olives

I LOVE Olives!

I think I am the only person in our family of 5 who eats them and that’s fine with me, because that just means more olive goodness for me to enjoy!

When most Americans think of olives, they think of the pimento-stuffed variety you put on a pickle plate or stuck on the end of a toothpick to garnish a martini. But there is sooooo much more to this wonderful food than you probably know!

I throw them on pizzas, in salads, on sandwiches and eat them as snacks. They’re delicious and good for you! After all, when you keep hearing about all of the benefits of olive oil, where do you think the olive oil is coming from?

The olive!

So, what are some of the benefits of eating olives?

1. Olives can eliminate extra cholesterol in the body.

2. Olives can help control blood pressure.

3. Olives are a great source of Vitamin E.

4. Olives act as an antioxidant, which protects cells.

5. Olives can help prevent blood clots.

6. Olives can help enhance fertility.

7. Olives are nutritious and rich in mineral content as sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and iodine.

8. Olives provide essential vitamins and amino acids.

9. Eating olives can improve the appearance of wrinkles by 20% since they contain oleic acid, which keeps skin soft and healthy.

10. By eating just 10 olives before a meal, you can reduce your appetite by up to 20%. This is because the monounsaturated fatty acids contained in olives slow down the digestion process and stimulate the hormone cholecystokinin, a hormone that sends messages of fullness to the brain.

And if those 10 reasons weren’t enough for you to start eating olives, how about this one: Olives are an aphrodisiac!

Want to know more about olives, visit the SA Olive Industry Association!

Here’s one of my favorite ways to eat olives … tapenade! Try it and you may fall in love with it just like I did!

Tapenade

1/2 pound of pitted mixed olives
1 clove of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of capers
2 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Thoroughly rinse the olives in cool water. Place all ingredients in food processor. Process to combine, making sure to pause and scrape the sides of the bowl. You want a coarse paste consistency. Transfer to a bowl and serve with crackers or toasted bread rounds.

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rules

All of us have experienced self-doubt at one time or another. Some people experience crippling self-defeating thoughts that keep them from going out into the world and living their lives to the fullest.

How can you defeat these negative feelings?

Here are 10 rules I try and live by. They can help you boost your self-esteem and confidence too.

10 Rules to Boost Your Self-Confidence

1. Formulate a mental picture of yourself succeeding. Imprint that image on your mind and hold onto you with everything you’ve got. Never permit it to fade. Eventually, your mind will seek to develop this picture. NEVER think of failing. Don’t even let that seed of doubt take root in your mind. The mind always tries to complete what it pictures, so ALWAYS picture success.

2. Whenever a negative thought enters your mind, immediately replace it with a positive thought. Say it out loud to yourself to cancel out any negative voice.

3. Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. If one pops up in your mind, minimize it. Everyone faces obstacles and difficulties, you must learn how to deal with them in a proactive and positive manner. Do not inflate them and give them more power than they have.

4. Be YOU — Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. No one can be you as effectively as you can. Also remind yourself that pretty much everyone you meet, even those with a confident demeanor, are often as scared and doubtful as you are.

5. Ten times a day (and whenever self doubt starts to creep in), say these words, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

6. If needed, find a counselor in your area who can help you get over any childhood problems or things in your past that may make you have these self-defeating thoughts. Find their origin and learn how to deal with them in a positive and proactive manner. Self-knowledge leads to cures when it comes to these types of problems.

7. Along with Number 5, tell yourself ten times each day, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” There is power in these phrases and they will help you.

8. Make a true estimate of yourself and your abilities, then raise it by 10%. I’m not talking about being egotistical and narcissistic, I’m talking about developing a healthy self-respect for yourself.

9. Put yourself and your problems in God’s hands. Say it to yourself when you feel down or in difficult situations. “I am in God’s hands.” Not only say it, but BELIEVE it. He is with you, supporting you and guiding you every day. Feel it. Remember, “the kingdom of God is within you.”

10. Remind yourself constantly that God is with you and NOTHING can defeat you. Believe it and receive that power from Him.

There is no reason to go through life with a self-defeating attitude. I have used these rules to keep me going and change my self doubt to self-confidence.

You can too!

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greek

Want to make your home into a longevity hotspot? Start with the kitchen!

Earlier this week, I blogged about Ikaria, Greece (aka The Island Where People Forget To Die).

The people of Ikaria eat what most people refer to as a Mediterranean Diet. The real Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower rates of cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease and most recently, heart disease.

It’s a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, some fish and small portions of meat on special occasions. Unlike most of us, they are not chowing down on supersize portions of fast food and all-you-can-eat buffets.

No, they are eating healthy, antioxidant-rich foods which nourish their bodies and help them live longer, healthier lives.

So, how can you eat like a Greek and help boost your body’s ability to live a healthier life?

