Sunday, October 31, 2010

Organic Dried Fruit - The Perfect Healthy Snack?


Is organic dried fruit the perfect healthy snack? It may well be. If you are trying to lose weight, feel better, eat more foods that are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants, fruit is one of the keys. There are several reasons why eating dried fruit is a great idea.

One thing many people don't pay enough attention to is their snacking habits. What you consume in between meals can be just as important as your main meals. It's all too easy to get in the habit of munching on fattening and unhealthy 'foods" like chips, pretzels, candy bars and donuts during the day. These snacks are usually very easy to find, whether from stores or vending machines at your place of work. These snacks are usually high in sugar, sodium, artificial ingredients and unhealthy fats.

Fruit makes an excellent substitute for such non-nutritious snacks. They are high in natural sugar, as well as antioxidants, which have been shown to be good for overall health and the prevention of many diseases. While fresh fruit is nutritious and refreshing, it's not always practical. Your favorite fruits are not always in season. Fruit can be either under or overripe. If you like bananas, for example, you've probably had the experience of a forgotten banana turning mushy and leaking into your car seat, pocketbook, backpack or carrying case!

Dried fruit is always in season and is convenient to carry. If you are going to start eating more dried fruit, it's good to look for the organic variety. Regular dried fruit often has added sugar, which you really don't need and counteracts the health benefits of natural fruit. Non-organic dried fruits may also contain chemicals and artificial ingredients.

You can find almost any variety of dried fruit. You may want to look for a mix that also contains nuts, which are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Or you can buy your favorite dried nuts and fruits separately and create your own mix. These can be conveniently carried to work, school or in the car, train, bus or plane.

Children can also learn to love dried fruit, though if they are accustomed to candy it may take some reconditioning! If you have kids, this may be a project worth getting started on, however. Too much sugar has been linked to many problems with children, such as hyperactivity and difficulty in concentration. If your kids are hooked on sugar, don't try to get them to quit cold turkey. Introduce healthier snacks into their diet and gradually get them to think of sweeter things like candy bars as special treats rather than something they eat throughout the day.

Introducing something like organic dried fruit into your diet may seem like a small step, but it's something that can make a real difference in your health and well being. For you are not only getting the many benefits of fruit in your diet, you are losing the many unhealthy substances that you can cut back on as you make this healthy switch.

Find out more on how Organic Dried Fruit can help you live a healthier lifestyle!

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Traditional Jamaican Fruit Cake For Diabetics


To most people the instance of eating a cake to them is like a great treat which they only get once in a while. And in the island of Jamaica the original fruit cake recipe is one which is very popular, and what most people don't know is that this is coming from the olden plum pudding times.

And to every Jamaican woman it would be a great joy if they could make this particular cake. But in the passing on through the generations the recipes was not passed down well and some household may have it perfect but keep it a secret, therefore lots of people don't know the real recipe behind it. The most distinctive thing about the cake is the creaming method and it is also packed with dried fruit. And a funny thing about the ingredients in the cake is that it does not involve raisins, or any similar fruit or nuts in it.

The ones that are used are imported thus creating a terrible hikes in the price of the product, the best kind of cakes have the texture of the English Plum pudding. And the particular color of this cake is dark brown and has a high alcoholic taste to it. At times it is very spicy and the reason for this is that there are about five different spices that are used. But the levels of alcohol can be different also the color but this depends on who is making the cake or who the cake is being made for whether a normal person or someone who is diabetic.

Colin Scott is a diabetic recipe expert. For more great tips on diabetic cake recipes visit

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Freeze Dried Food - What Is It And How Can It Benefit You In An Emergency?


Wondering about freeze dried food? Freeze dry foods are used by many people for their emergency food storage. They're also used by campers, hikers, hunters and other outdoor adventurists.

This is because freeze dried meals give you several advantages over other survival foods. Before we get to that however what exactly is freeze dried food?

Basically meals are prepared as you normally would make them. Then the food is placed in special machines that gently remove 98-99% of the moisture from the food.

This process is so gentle that most of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the food are maintained. All you have to do to prepare the meal is to add water.

While your options used to be much more limited, the good news is that you have a lot of variety to choose from these days.

You can get meals like Beef Stroganoff, Lasagna with meat sauce, Chicken Teriyaki and scrambled eggs with bacon. You can even get freeze dried fruit like strawberries, blueberries and desserts like ice cream and blueberry cheesecake.

So why choose this food for your emergency food storage? Well, it offers some great advantages including:

#1. Long Shelf Life - If you get them in #10 cans, most freeze dry meals will last you up to 25 years. This means you can store it and forget about it until you need it. There's no rotating it out and replacing it every couple of years. This means not only less worry for you but it can also save you money over the long run.

#2. Better Tasting Food - These meals have a much better taste and texture when reconstituted than dehydrated meals. This means your kids are much more likely to eat them. Plus, it always helps to have good food if you have to deal with an emergency situation.

#3. Easy To Carry - Because almost all of the water is removed, these meals are much ligher and easier to carry than cans, MREs, dehydrated foods or other survival foods. It also means a child could carry their own stache in a backpack if they needed to.

#4. Easy To Make - All you do with these meals is add water, stir and wait 10 minutes. Even a cooking idiot like me (toast and eggs are as gourmet as I get) can do this. This also means that a small child could prepare their own meal if they needed to. Unlike other emergency foods which require heating packages (which could burn a small child), these meals are easy and safe to prepare.

#5. High Nutrition Factor - Because most of the vitamins and minerals are preserved, these meals are great if you're concerned about getting the best nutrition from your emergency food.

You can even find freeze dried fruit like strawberries and blueberries to munch on or vegetables. So you don't have to worry about your kids getting their proper nutrition in an emergency situation.

So those are some of the main advantages of freeze dried foods over other emergency types of food. The good news is that you can often get a deal on these foods if you buy in bulk (like a long term food storage package) which makes them even more affordable. And the prices are relatively stable right now (unlike other food items which are rising due to inflation).

So if you're looking for a great source of emergency or outdoor food, freeze dried meals may be right for you.

Want more information on where to buy freeze dried meals? Visit Freeze Dried Food for more information.

Or visit Survival Food Tips for more information on how to prepare your emergency food storage.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fruit Health Benefits


With many western diets revolving around high fat junk foods, fruit health benefits are not something that should be ignored. Consuming plenty of fruit in your diet is an excellent way of staying healthy and reducing your chances of developing a life threatening illness.

Fruit health benefits are enormous. Most fruits are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other naturally occurring nutrients. By making sure we eat enough fruit as part of a healthy diet, we are equipping our bodies with the armor to withstand the daily bombardment of toxins from pollution. Fruit can also provide the necessary nutrients to help us deal with the stresses of modern life.

Many scientific studies have proven that people who choose to include more fruit in their diet are less likely to develop serious health problems such as coronary heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes-all of which are endemic in the modern world. But as well as acting as a preventative aid against serious illness, fruits also contains nutrients which help the body to fight infection and repair cell damage.

As well as vitamins and minerals, fruit contains antioxidants which are very important in the fight against serious diseases like cancer. Antioxidants work by preventing free radicals from attacking the body. These so-called free radicals are responsible for damaging cells, which can trigger many diseases including heart disease and Alzheimer's. Free radical production can be caused by many factors including pollution, alcohol, and cigarette smoke. By eating enough fruit, we can help to prevent free radicals causing cell damage.

Fruit also contains plenty of fibre, which is very important for keeping the human digestive system working properly. A diet packed full of fruit can help the body to efficiently expel waste products, which includes the toxins that can lead to colon and bowel cancer.

Eating at least five portions of fruit per day is far better than taking diet supplements. It is also a much tastier option. There are plenty of varieties of fruit to choose from and most supermarkets stock lots of tasty exotic fruits as well as the more familiar fruits we are used to.

As well as the many fruit health benefits, incorporating enough fruit into your diet is a great way to lose weight. Fruits are full of fibre which helps the body to feel full after a meal. This stops snacking, which is the downfall of many diets based on restricted calories. Because fruit is so healthy, you can eat as much of it as you wish without consuming too many calories. Instead of snacking on chips or candy between meals, you can try eating a piece of fruit instead. Not only is this a much healthier alternative, it will also help to control any insidious cravings for sugary snacks.

Although fresh fruit is preferable, any type of fruit will do. You can try dried fruit, tinned fruit, or fruit juice. It is easy to make fruit an enjoyable part of your diet and by increasing the amount of fruit you eat in your daily diet, you will soon see what a difference fruit health benefits can make.

If you are not a fruit lover you should be. Our website has a wealth of information on many different species of fruit, their health benefits and even some very great recipes.

