers absolutely KNOW how to drink more water, AND are DOING it! It’s EASY because it is NATURAL!

1Understand what ‘healthier eating’ means. If you have made that one small change to breakfast, you are well on your way! Keep up the good work with breakfast every day and notice the boost in your sense of accomplishment and self-esteem! This is a resolution that will be lasting, perhaps for the first time!

Take a look at lunch in February. Rome was not built in a day, but with small DAILY steps, a strong sense of accomplishment, a proven track record, and a plan in your Toolkit for Wellness, you are DOING this!

Starting that business? Are you learning how to do it? Dream. Write it down. Learn all you can. Stay inspired with other like-minded people. Take the first preparatory sDream-Big-PPT-Titletep. Do some tiny thing each day to move you forward. Tell others. Share your excitement. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Becoming an author was at least a five-year dream for me. A few false starts, sure; then, Toolkit for Wellness actually began to take form in February 2015 and was published November 2015. Much learning. Big support group. Stretching beyond my comfort zone. And SO worth it! I am empowering others with hope and a plan!

My resolutions for 2016

  • Strengthen my morning routine a.k.a., ”Series of Good Things,” with special emphasis on an expanded exercise routine with added weights, and more time in meditation and prayer. Take notes, journal, and make this my next book.
  • Write once a week for foodtalk4you,com and add value for my readers from sharing in-depth research
  • Prepare for and do more Designed for Health Seminars
  • Expand the reach and presence for Toolkit for Wellness by planning my first book signing early in the New Year, and getting it into key retail locations.

jumpWhat are your resolutions? Care to share? We can cheer each other on! Leave a comment!

In 2016, readers of FoodTalk4You will see more recipes for healthful eating that will reflect an anti-inflammatory diet, more stress-relieving ideas, and more exercise ideas – all food for our body, mind, and soul!

I wish each of you the happiest and healthiest of New Years!