20 Ways to Eat Like A Greek for Longevity

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1. Eat unprocessed produce – Fresh fruits and vegetables are staples of a Greek Islander’s diet. Fresh salads or vegetables roasted with olive oil are common. As is fruit as dessert (despite my adoration for baklava, eating fresh organic grapes is probably my better option).

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2. Eat more yogurt – Not just any yogurt, you need the Greek kind. Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt, and it’s also high in bone-building calcium and stomach-soothing probiotics. Now, I’m not telling you what to do, but I keep remembering that line I read, “When you see the words ‘low fat’ and ‘No fat’ think ‘chemical sh**storm’ and run the other way!” So, eat more Greek yogurt and leave the sugar-laden, no-fat, low-fat stuff alone! Instead, maybe drizzle it with a tablespoon of raw honey and mix in some fresh fruit for a delicious breakfast or snack (a few chopped raw nuts can give some added crunch and even more health benefits).

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3. Add more vegetables to your toppings – Still craving that pizza? That’s okay! However, get rid of the meat and add lots of healthy veggies on that pie! Think tomatoes, peppers, olives and more. Load that pizza up with antioxidant rich goodness and don’t forget that an organic tomato sauce is packed with even more antioxidant benefits.

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4. Get a few more grains in your diet – I know the Paleo diet is all the rage, but frankly, none of the Blue Zones are eating paleo diets. Their diets are heavily plant-based and that includes whole grains! Don’t just think of bread and pasta, explore your options and try something new.

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5. Eat Legumes – Legumes are a super power food in terms of getting more protein and fiber into your diet. By adding beans and lentils to your diet, you’ll fill up faster and stay satisfied longer. Ultimately, this leads to eating less.

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6. Pack healthier snacks – Forget the french fries, potato chips and snack cakes! Try some chickpeas mixed with olive oil, feta cheese and oregano for a mid-afternoon snack that’s packed with yummy goodness.

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7. Eat pasta - Just make sure it’s whole grain and is loaded down with vegetables. You know what else? Watch your portion size! Most of us eat portions that are way too much, so for those of us in the U.S. think appetizer plate size, not dinner plate size when dishing out the pasta.

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8. Enjoy some feta cheese – Feta cheese is one of my absolute favorite cheeses! Use this tangy cheese as a topping for salads, wraps and pizzas.

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9. Eat some fish – Try a salmon burger instead of hamburger. Fish is heavy in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. One of my family’s favorite things to eat is smoked salmon on rice rounds with a little horseradish and capers on top. Okay, maybe it’s just me that likes the capers, but fish is good for you! Make sure it’s in your weekly menu planning.

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10. Make your own salad dressing – I know we all LOVE the creaminess of ranch dressing, so if you really have to have it, try making it with Greek yogurt. However, for a really great dressing, try mixing up some heart-healthy olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey and sprinkle it on your salad greens.

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11. Grab some spinach - Spinach can help protect your vision, your bones and your heart. It’s also at least 90% water, which means it may also help you lose weight! One of my absolute favorite things to eat is Spanakopita. If I could eat Spanakopita, roasted Greek potatoes and a Greek salad at least once a week, I would a very happy woman. Spinach is one of those things you will find in a lot of Greek recipes. Throw it in a soup, a stew, a salad, an omelette, or whatever you feel like. Popeye had nothing on the Greeks, they know how great this superfood is for you!

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12. Eat more potatoes – Did I mention I LOVE roasted Greek potatoes? I think I did! It’s the most delicious way to eat potatoes. Garlic, Lemon, Oregano and Olive oil all work together to make one of my favorite dishes. Don’t let the bad rap of french fries and potato chips put you off of potatoes. They are a vegetable and can be good for you when made the right way!

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13. Eat red meat sparingly – Unlike here in the US, eating red meat is not an everyday occurrence. The Greeks save eating their red meat for special occasions. You should center your eating on a plant-based diet and do the same!

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14. Eat more shellfish – Instead of eating a meat-lade taco, try swapping that meat for fish or shrimp. Have a favorite chicken recipe you like? Try using shrimp instead. Shellfish is low in fat and rich in protein. Put it over pasta with some lemon and olive oil, or throw some on a salad or put in a wrap.

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15. Snack on real, unprocessed foods – Make a ranch dip using Greek yogurt and dip some fresh veggies in there. Not only will it taste better than the processed chips and junk you’ve been eating, it’s better for you too! Whenever possible (and it’s ALWAYS possible) eliminate processed foods from your diet and stick with real food.

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16. Eat more Olives – I love olives! I keep a jar on hand at all times. Olives have that good-for-you fat and are packed with flavor. They are also good source of iron and vitamin E. I like to put them in salads, on pizza and quite often, I’ll eat them straight out of the jar as a snack. Delicious and good for me!