Robert Perry specializes in the building of income producing niche websites, usually using Google AdSense ads. For $75 he builds a 5 article website that the search engines love. You should visit his site.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hookah Tobacco


The tobacco used in hookahs is different than that associated with cigarettes, or, indeed, any other form of smoking. It is, traditionally, a damp blend--called tobamel or maassel--of fresh tobacco leaves with molasses or honey and semi-dried fruit or fruit pulp. Some smokers would add pomegranate juice or perhaps rose oil to the water, which added flavor to the smoke. Later, hookah tobacco was also mixed with fruit extracts, and in the 1980s tobacconists began experimenting with various flavors, so that now a virtual smorgasbord of highly aromatic hookah tobacco is widely available.

While some hookah smokers still prefer a strong Turkish tobacco, many delight in the large assortment of flavored tobaccos, often called shisha. The dark, wet mixture comes in flavors ranging from apple, cherry, apricot, and watermelon, to rose, jasmine, vanilla, honey, and licorice, with more exotic blends beyond that, such as lemon-cola, cappuccino, apple-mint, and a list of custom blends that is nigh on infinite.

Prices for packaged tobacco range anywhere from $4 to $17 depending on quality, and a variety pack of flavors might cost about $30. The price in most lounges for a bowl of hookah tobacco ranges from $4 to $9 for slower burning leaf or custom blends.

Since hookah tobacco is very wet it must be smoked using a hookah charcoal. Rather than being lit directly, the tobacco is heated with a coal placed on tinfoil or wire mesh above or in the bowl holding the damp mixture. Each bowl of this wet tobacco lasts a long time, usually requiring several replenishments of the charcoal. In the past, among those rituals and traditions surrounding the lighting and smoking of the hookah, or narghile, were strict prohibitions against lighting the tobacco incorrectly--or even allowing a cigarette smoker to light their cigarette off of the hookah coal.

Hookah tobacco is generally only 30 percent tobacco and 70 percent fruit flavoring and molasses or honey. It contains .05 percent nicotine and most types contain no tar. Because the tobacco is heated, rather than actually burned, studies have shown that there are fewer carcinogens produced in hookah smoke than in other forms of smoking. However, concerns about the length of time smokers generally spend around a bowl of hookah tobacco do warrant consideration, and studies have shown that carbon dioxide intake is actually higher in hookah smoking. Though mellower and less carcinogenic, hookah tobacco is still tobacco and the health risks remain. Hookah tobacco should only be smoked by adults over 18 years of age, and then smoked in moderation.

Hookahs Info provides detailed information on hookah smoking, tobacco, pipes, and lounges, and advice on where to buy retail and wholesale hookahs. Hookahs Info is affiliated with Business Plans by Growthink.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

How Goji Juice Can Help to Heal and Nourish Dry Skin Ailments


Did you know that goji juice can be used for more than just your health and immune system?

It can also be used to correct problems with dry skin.  Some of the dry skin ailments that it can help include:

o    Flaky skin

o    Psoriasis

o    Eczema

o    Cracked skin around the cuticles

o    Redness

o    Aging

This health beverage is filled with plenty of antioxidants and nutrients that work together to help nourish and heal dry skin ailments.  Free radicals are the main cause for aging skin. The antioxidants help to push out the free radicals. The goji berries from the juice contain the antioxidants that help to make this happen.

In addition to the antioxidants and nutrients, this dried fruit also contains minerals, vitamins, amino acids and polysaccharides, which is a powerful source to fight anti-aging.  There is also beta carotene that works to prevent the skin from sun damage.  Sun damage can be caused by sitting out in the sun too long.  Human growth hormones (HGH) work to keep the skin smooth and supple.  This brings about a more youthful look.

People have been known to use the health beverage directly on their skin.  It has been known to be placed on cuticles and on areas where the skin is affected by a condition such as eczema or psoriasis.  The minerals work to provide strength to areas that are weak.  Minerals also work to decrease inflamed skin areas as well as to heal areas of the skin that are dry and flaky.  

The beverage, along with other products that contain goji berries work to rejuvenate the skin.  The skin has a flawless and even toned look.  This dried fruit can be found in products such as skin creams, lotions and other skin products.  

These products work to provide moisture to the affected skin area.  They also protect the skin from adverse stresses in regard to the environment.  The products help to maintain a balance and keep the skin supple.  

Ceramide is an ingredient used in these products that helps to protect the skin from being damaged.  This ingredient contains antioxidants and moisturizers that help to perform that function.

Drinking goji juice for a few weeks on a consistent basis can help a person have an even complexion.  In addition to that, the beverage can be used on cracked skin.  Administering it on a regular basis can transform the skin from undesirable to desirable.  

Having dry skin or a related condition can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially when you've tried different formulas to correct the problem to no avail.  By drinking or using the goji juice on a regular and consistent basis, your skin can look flawless, smooth and supple.  If you're diligent about doing this, a youthful and fresh look awaits for your skin.

Kevin Mcafee works for a nutritional company that wholesales and retails goji juice and other goji berry products.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fruits For Diabetics - Can a Diabetic Eat Fruits?


People who are suffering from diabetes should maintain a healthy balanced diet. If you have diabetes, you should withdraw from eating foods that are high in both cholesterol and fats. Your diet should be composed of non-greasy and simply-digested food that has a lot of fiber content. Fruits are the best source of fiber. Fruits for diabetics have a lot of benefits for diabetes patients. They are high in vitamins and nutrients, but are low on fats. Because of these, they bring positive effect to the control of the blood sugar. However, you should note that fruit juices do not give the same benefits as fruits themselves because juices and concentrates are highly rich in sugar. The dietary fiber you need is not provided by fruit juices; therefore you should choose whole fruits because these have more fiber. Remember to choose fruits that are not sweetened and choose citrus fruits like grapefruit, orange or lime.

Even if diabetics can eat any fruit available in the market, certain fruits like mango, grapes, and banana are considered diabetes bad food because they have high sugar content. These can raise your glucose level in blood. Grapefruit, jambul and apple are the three fruits highly beneficial for diabetic patients. Certain studies have proved that cholesterol is being lowered by this fruit. Because it has low glycemic index properties, it helps the body burn fats. On the other hand, diet composed of only grapefruit is not sufficient for diabetics; you should still eat more fruits and vegetables than foods rich in cholesterol and fats. Grapefruit is best taken with diabetic low carb diet to prevent the rise of  sugar levels.

Another one of the fruits for diabetics is the apple. Apples have high contents of pectin that is very helpful to people with diabetes. Pectin detoxifies the body by providing excessively high amounts of galacturonic acid. This acid takes away the detrimental wastes out of the blood stream and helps generate a lower insulin requirement for diabetics by thirty-five percent or more. Aside from the pectin, Vitamin B1 is also found in apples. This vitamin averts the destruction of brain cells that may be occurring because of diabetic acidosis.

The rose apple or jambul is also another fruit beneficial for diabetic patients. The compositions of jambul have a great helpful effect on the pancreas. Starch is not converted to bad sugar because jambul prevents the conversion. This promotes lower blood sugar levels. Seeds of this fruit are dried, pulverized and dissolved in water for a healthful drink. This fruit also prevents a patient from experiencing excessive thirst and urination.

Diabetics are advised to eat five portions or more of fruits and vegetables daily to lower their blood glucose levels. It is also important for diabetics to know and understand the fruits they are eating. If you eat food with high sugar content, chances are your sugar level in blood will rise. Remember to abstain from eating fruits with high glycemic index. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will help you not only lower your blood glucose but also maintain your general diet.

Discover more about list of foods for diabetic to eat & learn Foods to Avoid for Diabetes and diabetes management.

Dr. Eswararamanan VR is the author of this article. This article can be used for reprint on your website provided all the links in the article should be complete and active.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving: Recipes for Homemade Christmas Trail Mixes


Homemade Christmas trail mix is the perfect stocking stuffer, teacher gift, mailman gift, or family gift. Trail mix recipes vary in specific ingredients, but generally they contain cereal, nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, and at times, small candies like M&M's or Heath Bits.

It's easy to make up large batches of trail mix at one time, which means you can make plenty for everyone on your list in one day. It's much easier than baking and is a nice switch from the traditional cookies and fruitcake.

Package your homemade trail mix in tins, cellophane bags, or small paint cans for an interesting and fun presentation. Add a small card with all of the ingredients listed, just in case you're not sure about potential allergies.

Homemade Christmas Trail Mix Recipes

Christmas Tree Trail Mix

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with sides. Also, grease the sides of a large bowl. Set aside.

8 cups popcorn

1 cup walnuts, toasted

1/3 cup real maple syrup

teaspoon cinnamon

teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of baking soda

1 cup dried cranberries

Pop the popcorn according to the directions. Mix the toasted walnuts and popcorn together in the prepared bowl.

In a saucepan, combine the syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Set to medium heat and allow the mixture to come to a boil and let it cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the baking soda and blend well (the mixture should have a creamy consistency).

Let the mixture cool slightly and then pour it all over the popcorn and nuts. Make sure the popcorn and nuts are thoroughly covered.

Turn everything out onto the prepared cookie sheet and distribute evenly. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or until the mix is 'dry'. Cool for 20 minutes. Add the cranberries last.

Christmas Party Trail Mix

Yogurt covered raisins or pretzels

Peanuts, walnuts, or your favorite nut


Chopped dates

Yellow raisins

Dried oranges, cranberries, or apricots

Corn Chex cereal

Toss all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Take the entire bowl to the office Christmas party or divide it up into smaller containers to give as gifts to family and friends. Easy and delicious!

Holiday Snack Mix

Dry cereal - your choice

M&M's, Heath Bits, or your choice of small candy


Dried fruit - apples, bananas, apricots, cranberries, etc.

Granola or oat bran

Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or white chips

Mini marshmallows


Toss the ingredients together and then divide into mason jars, tins, coffee can, or any other interesting container idea that comes to you.

Packaging Your Presents

Keep an eye out all year at garage sales, dollar stores and sales at World Market to find interesting containers and canning jars to store and gift your recipes. Add a bow or ribbon and the recipe and I'm sure the recipients will appreciate such an attractive and tasty gift.

Trail mix is so easy to make at home! The colors and textures are fantastic from a presentation standpoint too. Try different methods and ingredients in your trail mix and maybe you'll come up with your very own version of homemade Christmas trail mix. Serve it at family functions, give as gifts, or munch on it while you make your homemade Christmas cards. No matter how you serve it, trail mix is the perfect gift.

Shellie Gardner is the owner of Christmas Light source, a great place to find Christmas Lights. Christmas Light Source is a one stop shopping website for all your Christmas lighting needs. From traditional to LED lights to hardware and every thing in between, they have everything for holiday lighting decor as well as tips, tricks, videos and do it yourself projects.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Favorite Food Dehydrator Recipes


It's time for school once again and with that comes money for clothes, books, lunches and extracurricular activities. In addition to all of this, you need to have snacks and after school treats so the kids don't raid the refrigerator as soon as they come through the door. As I was making my shopping list, I was able to leave off quite a few items. It was a great summer for fruits and vegetables and I really took advantage of this. My Excalibur dehydrator really came in handy making fruit rollups, banana chips, raisins and dried peaches. Get creative this year and count the dollars that you'll save.

How to Make Fruit Rollups

I had tried this recipe using strawberries last summer but now I am being overrun with apples so I decided to give it a shot. They're wonderful. Apple fruit leathers put you in the mind of apple pie without the sugar and starch. Peel enough apples to make 2 cups and cut up into chunks. Blend the fruit until it's a smooth pureee. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice of 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid to keep from discoloring. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of honey for sweetness, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and pour onto the dehydrator tray (fruit leather tray or Teflex sheets). Dry at 140 degrees for 6-8 hours. Check the product to make sure it's not soft then remove, cool, roll up, wrap in plastic and you're done!

How to Make Banana Chips

Banana chips have to be the easiest treat I've made so far. I used to save my ripened bananas and create banana nut bread for the winter months. After making a couple of loaves this year, I thought of all of the sugar that this took. No wonder the kids bounced off the walls! My Excalibur is large enough that I can cut up 17 bananas to 1/4 inch thickness, soak in 1/4 cup lemon juice for 15 seconds, lay out and dry at 150 degrees. Depending on how you like your dried bananas, start by drying for 24 hours and check. Dry until you get the consistency that your kids like.

It's Been a Great Year for Grapes

Have you ever purchased those little boxes of raisins at the store for treats? Wow, are they expensive! And to think that you can wash, dry off and throw your grapes into your dehydrator for a few hours and spend just a few cents for electricity. I will never buy raisins again. The juice may evaporate but the vitamins and antioxidants are sealed into the raisins and more pure than any you could buy that's been treated with additives and chemicals.

Dried Peaches to Die For

Peaches are a delicacy at my home because they are usually so expensive but this year, my neighbor's tree worked overtime in producing more than she could possibly keep. I took advantage of this and made these dried peaches. Cut your peaches in half then peel. Remove the seed and quarter. Buy some fresh limes and make your own limejuice to pre-treat your peaches. Dry in your dehydrator at 135 degrees for 6 to 20 hours (depending on thickness of the peach slices and your dehydrator), until pliable and remove and cool. What a treat!

Trail Mix at $6.00 a Bag? Not!

In addition to all of your great snacks that you have just made, why not turn some of these into a special trail mix for the kids? Banana chips, raisins, peaches and apple chips, mixed together with some coconut and assorted nuts will put those store bought varieties to shame. And you know that they are all natural and a great pick me up without the sugar and salt.

Which Dehydrator?

Many consider the Excalibur Dehydrator the finest dehydrator you can buy. The only machine with a unique Parallexx Horizontal Airflow Drying System, it makes fruits and vegetables fresh and free from preservatives and additives, something you never knew had a funny taste until you have experienced the real thing. Junk food begins to taste just like junk once you have prepared your own fruit by drying with the Excalibur. The thanks you'll get from your family and friends, plus the money you save, makes the best worth getting and using regularly.

Find out more about the Excalibur dehydrator and read more dehydrator reviews and recipes at

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Toddler Finger Food Recipes They'll Love


Making your toddler finger food recipes is a great way to get them to try new flavors and textures, learn new skills and even keep them entertained when you are out and about! This article offers a variety of fun finger-food recipes for your toddler introducing healthy eating and making meal times enjoyable for all the family.

Make Finger Food Yourself

Young children need to eat more often than adults. They tend to graze rather than eating large portions so there is a lot of wasted food. Processed foods are expensive which impacts on your food budget. They are also high in salt and sugars and can promote bad eating habits and tooth decay from an early age.

If you choose to make food for your baby and toddler yourself you can be sure of the exact ingredients and fresh food always tastes better. Mixing up the flavors, although they might get spat out at first, will give your child a varied palate and make them less fussy as they get older.

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruit and veg should be the staple of your toddlers diet. Pureed fruit and vegetables can be given from weaning onwards. As they grow make the chunks bigger. Cut up cucumber or celery into strips or cooked veg like carrots, asparagus, green beans, sweet potato are fun. Cooked and diced yellow, orange and red peppers add some color.

Banana pieces are great as are pieces of (soft) pear, apple, pineapple or peach. Add natural yoghurt.

Meats and Protein

Well cooked pieces of chicken, fish or meat accompany vegetables well. Hard boiled egg can be sliced or chopped.

Seeds and Dried Fruit

Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots or prunes are good as a treat as they contain a lot of natural sugar, they usually come in small boxes which are handy for trips out. Sunflower seeds are good for the older toddler.

Toddler Sandwiches

Use easily spreadable fillings such as soft cheese, peanut butter (the natural variety), mashed banana or almond spread. Cut the crusts off the bread and cut into 'fingers' to make them easier to hold.

Toasted 'soldiers' are also great with dips such as soft cheese, avocado, vegemite, hummus or out, this is where it gets messy!


Grated cheese keeps toddlers entertained as they love grabbing the small bits. Full of calcium, cheese is vital for bone growth. Cut cheese into strips if you are out and about.


Dried cereals such as cheerios or cornflakes are great, avoid the sugary cereals though.


Well cooked pasta shells or macaroni are an interesting texture for toddlers as well as a good source of complex carbohydrates. Create home made bolognese sauce for more flavor.


To add to the staple drinks of tap water. Why not create fruit smoothies or squeezed fruit juice drinks. Water them down for younger children as they are strong to taste.

Choking Hazards

Always supervise your child when they are eating. They will have to learn how to chew food so make sure everything is soft and chopped up into small chunks.

Making Food Preparation Fun

As the child gets older (or if they have an older sibling), why not get them involved in the preparation of your toddler finger food recipes? It will teach them about nutrition and let them get creative too.

Another great idea is to make up batches of healthy foods, spoon them into small toddler-sized-meal pots and freeze them.

I hope you find my suggestions useful, be creative and try everything. They may not like something at first but persevere, especially with fruit and vegetables.

Sarah Howells is a mother of three and runs a successful child-minding business whilst still finding time to teach about nutrition and parenting. Check out her recommendations for baby and toddler recipe books and fun online toddler games to play with your children.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspirational Advice for Summertime Health!


Why not use the summer weather as inspiration to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you eat and improve your health?

Fruit and vegetables should make up about a third of the food you eat each day. It is also important to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables to ensure you are receiving all of the required nutrients.

5-a-day is the recommended amount and this can easily be achieved by making small changes to your diet, particularly when the weather is nice!

If you are confused about what constitutes a portion the following guidelines can help.