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17. Have some hummus – I will admit, I am a new convert to hummus. Now, I can’t get enough! My husband and kids favorite is roasted garlic hummus, but I have recently started loving one I make with pine nuts. Hummus is made with chickpeas and gives you a nice, creamy and protein rich dip to snack on. I, personally, have been known to slather it on a wrap instead of mayonnaise and it is yummy!

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18. Season with spices – Mediterranean dishes are packed with flavor. Oregano, parsley and basil are all used in Greek cooking. These three herbs ranked among the top 50 most concentrated antioxidant powerhouses. Use them!

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19. Make everything in big batches – Don’t eat all of this great food alone! One of the longevity secrets of places like Ikaria is they socialize! Get your family around the dinner table, invite friends over to enjoy a meal and each other’s company.

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20. Drink more coffee – A March 2013 study of elderly Ikarians found that higher coffee consumption was associated with better blood-vessel function, a key factor in heart health. Traditional Greek coffee is boiled in a brass or copper pot and the coffee they use is rich in antioxidants.

So, there you have it – 20 ways you can eat like a Greek for longevity. Which of these tips is your favorite?

* Please note that the information contained on this website is my personal opinion, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice and treatment. If you have medical concerns, please consult with a physician or other qualified health professional. The information about the health topics is for informational purposes only.

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am a mom who looks for natural ways to support her family’s health through nutrition, exercise and alternative, holistic methods. Any statements made on my blog are my own and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else.

Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease.

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phage

Interesting headline, right?

I was reading my February issue of Prevention magazine and this was one of their headlines. Intrigued, I thumbed through the pages until I reached the article. I was amazed at what I found out.

The article started out talking about a 51 year old woman named Laura Roberts. Here’s how they introduced her problem:

Roberts had 3 months to live – not because she had terminal cancer or some exotic virus, but because she had developed a sinus infection that antibiotics could not cure.

Basically, she had bad allergies, which turned into a sinus infection that then turned deadly because of 3 different strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. She sought help from numerous doctors and specialists, only to be told they had exhausted all options and there was nothing more they could do for her.

They told her to go home, get her affairs in order and prepare to die.

From the Prevention article:

More than 2 million Americans each year get sick from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which find their victims both in the hospital and in the everyday world. At least 23,000 die annually from those infections. A report released last spring the World Health Organization suggests that those numbers are about to get much higher. The WHO warns of an approaching “postantibiotic era,” a time when common infections (strep throat) and minor injuries (a scraped knee) can kill.

If that doesn’t send shivers down your spine, I don’t know what will.

Back to Laura and her diagnosis. She was not ready to give up and decided to fight this thing. She started doing some investigating and found a place called the Phage Therapy Center in Tbilisi, Georgia. Her American doctors thought it was a long shot, but as Laura said, “I didn’t know if it could help me, but if I was going to die, I was going to die fighting.”

So, what is Phage Therapy?

It uses Bacteriophages (aka “phages”). These phages are “bacteria eaters”. They are naturally occurring viruses that infect bacteria, but not humans. These phages are found in water, soil and even your own digestive tract. They dwell wherever bacteria are found because they rely on them to reproduce.

Again, from Prevention’s article:

They drill through a bacterium’s surface, hijack its DNA and then replicate themselves within it until the cell bursts. Cocktails of phage viruses can kill a bacterial infection in the human body with remarkable accuracy, taking out only the infiltrators and leaving important populations of “good” bacteria intact – unlike the blunt tool of antibiotics, which tend to wipe out a wide swath of good bugs and bad.

Sounds great, right? Wouldn’t you love to have that kind of effectiveness available? Unfortunately, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

The article states, the FDA’s control and stringency for regulation hampers any possibility that will happen, though there are organizations and physicians fighting for looser rules.

Why are US doctors and pharmaceutical companies in standby mode and phages still unused while more people die every year? There’s no single, satisfying answer, but as a phage-savvy scientist and here’s what you’ll hear: Phages are expensive to test because they “don’t adhere to the Western “one size fits all” treatment paradigm. Rather, they are custom remedies made from naturally occurring viruses, applied in ways specific to the particular strains of bacteria each patient is suffering from. It’ll take leaps of time and technology to turn them into prescription drugs.

Laura made the trip to Georgia (the one in Europe, not here in the US). In her words, she arrived as a patient barely able to walk with the use of a cane, carrying an IV bag and a a little hope. Three weeks later, she left as a tourist, completely healed and ready for a long healthy life ahead of her.

She is now 61 years old and MRSA-free.

You can find out more about the Phage Therapy Center HERE.

* Please note that the information contained on this website is my personal opinion, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice and treatment. If you have medical concerns, please consult with a physician or other qualified health professional. The information about the health topics is for informational purposes only.

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am a mom who looks for natural ways to support her family’s health through nutrition, exercise and alternative, holistic methods. Any statements made on my blog are my own and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else.

Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure disease.