1 apple, pear banana or similar sized fruit,
1 slice of melon, pineapple or similar sized fruit,
3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or tinned),
1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit,
1 handful of grapes, cherries e.t.c,
1 small glass of fruit juice or smoothie. However much you drink, juice/smoothie can only be counted as one portion per day.

During the summer months fruit or salads can be very refreshing. Why not try some of the following tips to help you reach your 5-a-day throughout the summer.

Why not try?

Having a small bowl of fruit salad. Just three heaped tablespoons of fresh, tinned or stewed fruit can help you achieve one of your 5-a-day.
A refreshing fruit juice with your fruit salad will get you another one of your daily portions,
Replacing your midday sandwich with a refreshing salad. A dessert bowl of salad perhaps topped with some tasty salmon will not only give you another of your 5-a-day, but will also give you some of your daily protein and omega 3 fatty acids.
Fruit kebabs can be a great dessert after a BBQ. Simply skewer some of your favorite fruits and serve them to guests for a quirky summer dessert. Why not try adding some exotic fruits that you have never tried before to the skewers.
Vegetables crudits can be a tasty afternoon snack with a low fat dip and again can help you towards your 5 daily portions. So get crunching on some carrot, cucumber, peppers, whatever takes your fancy.

Loughborough has a world renowned reputation for sports, training and development in the UK. We are on hand to offer advice on workplace wellness for employees and other training and development opportunities.
Damien Wright ACIM

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Healthy Road Trip and Vacation Snack Tips


Taking a family vacation, a business trip and or long car trip can wreak havoc on your diet. If you don't plan ahead it is very likely you could be snacking on chips, eating fast food, ice cream and snacking on candy bars and soda for a few days.

With the ease high sugar foods available at gas stations or the appeal of saving time by buying an extra-large pizza after a day at the theme park, making healthy choices while away from home can be a challenge. Eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables may not be on the top of the daily food list. But eating healthy while on the road is not as hard as it may appear. Here are several tips to help you maintain a healthy diet and still enjoy your time away from home.

One of the first items every vehicle should have is a condiment kit. A condiment kit is a very small backpack or leather shoe bag packed full of napkins, plastic utensils, wet wipes and a few plastic shopping bags for trash. This simple kit will fit easily under your seat.

After you have your condiment kit, carry a small cooler filled with bottled water. Try to buy your bottled water in 12 or 24 packs from the local grocery store or a warehouse club like Sam's or Costco. The reason is most gas stations charge well over $1 per bottle compared to $.20 or $.30 per bottle in the bulk pack. This extra water will not only keep you hydrated, but will save you money.

Fresh and dried fruit is also another of my favorite foods to have during a vacation or long road trip. Fruit not only helps to keep you full it also has a number of different antioxidants. You can keep fresh or dried fruit in your cooler or in your luggage.

So here are some of my favorite healthy snacks while traveling or taking a long road trip:

-String Cheese
-Fruits and chopped vegetables - carrots, apples, bananas, oranges
-Yogurt in a tube
-Popcorn cakes
-Dried fruit - dried tart cherries, dried blueberries, dried strawberries and raisins
-Low-fat pudding (for the sweet tooth) - use the plastic spoons from the condiment kit
-Premade sandwiches made at home including lean lunch meats, turkey, ham, etc.

But even with preparation you still may not have the ability to fully enjoy fresh fruit on a daily basis, on innovative choice of supplementing your daily intake of fruit-based antioxidants and health benefits is taking super fruit supplements.

Super fruit supplements are made using the whole fruit, are convenient and offers unique health benefits specific to the underlying fruit. For example, super fruit supplements offered by Fruit Advantage offers a complete line of fruit-based supplements including tart cherry, wild blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry. In fact, each serving of Fruit Advantage Tart Cherry Joint Formula equals the specific antioxidant value of over 5 glasses of tart cherry juice without the sugar.

By making healthy choices while on a long road trip or family vacation, you can not only watch your diet, you will also have the energy needed to fully enjoy your vacation time away from home.

Russ Anderson is an avid writer on the natural health benefits of everyday food. To learn more about the companies included in this article visit: and

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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Benefits of Freeze Dried Organic Acai Powders


On a large palm growing indigenously along the Amazon River and its tributaries and estuaries in South America grows a fruit known as acai. This fruit has become a great economic asset to the native people, especially in recent years as people around the world started discovering the numerous health benefits enjoyed by these peoples for centuries.

Studies as recent as 2010 published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, have demonstrated a large number of benefits to freeze dried Acai. One study demonstrates that the fruit has significantly high antioxidant capacities, which in plain English means it has the capacity to rid the body of harmful free radicals. In particular, it was found to have exceptional activity against certain types of radicals and in at least two instances by far the highest of any fruit or vegetable tested to date.

Further investigation shows that the antioxidants in acai are able to enter fully functioning human cells to perform these functions and can be differentiated into "slow-acting" and "fast-acting" components. The same study also found potential anti-inflammatory properties that can be gained from the consumption of freeze-dried acai.

Another study investigated the content amounts of different beneficial chemical compounds present in freeze-dried acai. Each of these compounds has been studied and can be discussed in great detail. However, since there are so many, I've decided to only briefly list each and name the major benefits of the most important ones.

Anthocyanins -ACN's (3.192mg/g of dry weight). Besides being a coloring agent for wines and fruit juices and offering beautiful shades of purple to various flowers and fruits, anthocyanins also has many health promoting properties. Foremost are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (it was found to have the strongest antioxidizing power of 150 flavonoids tested). Thus by reducing inflammation and preventing oxidative damage, anthocyanins have been demonstrated to help prevent damage to the nervous system, large blood vessels and small blood vessels as well as having roles in improving certain conditions related to diabetes and to eyesight.

Proanthocyanidins - PAC's (12.89 mg/g DW). These phytochemicals has been demonstrated to improve insulin sensitivity, ameliorate free radical formation and reduce some symptoms of chronic age-related age-related disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

Other flavonoids included taxifolin deoxyhexose, isovitexin, homoorientin, scoparin, orientin and several that were as yet unknown (one can only speculate the benefits of those).

Fatty acids broke down into polyunsaturated (most beneficial to the body) at 11.1% of the total, monounsaturated (also a very beneficial and easily digestible form of fat) at 60.2% and saturated (the least disirable but still needed) only at 28.7% of the total fatty acid content. Oleic acid (53.9%) and palmitic acid (26.7%) were found to be the two dominant fatty acids.

Nineteen amino acids (that are needed for digestion) were found in freeze dried Acai and the total content was determined to be 7.6% of total weight.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Healthy Eating - Quick Fun Snack Foods For Kids


It's often hard enough finding quick healthy meals and snacks for ourselves, let alone our children. Kids like to eat on the run after grabbing something quick from the cupboard before heading back outside to play. What ever is the quickest is often the best for kids whether it's healthy or not.

Biscuits are often the first thing kids head to when looking for something quick to eat. This is in part due to the fact they are often the easiest thing for us to buy. I am guilty of this myself.

There are many quick healthy alternatives for children to snack on. Healthy, raw fresh fruit and vegetables can be quickly prepared. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack and has a much longer shelf life.

Carrot and Celery sticks are great dipped into a light cream cheese, but for a little variety try some mixing some healthy dip with the cream cheese.

For a healthy after school or play snack, try some of these healthy alternatives to sweet biscuits.

Carrot sticks with cucumber cheese dip

2 carrots washed (or peeled if you prefer) and cut into suitably sized sticks
Half a cup of finely grated cucumber
Half a cup light cream cheese spread

Mix grated cucumber with the cream cheese and serve on a plate with the prepared carrot sticks.

An alternative to this would be to grate the carrot and mix through the cheese and cut one centimetre thick slices of cucumber and dip these into the carrot and cheese dip.

Dried fruit skewers

Bowl full of mixed dried fruit pieces

Feed alternate pieces of dried fruit onto skewers. Any sort of fruit is fine (but avoid things like banana chips or other "chip" style dried fruit). Spread a drizzle of honey over the fruit skewers and roll in coconut. (An alternative to this would be to use individual pieces of dried fruit, drizzled with honey and rolled in coconut.) Serve as you would a plate full of biscuits.

Another alternative is to use pieces of fresh fruit such as slices of apple or pear. Cantelope, Watermelon and Honeydew would also work well.

These are only two easy, healthy and fun snacks with variations. Kids will enjoy both making and eating these healthy treats, and because they can be eaten on the run, their fun and busy lifestyles will not be affected.

Educating our kids about the importance of healthy eating is the beginning of them leading their own healthy adult lifestyles. If we let our kids think it's ok to enjoy junk food the same will grow with them.

Eric J Smith describes himself as being "Passionate about Organics". He is committed to Educating people on the importance reducing the chemical load on our bodies and the Environment. Eric is Married and has 2 Children. Eric and his wife Narelle represent Miessence Certified Organic Skin Care, Cosmetics, Home & Nutritional Products.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fruit Baskets


A fruit basket is a great gift idea. A fruit basket, as the term implies, is a basket filled with fruits. Fruit baskets have gained popularity as gift items. The traditional fruit basket has changed in that many now contain a variety of things--edible or non-edible articles--that make ideal gifts. A basket can be filled with fruits including apples, mangoes, pears, oranges and grapes, to name a few. Since there are fruits of so many different colors and shape they look great arranged in a beautiful basket.

Fruit baskets also come in various shapes and sizes. They are decorated with items like ribbons and beads. There is a wide variety to choose from, and they are especially popular during the holiday season. You can buy a pre-assembled fruit basket from a store. Many shops offer you a choice of fruits and the basket design.

Nowadays, fruit baskets are even available on the Internet. There are various sites that offer a variety of fruit baskets at different prices. You can choose to give a fruit basket to anyone from the comfort of your home, knowing that the basket will be delivered right to the recipient's door. The only thing to be kept in mind when ordering online is to make sure you order well in advance to ensure delivery on time.

Fruit baskets are definitely a great gift for anybody you care about. With the growing concern among health-consciousness among people, fruit baskets will only grow in popularity as a gift item.

Fruit provides detailed information on Fruit, Tropical Fruit, Organic Fruit, Dried Fruit and more. Fruit is affiliated with Gourmet Fruit Gift Baskets.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Stop Sexual Impotence - A Healthy Diet Can Help Maximize Potency And Provide Greater Sexual Health


If you want to maintain good health, then most medical experts would agree a healthy, well-balanced diet is an important factor. But although eating well can help you lose weight and feel good, did you know that it can also give your sex life a boost? It's often been said that certain types of foods are aphrodisiacs (oysters or chocolate, anyone?), but eating well achieves a lot more than just a temporary lift in your sexual interest. Sexual impotence is often caused by a lack of energy, stamina, or too much stress, and eating well can help reduce those issues. If you want maximum potency and greater sexual health, then here are some ideas for healthy diet that can help you.

One food that definitely needs to be included in your quest for greater sexual health is garlic. It has a number of health benefits, including being antiseptic, a proven immune booster, and amazingly enough, an aphrodisiac. Garlic is a great ingredient, because it's versatile enough to add to lost of different dishes. However, its most effective if you eat it raw. And not just one nibble - two or three raw garlic cloves every day. If you're like me, that idea doesn't exactly appeal, so try chopping it up finely and adding it to a sandwich, or a salad vinaigrette. Onions also provide similar health benefits, and is also thought to improve overall sexual health and the libido. White onions are considered the most effective.

There are other vegetables that are recognized as helpful in the fight against impotence. If you want to increase your stamina, then give carrots a try. You need to eat around 150 grams of carrots every day for maximum benefit. Asparagus is another vegetable that's considered to have aphrodisiac properties. For centuries, many tribes have dried the asparagus roots and use it as an aphrodisiac.

Moving along to fruit that is beneficial in fighting impotence, we come to dried dates and raisins. They're both high in fiber, and give the body a sustained energy boost. Black raisins in particular are known for their aphrodisiac properties. It's generally suggested that you consume nuts at the same time as dried raisins or dates, in particular pistachio, almonds or walnuts. These help to give your body a protein boost, and work positively together with the high fiber in dried fruit.

Ginger is a herb that has often been used to cure sexual impotence symptoms. It has been popular for many years for treating a wide variety of ailments, among them premature ejaculation and impotency. The best way to use ginger is to extract its juice, and drink about half a teaspoon of the juice every night. Continue this for at least three weeks.

More generally, it's always beneficial for your health and your sexual health in particular, to increase your consumption of fresh fruit. Eaten regularly, fresh fruit helps to fight the free radicals present in your body. Whey protein is a good way of increasing your stamina, energy and endurance. Finally, make sure you avoid excess amounts of alcohol and caffeine, as these are well known for sapping your sexual energy.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tropical Fruit


Tropical fruit is not only exotic, but also provides some variety to your diet. Coconuts. Pineapples. Mangos. Papayas. These fruits are just some examples of the many tropical fruit varieties you can find in the exotic fruit section of your supermarket. Have you only admired tropical fruit from afar? Here is some advice on using the fruits.


All the tropical fruits are tasty in smoothies, especially pineapples, mangos, and papayas. Just mix one cup of fruit in any combination with one cup milk, one tablespoon honey, and a few ice cubes. If you use frozen tropical fruit, you can omit the ice cubes. Using frozen tropical fruit instead of ice actually enhances the flavor of the smoothie.


Mangos, pineapples, and papayas are especially tasty when incorporated into a salsa. Mangos especially seem to blend well with other salsa ingredients such as jalapeno peppers and cilantro. Serve your tropical fruit salsa on chicken or fish or with tortilla chips.

Tropical Fruit Salad

Tropical fruit also makes a great fruit salad. Just clean and chop the tropical fruit of your juice into bite sized pieces. An example of a good tropical fruit salad combination includes one cup each of pineapple, mango, and papaya, and kiwi fruit chopped. Toss with ½ cup coconut shavings. Make a dressing out of ½ cup pineapple juice, ¼ cup orange juice, and 1 tablespoon honey. Pour over salad and toss.

Tropical fruit on the grill

You can also pierce skewers through various combinations of tropical fruit and warm the grill for a few minutes on each side. This is a good accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. For example, you can serve skewered pineapples with chicken that was marinated in a teriyaki sauce made with pineapple juice. Grilled papayas go well when combined with grilled swordfish or halibut. Grilled mangos are especially tasty when paired with salmon or shrimp.

Tropical Fruit in your Diet

When trying to include tropical fruit in your diet, you aren't restricted to eating it raw. Incorporating it into your meals can give your taste buds some variety while enhancing your overall health.

Fruit provides detailed information on Fruit, Tropical Fruit, Organic Fruit, Dried Fruit and more. Fruit is affiliated with Gourmet Fruit Gift Baskets.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hidden Fats in Healthy Foods


In today's society, everyone is looking to lose weight. However, even those who feel that they are watching what they eat might be surprised to learn of some of the hidden fats that can be found in their favorite so-called healthy foods.

For instance, researchers have been touting the benefits of eating fish for several years now. Indeed, fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer numerous health benefits. It might seem logical then that sushi is a healthy treat, but it depends on the type of sushi that you consume. Many of the popular sushi rolls contain unhealthy fats like cream cheese or mayonnaise. Others include cooked fish that is battered and fried. As a result, sushi is not always the healthiest choice, so make sure you stick with sashimi or more basic sushi rolls, like tuna rolls.

Dried fruit also seems like a good option for snacking, but it can contain added calories. The reason is that dried fruit is much denser than fresh fruit, so it has more calories. In addition, many brands add sugar to their dried fruit snacks, making it even more unhealthy. It is best to stick with fresh fruit when possible.

Another example of a so-called diet food that can pack on extra calories is granola. While granola can be healthy, many prepackaged granola mixes contain a lot of added sugar, which translates into additional calories and fat. If you enjoy eating granola, then it is best to make your own with oatmeal, fruit, and a bit of honey to sweeten if necessary.

When it comes to lunch items, there are several culprits that offer hidden fats. One example is the veggie burger. Although they do not contain the fat and cholesterol of meat burgers, some veggie burgers can contain even more calories due to the added cheese and dressing that binds the vegetables together. For this reason, they should be consumed in moderation. It is important to take note of what you are eating and to make the smartest choices possible.

Along with trying to eat healty, Joseph enjoys working in his gardens. Garden Harvest Supply is one of his favorite garden sites which offer soil test kits and plant supports for sale.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Healthy Trail Mix, A Great Snack Alternative


Healthy trail mix is a great snack food alternative, and is something that is not only for long hikes! The term trail mix is a loosely defined combination of dried fruits, nuts and sometimes other ingredients. More recently it has become common to include less healthy items like candy and chocolate along with the more traditional ingredients.

What makes a trail mix healthy? Well, the most common foods included are usually quite nutritious by nature, but sometimes other, less healthy ingredients like sugar, artificial colors or flavors and preservatives are added. The best kind of trail mix is organic and all natural, with no added sugar. Fruits are sweet enough as they are, but in today's over-sugared world, some manufacturers feel the need to make sweet things even sweeter. The same is true for "juice drinks" that add sugar to already sweet fruits like apple and orange.

Getting into the habit of eating healthy snacks can make a surprising difference to your health and weight loss goals. Of course, it's good to eat healthy snacks even if you don't need to lose weight. Many people snack on potato chips, pretzels, donuts and candy bars between meals. These are foods with little nutritional value and large amounts of sugar, salt and empty calories. Fruit, on the other hand, has natural sugar, while nuts are high in protein and healthy fats. So organic dried fruit and nuts are the staples of a healthy trail mix.

All foods should be consumed in moderation. Even something healthy like trail mix can be fattening if you eat huge quantities of it, but you are less likely to overeat nuts and fruits than less healthy snacks. If you are looking for a healthy snack to eat every day, you should also resist mixes that have chocolate. People rationalize this by pointing out that chocolate is now considered healthy and high in antioxidants, but it's still high in sugar and calories. It's better to eat something like chocolate as an occasional treat, while sticking to more nutritious foods for your everyday snacking.

Some high quality trail mixes now include "superfruits" like blueberries, goji berries and other fruits that are exceptionally high in antioxidants. These tend to be more expensive than traditional mixes that are mainly composed of raisins, apricots and other less costly fruits. These "extra healthy" trail mixes may also have sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and perhaps flax seeds.

Peanuts, another common ingredient in more "ordinary" mixes are often considered one of the less healthy nuts. Peanuts are somewhat controversial among health food experts. They are high in calories, are likely to be heavily sprayed (if non-organic) and contain a less than ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio. Some peanuts are fine, especially if they are organic, but it's ideal to find a good mix of nuts that include almonds, walnuts, cashews or pecans, which are among the healthiest.

Healthy trail mix is something you can take to work or school or in transit. It's handy to have a nutritious snack around that you can munch on so that's it less tempting to eat junk food between meals.

Learn more about the benefits of Healthy Trail Mix and other healthy snacks!

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables and Reap the Health Benefits


One of the best ways to improve your health is to eat more fruits and vegetables. According to the American Cancer Society, eating up to five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day can actually help to reduce your risk of cancer. Overall health can be improved by also consuming other plant sourced foods like whole-grain cereals, breads, pasta and rice on a daily basis. Fruits and vegetables are considered a feel good food that provides the body with energy, essential vitamins, fiber, minerals, antioxidants and disease preventing phytochemicals.

A single serving of fruit can be measured in several different ways. A medium-sized piece of fruit is a good reference for a single serving. To add variety, try a quarter cup of dried fruit or 4 ounces of 100 percent vegetable or fruit juice. One half cup to one cup of cooked, canned or even raw vegetables is also a good option.

Some fresh produce alternatives would be frozen fruits and vegetables, fruits packed in their own juice or low-sodium canned vegetables. These alternatives to fresh produce provide essentially the same health benefits. Whether homemade or store bought, dried fruit is a great option for use as a portable snack. For some added flavor, try dipping fruit in a low-fat yogurt or pudding. If you prefer a tangy dip then try a dry-mix salad dressing in low-fat sour cream.

Make fruits and vegetables an integral part of your daily diet and reap the numerous health benefits. Plus, you will feel great.

AJ Cocco enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics. Visit his latest website for information on the soothing and relaxing effects of lavender essential oil.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Amalaki Fruit Tree


The Amla, also known as Neelikkai, is called Phyllanthus Emblica in biological terms. It is known as Amalka in the Hindi language. In Sanskrit it is called Amalaki which means "the sustainer" or "the fruit where inhabits the goddess of opulence". The Goddess of prosperity, Lakhshmi , is generally linked with this tree. The leaves of this tree are used to worship the Goddess, usually in the Marga Shirsha month i.e. November/December. The tree is small, has rubbery leaves and a plump fruit. The size of the fruit is similar to that of a small lemon; it is pale green and is round in shape. The fruit is available in abundance from the month of January to April. The fruit is sweet, bitter and is used as an astringent. This tree has been highly regarded and worshipped in our country from ancient times as the "Earth Mother". It is found in most Indian forests. It is believed to be a tree that nurtures mankind.

Ayurvedic medicine regime advises having a tonic that is prepared from the fruit all through the winter months. The new fruit is a diuretic and a laxative. You can prepare a cool and revitalizing drink from the fruit. This juice can be taken in summer. The Ayurvedic doctors suggest this juice in the summer during those months the body systems slow down due to the intense heat. In case you want to enhance your bowel movements and thus cure digestion, boil four teaspoons of Amla powder, another four teaspoons of Myrobalans Chebulic and four teaspoons of Bahera , in twenty ounces of water. Drink two ounces in the morning before eating anything else for effective results.

The dried Amalaki fruit is an astringent and is extremely helpful in diarrhoea and dysentery. It is a significant component of the renowned Chyavanaprash; Triphala (three fruits) powder also consists of it.., "To cure burning eyes and cool the head and brain, make a paste of Amalaki, apply it to the head and then take a bath. The application of a small quantity of Amalaki oil to the head before bathing removes diseases of the eyes, night blindness and bilious giddiness. Amla confection is used in syphilis, flatulence, bronchitis, asthma and consumption." writes Swami Sivananda in Home Remedies. Clinical examinations reveal that Amalaki consists of anti- viral properties; it can increase the protein level in the body, enhance the adrenaline response and also avoid tremors and convulsions. The fruit endows beauty too.

The Amalaki fruit is used to prepare mouth watering chuntney and this should be consumed first along with a little amount of rice. Do not take it with the meal or after it. Amalaki retains its features over time unlike the other preserves, especially its ability to cure and also its quality. Dried Amalaki, an outstanding digestive, can be eaten after meals. It is believed that Amalaki fruit should be avoided on Thursdays. It is extremely special and helpful to consume ones meals beneath an Amalaki tree in the month of Kartik i.e. November/December. This convention id believed and carried out in many parts of the country, usually in the south where people conduct picnics under the Amla tree for anthe month. In case there is no Amla tree close by, then it is believed that a branch or twig of the tree should be kept close to the food.

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Christmas Cake Recipe


December is the time for baking in the kitchen, insulated against the cold weather by a festive fug of spices, brandy and rich dried fruit: cookies, mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake. The Christmas cake should be prepared well ahead of time so it has time to develop moistness and flavour. Usually I procrastinate and bake it only a week before Christmas but this year I was determined to do it right. So yesterday the kitchen exuded a gentle spicy aroma as the cake cooked extremely slowly for four and a half hours. Just one whiff is enough to conjure up Christmas.

It is just the sort of rich, damp, heavy fruit cake that Captain Hook put out to poison the Lost Boys in the original Peter Pan story. That detail seems to have been omitted in the updated versions, maybe these days it seems too old-fashioned to believe that rich cake is death to young stomachs! My kids aren't really into the cake itself anyway, but they love the marzipan and icing, so will nibble meagrely at the cake in order to justify feasting on their icing and that of the adults as well, who Jack Sprat-like tend to prefer the cake and leave the excess sweet icing to the children.

Just before Christmas I usually get out the reliable old Delia Smith cook book to check out the cake recipe and quantities for the marzipan. Her recipes almost always work and are accurate if not always inspired. Now she is long supplanted by the younger, sexier Nigella, but her books are still at the back of my shelf for when I need to check details of some ordinary but useful dish.

Rich Fruit Cake Recipe

450g/1lb currants

175g/6oz sultanas

175g/6oz raisins

50g/2oz glace cherries(optional)

50g/2oz mixed candied peel chopped

3 tablespoons brandy

225g/8oz plain flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon mixed spice

225g/8oz unsalted butter

225g/8oz soft brown sugar

4 large eggs

50g/2oz chopped almonds

1 dessertspoon treacle

grated rind of 1 lemon

grated rind of 1 orange

The night before you want to make the cake, soak all the dried fruit and peel with the brandy. Leave it in a covered bowl over night or at least twelve hours.

Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch round cake tin or a 18cm/ 7 inch square one.

Sift together the flour, salt and spices. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy (make sure you do this thoroughly). Beat eggs and add them a little at a time to the creamed mixture, beating well each time. Next fold in the flour and spices gently. Stir in the dried fruit and peel, treacle and the grated lemon and orange rind. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and spread it out evenly. Tie a band of brown paper round the outside of the tin and cover the top of the cake with a double layer of greaseproof paper (with a hole cut in the middle of it) Bake the cake at 140C/275F on the lower shelf of the oven for 4 ¼ - 4 ¾ hours. Don't open the door to check until at least 4 hours have passed. Once the cake has cooled wrap it in a layer of greaseproof paper then foil. Delia recommends feeding it with brandy every week or so, by poking a couple of holes with a skewer then letting a few teaspoons of brandy soak in.

Our cake is now well wrapped in grease-proof paper and foil and stored on a shelf in the larder to steep in its own flavours. A week before Christmas I'll make the marzipan to go on it. I'll have a lot of help with that as the children vie to gather up any scraps that fall or are trimmed off. We've even converted marzipan haters in the family to our variety of almond paste, just by leaving out the almond essence, which gives the strong almost metallic taste to shop marzipan. Without it the real almond flavour gets a chance to shine through, more mellow and delicately nutty. (I'll write up my recipe for the marzipan and royal icing in my next article.)

On top of the marzipan goes the top layer of royal icing, made with icing sugar and egg white, put on rough to resemble a snowy scene. When I was growing up we had a set of figures for a Nativity scene that always decorated the cake and it was my favourite job to arrange them with a few tiny pine trees for added effect. You can be creative with your decoration, go for elegant with a single artificial poinsettia flower or fun with plastic animals - a donkey and ox, or as I often do being in Africa, a zebra, elephant and giraffe - standing around in the snow. Silver balls could make a star or you could find a tiny angel decoration to stand atop the cake heralding Christmas.

Kit Heathcock - worked and travelled in Italy for many years, is passionate about food and loves being a fulltime mother. Co-creator of A Flower Gallery home of original flower pictures, Food and Family and Great Books Reviewed

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fruit Trees


Fruit trees serve us in many ways. They are providers of the vitamins and minerals in our diet. They give us shade. They add to the beauty to any landscaping, and are often used for this purpose. They should grow to full size where there is no space constraint. However, there are dwarf versions available that can be grown in more restricted spaces.

A wide variety of fruit trees can be grown according to the region you live in. These include apple, mango cherry, plum, apricot, peach and orange trees, to name a few. They can form a part of your home garden, but for commercial purposes, they are planted extensively in large orchard plots.

The growth of the trees and the quality of their output depends on various factors. The weather and soil conditions play an important role in their growth. The amount of care you give a fruit tree also determines the quality of the fruit they produce. Late autumn is an ideal time to plant fruit trees, and a good nursery will give you good quality saplings to plant, as well as advice regarding nurturing.

Different fruit trees need certain climatic conditions to grow and will only bear fruit if the conditions are right. Most fruit trees need lots of sunlight to bear good quality fruit.

While buying a sapling, various things have to be kept in mind. The sapling has to be healthy. The roots should not be slimy. Only a healthy sapling can grow into a healthy tree. Doing some research about fruit trees in general and the tree you like, in particular, is good to do before purchasing any fruit bearing tree.

Fruit provides detailed information on Fruit, Tropical Fruit, Organic Fruit, Dried Fruit and more. Fruit is affiliated with Gourmet Fruit Gift Baskets.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Diabetes and The Ampalaya Extract - How Effective Is It?


Diabetes is a condition, wherein blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is converted into glucose, or sugar, which our bodies use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, produces a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.

When a person has diabetes, the body either doesn't manufacture enough insulin, or can't use its own insulin as it should. This condition causes sugar to build up in the blood. This disease can create negative health complications, which include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is considered as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes

Individuals who think they might have diabetes must first consult with a physician for proper diagnosis. Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst,unexplained weight loss, sudden vision changes, extreme hunger, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, very dry skin and sores that are slow to heal.

Ampalaya, Or Bitter Melon, Is A Staple In Southeast Asian Medication

Ampalaya is the native name of Bitter Melon, and this vegetable variety is commonly found in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It is famous for its bitter taste. Ampalaya is used as a regular ingredient for a lot of Asian dishes.

Recently, it has been scientifically noted to possess well-documented blood sugar-lowering effects. Aside from having good fiber content and nutrients such as iron and potassium, many vital compounds have been identified in the fruit, notably charantin, vicine and polypeptide-p, which is plant insulin, in which numerous laboratory studies and limited clinical trials have attributed to the plant's blood sugar-lowering effects.

Many diabetic supplements have been developed using Ampalaya, and there are teas, capsules and extracts that use the dried fruit. For generations, many Asian diabetics have benefited from the wonders of Ampalaya, and only recently has Western science confirmed the potential of this vegetable. In many clinical studies conducted on the plant, researchers have particularly isolated a plant insulin that mimics animal insulin.

Even before researchers started unraveling the plant's anti-diabetic properties, Ampalaya has long been utilized as a traditional home remedy in most Asian homes, in helping control blood sugar levels. Many diabetics regularly consume the fruit, which is prepared as part of the daily meals. Diabetics who have come to trust this natural remedy have claimed to be able to live normal, active lives by having the vegetable as an integral part of a healthy daily diet.

Ampalaya Should be Taken On A Regular Basis

To reap the plant's full benefits, this vegetable should be taken on a regular basis. However, many individuals are taken aback by its natural bitter taste, and this often poses a problem. To make the vegetable appealing for users, some manufacturers are producing all-natural Ampalaya teas and capsules, which is a more convenient and pleasant-tasting way to get the plant's healthy benefits. These products retain the key compounds, while removing the bitter taste. - Prime Herbal

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creative Serving and Entertaining Ideas


I love to cook and bake and I am always looking for some helpful kitchen and cooking tips along with some creative entertaining ideas.

If you are entertaining for 2 or for a crowd, your dining area doesn't need to be fancy nor expensive. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Fruit Candle Holders

Select three large lemons or other whole fresh fruits of equal size and height and 3 tea light candles. Using a paring knife, cut a circle the size of the candle in the top of each lemon and discard. Remove enough pulp to set candle in the lemon so that the candle top is level with the top of the fruit. Trim the base of each lemon to allow fruit to sit flat on a safe surface.

Dish Towel Napkins

Bright patterned dish towels make great napkins! Larger, extra absorbent and easy to clean!

Fun Shaped Cookie Bars

Use large cookie cutters to create fun shaped bar cookies and sandwiches. Carefully press cutters into warm bar cookies. Place on a clean cookie sheet or plate and chill until firm.

Messy Hands?

Finger foods tend to get messy. Tuck a couple of individually wrapped hand wipes into napkins. Now your guests can clean their hands easily.

Easy Butter Corn

Place warm, husked corn in a rectangular container. Add four tablespoon pats of butter along with your favorite seasoning. Seal the container and flip several times to coat the corn in butter.

Cotton Bandana Napkins

Red cotton bandana's make great napkins for themed Western meals or for casual laid-back picnic BBQ style meals.

Buffet Style Party

When serving buffet-style for a party, consider using small cards to describe the food. These help guests spot foods that may be favorites, those that may cause allergies or new dishes that sound too good to pass by. Your guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Pepper Dip Holders

Use fresh red, green and yellow peppers to hold dipping sauces. Slice the top off the pepper. Remove the seeds and the pulp. Slightly trim the base of the pepper to allow it to sit evenly. Fill with dip.

Need a quick bottle cooler?

When you need a bottle cooler for the patio or deck, use a large, clean terra-cotta plant pot filled with ice. Place a plant coaster under the pot to catch the water as the ice melts.

Instant Cake & Pie Serving Stand

Need a quick elegant display stand for your round cakes, tortes or pies? Take a pretty decorative bowl and turn it upside down and place a large round decorative plate on top! You now have instantly created a cake serving stand!

Chopping Dried Fruit Tip

If you want to chop dried fruit, coat a knife blade or food processor blade with oil first to more easily slice through the dried fruit. You can also freeze the dried fruit before chopping in a food processor or blender.

Do-it-Yourself Decorative Napkin Rings

You can go to a craft store, kitchen store, department store, etc and buy plain napkin rings for a few dollars. Pick up some lace trims, artificial flowers, beads, sequins, charms, etc and hot glue your trinkets onto the napkin rings.

You can also go to the dollar store and buy plastic round shower hooks and hot glue your trinkets onto them to make your own custom napkin rings!

Do-it-Yourself Decorative Napkin Basket

Go to our local store and find a square shaped rattan or wicker basket. Pick up some crafting trinkets at your local craft store and hot glue them to the basket to match your DIY napkin rings.

Do-It-Yourself Decorate Utensil Holder Basket

Again, go to your local department store, find a rectangular small basket. I like to line mine with a cloth napkin. Then hot glue your craft trinkets onto the front of the basket to match your other DIY table items.

Entertaining and coming up with something special, doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Try to "think" outside the box and make your own items.

Shelly Hill
Shelly has been working from home in Direct Sales since 1989 and is a Manager with Tupperware. You can contact Shelly at Recipe Blog:

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Stomach Pain Relief Secrets - Information to Help You Obtain Stomach Relief For a Better Lifestyle


Believe it or not, eating fruit can cause stomach pain such as stomach aches, bloating, diarrhea, excessive gas/wind, stomach cramps and acid reflux just by eating fruit at the Wrong Time.

Fruits, especially fresh fruits are full of essential nutrients that are not only good for you, but also remove toxins from your body and is a source of energy, but only when eaten at the Right Time!

Fresh fruit is made up of a combination of water and natural sugars and with the exception of more dense fruits such as bananas, avocados and dried fruit, is easy for your system to digest, traveling quickly through the stomach into the intestines where the beneficial nutrients are extracted... that is if your stomach is Empty!

If your stomach is already full of other foods to be digested after a meal say and then you eat fruit such as a dessert or fruit platter, the swallowed fruit becomes blocked behind that food just eaten, preventing an easy passage through the stomach. The swallowed fruit has no choice but to sit on top of the other food and wait it's turn to go through... that's when the problems start. Whilst waiting, fruit will quickly start to ferment and putrefy which can cause... yep, you guessed correct...stomach pains, acid reflux, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, gas/wind, even diverticulitis or a combination...not very nice. You can easily prevent this happening to you.

The Secret: Eat Fruit Only on an Empty Stomach.

Try this out:

Breakfast: Eat fresh fruit on its own...nothing else... a mixed fresh fruit salad would be ideal. This will set you up perfectly for your day ahead. (TIP: forgo the coffee or tea and drink a glass of water instead).

Fresh Fruit Snacks: Morning and/or afternoon fruit snacks are highly recommended but make sure to allow at least 25-30 minutes before and 3 hours after any regular meal or other food is consumed. For example: 1. Eat fruit on an empty stomach then wait 25-30mins before eating other foods. 2. After eating other foods, wait at least 3 hours before eating fruit.

Main Meals: A fruit dessert at the end of your main meal will only encourage Stomach Pain... why not try having fruit as a 1st course instead. Then allow 25-30 minutes digestion before you eat any other foods. You will not only benefit from the fruit's natural goodness, it will also cleanse your palate ready for tasting your next food course.

Remember: Only Eat Fruit on an Empty Stomach.

Many people are completely unaware that fruit can be harmful to their overall health and wellbeing purely because it is eaten at the wrong time. Now you know the best time to eat fruit and keep healthy, so inform your friends and family of this important information.

Paul Hassell is an Internet Marketer, Writer, Film Maker and Baby Boomer who's passion is to help people achieve a better lifestyle through quality information and enjoys good food, a good wine and being Happy!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fruit and Great Health


While there is life--and fruit--there is hope. When this truth is realised by the laity nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand professors of the healing art will be obliged to abandon their profession and take to fruit-growing for a living.

Many people have heard vaguely of the "grape cure" for diseases arising from over-feeding, and the lemon cure for rheumatism, but for the most part these "cures" remain mere names. Nevertheless it is almost incredible to the uninitiated what may be accomplished by the abandonment for a time of every kind of food in favour of fruit. Of course, such a proceeding should not be entered upon in a careless or random fashion. Too sudden changes of habit are apt to be attended with disturbances that discourage the patient, and cause him to lose patience and abandon the treatment without giving it a fair trial. In countries where the "grape cure" is practised the patient starts by taking one pound of grapes each day, which quantity is gradually increased until he can consume six pounds. As the quantity of grapes is increased that of the ordinary food is decreased, until at last the patient lives on nothing but grapes. I have not visited a "grape cure" centre in person, but I have read that it is not only persons suffering from the effects of over-feeding who find salvation in the "grape cure," but that consumptive patients thrive and even put on weight under it.

The Herald of Health stated, some few years back, that in the South of France where the "grape cure" is practised consumptive patients are fed on grapes alone, and become quite strong and well in a year or two. And I have myself known wonderful cures to follow on the adoption of a fruitarian dietary in cases of cancer, tumour, gout, eczema, all kinds of inflammatory complaints, and wounds that refused to heal.

H. Benjafield, M.B., writing in the Herald of Health, says: "Garrod, the great London authority on gout, advises his patients to take oranges, lemons, strawberries, grapes, apples, pears, etc. Tardieu, the great French authority, maintains that the salts of potash found so plentifully in fruits are the chief agents in purifying the blood from these rheumatic and gouty poisons.... Dr. Buzzard advises the scorbutic to take fruit morning, noon, and night. Fresh lemon juice in the form of lemonade is to be his ordinary drink; the existence of diarrhoea should be no reason for withholding it." The writer goes on to show that headache, indigestion, constipation, and all other complaints that result from the sluggish action of bowels and liver can never be cured by the use of artificial fruit salts and drugs.

Salts and acids as found in organised forms are quite different in their effects to the products of the laboratory, notwithstanding that the chemical composition may be shown to be the same. The chemist may be able to manufacture a "fruit juice," but he cannot, as yet, manufacture the actual fruit. The mysterious life force always evades him. Fruit is a vital food, it supplies the body with something over and above the mere elements that the chemist succeeds in isolating by analysis. The vegetable kingdom possesses the power of directly utilising minerals, and it is only in this "live" form that they are fit for the consumption of man. In the consumption of sodium chloride (common table salt), baking powders, and the whole army of mineral drugs and essences, we violate that decree of Nature which ordains that the animal kingdom shall feed upon the vegetable and the vegetable upon the mineral.

Fruit is a Food.

Until quite recently the majority of English-speaking people have been accustomed to look upon fruit not as a food, but rather as a sweetmeat, to be eaten merely for pleasure, and therefore very sparingly. It has consequently been banished from its rightful place at the beginning of meals. But fruit is not a "goody," it is a food, and, moreover, a complete food. All vegetable foods (in their natural state) contain all the elements necessary to form a complete food. At a pinch human life might be supported on any one of them. I say "at a pinch" because if the nuts cereals and pulses were ruled out of the dietary it would, for most people, be deficient in fat and protein (the flesh and muscle-forming element). Nevertheless, fruit alone will sustain life if taken in large quantities with small output of energy on the part of the person living upon it, as witness the "grape cure." The percentage of proteid in grapes is particularly high for fruit.

Those people who desire to make a fruitarian dietary their daily régime cannot do better than take the advice of O. Hashnu Hara, an American writer. He says: "Every adult requires from twelve to sixteen ounces of dry food,free from water, daily. To supply this a quarter of a pound of shelled nuts and three-quarters of a pound of any dried fruit must be used. In addition to this, from two to three pounds of any fresh fruit in season goes to complete the day's allowance. These quantities should be weighed out ... and will sustain a full-grown man in perfect health and vitality. The quantity of ripe fresh fruit may be slightly increased in summer, with a corresponding decrease in the dried fruit."

I am the editor of a website devoted to all aspects of food and the creation of great food. You can find recipes, articles, cooking terms, and numerous other food related topics by directing yourself to my website,

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Should Our Kids Be Preservative Free?


I think this is an impossible ask, but if we can at least make a difference to our kids diet and allow them to consume a little less preservatives then maybe just maybe we as parents may be a little more sane and not have to deal with as many behavioural outbursts. Well, that's just a thought and in some case a dream as well.

Sticking to a preservative free diet does require quite a bit of work and commitment, of which sometimes I tend to lack, but when I do stick to it, I believe it does make a difference.

There have been times with my daughters, particularly my 2 year old where they have really gone a little mad and it has been directly after consuming the wrong type of food. If may be a little treat or even a supposed 'healthy snack' but if it has a certain preservative in it, then it doesn't matter if it's a lolly, chocolate, dried fruit or a muesli bar. For my children if it has the preservative 220 in it, then my kids can have a really bad reaction and end up incredibly hyperactive.

Many of these preservatives used to flare up my eldest daughters asthma a few years ago and so I learnt to stay clear of them, but now it seems that almost every food we consume is laden with preservatives that are no good for us and preservatives that can affect our behaviour and that of our children in a very detrimental way.

The preservatives, that I believe should be avoided as much as possible are E200-203; E210-219: E220-227; E230-232. All of these preservatives have a tendency to bring on headaches and can result in stomach or intestinal upsets. They can also increase hyperactivity in kids and can make asthma worse.

I am not infallible and I do sometimes get slack but I certainly do notice a difference when I stick to this diet. My 2 year old throws a lot less tantrums and my 6 year old doesn't seem to be as tired or get as many headaches. I notice with myself as well, that my stomach doesn't tend to react or become bloated if I stay away from these preservatives as much as possible.

If I can give my daughters healthy snacks, like homemade icypoles instead of the bought ones, made with fresh fruit and ice then at least I know what I am putting into their little systems. Perhaps too sorbets or home made cakes are worth sticking too instead of all the processed bought stuff that nowadays seem to adorn our shelves. As I said before at least we know what goes into the food that we make, as opposed to what someone else makes in a shop or supermarket operating purely for profit.

By the way, I am not suggesting that we all throw out our store bought stuff and resort to making all our own food, as these days I realise how busy we all are and how un-realistic that is. Life is so busy that sometimes it can be hard just making healthy sandwiches, but even if we elect to no longer purchase one or two items that are laden with these preservatives, we will still be doing our kids an enormous favour.

I say let's think of our kids and make our life easier by hopefully having to deal with less upset stomachs, less headaches and less behavioural problems. And remember next time you go shopping, look for these preservatives on the food labels and see if you can find a better alternative. Good luck and happy shopping.

From Melinda Walker. For more information on alternative treatments and improving your way of life please visit []

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