Make Time for Tea Time To Benefit Your Mind & Body

‘Tis the season for tea! Shorter days and cooler temperatures get me thinking of ways to stay warm and healthy. Getting cozy with a cup of tea has many potential health benefits, including better sleep and decreased risk for illness, and some types have even been shown to aid in weight loss.

So which types of tea pack the most punch when it comes to health benefits? How do you get the most from your tea?

Green Tea

Green Tea

Green tea has been touted as having the most health benefits of all the tea varieties. The extended fermentation process for green tea boosts the levels of polyphenols, which are the beneficial antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties and help regulate blood-sugar levels in the body. Green tea has also been shown to lower risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Black Tea

Black Tea

Black tea is the most commonly used tea in the world. It also has the most caffeine. This tea has high concentrations of theaflavins and thearubigins, two amazing antioxidants that have been linked to lower levels of cholesterol.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea has a delicious, rich flavor that is attributed to its shorter fermentation period. Oolong activates an enzyme that dissolves triglycerides, a form of dietary fat stored in fat cells, which may aid in weight loss.

White Tea

White tea is harvested when it is young, which provides a milder taste and less caffeine. According to an article on, white tea has many benefits, including antibacterial properties, which can boost your immune system and maintain good oral health. It has also been shown to decrease the risk for cancer and heart disease, decrease the symptomatic effects of diabetes, and aid in weight loss.

Herbal Tea

Blooming Tea
Blooming Tea

Herbal tea is technically not tea, but a blend of dried herbs, fruit, and flowers. This tea is usually caffeine-free or only has trace amounts of caffeine. These teas have varying benefits depending on the blend. Lavender, bergamot, and chamomile teas can aid in falling and staying asleep. Hibiscus tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus Tea

Follow these helpful tips to get the most out of your tea:

  1. Use fresh, loose-leaf tea and a tea ball to brew. The fresher the tea, the better the flavor. The tea leaves also need space to bloom in order to maximize the release of antioxidants. If you prefer to use tea bags, use a pyramid-shaped bag. That shape provides more space than traditional tea bags.
  1. Use spring or filtered water. The chlorine, metals, and minerals in regular tap water can affect the taste of the tea and decrease its health benefits.
  1. Do not add milk. Milk decreases polyphenol levels in tea because the polyphenols will bind with the milk proteins.
  1. Do not buy bottled teas. They lose 20% of the catechins (antioxidants) during the bottling process.
  1. Add citrus to your tea instead of sugar. Doing so will flavor your tea and give it a boost of antioxidants. Adding refined sugar will cancel out the benefits of drinking the tea.
  1. Drink at least 4 cups per day to maximize the benefits.

Now go enjoy a healthy and cozy fall and winter with a nice, warm cup of tea!

Check out the following articles for further information about all the great benefits of adding tea to your daily diet!


Take a Healthy Bite Out of Halloween: Spooky Treats with Less Sugar

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens' website,
Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

With Halloween just around the corner, there are a lot of tempting treats that don’t pack much of a nutritional punch. There are many ways to make Halloween snacks both healthy and fun. You can arrange fruit and veggies to look like a skeleton or jack-o-lantern, cut out spooky faces in cheese or bread, or add edible candy eyeballs to pretty much anything.

Here are some tricks to disguise some healthy Halloween treats for your kids. I found the following recipes on the SheKnows blog and

Monster Mouths

Image courtesy of SheKnows blog
Image courtesy of SheKnows

You’ll need:

10 apple slices

peanut butter

whole peanuts or almonds

Spread peanut butter between two apple slices and position to look like an open mouth. Place whole peanuts on peanut butter to look like teeth.

Witches’ Broomsticks

Image courtesy of everyday Health
Image courtesy of everyday Health

You’ll need:

mozzarella cheese sticks
pretzel sticks

Directions: To make the broom, slice the mozzarella stick across in thirds. Use a knife or scissors to cut a fringe pattern on the lower half of the cheese. Insert a pretzel stick into the cheese, making the broomstick, and tie a chive around the top.

Yummy Mummy Hot Dogs

Image courtesy of SheKnows
Image courtesy of SheKnows

You’ll need:

hot dogs

crescent roll dough

ketchup and mustard

Wrap up a ghastly treat for your little goblins and ghouls. Use crescent roll dough cut into thin strips to wrap your “mummies” from head to toe. Cook the dogs for 15 minutes at 350 until golden brown. Make sure to leave room for the mummies’ faces, which the kids can design with mustard or ketchup and a toothpick.

Now that you have some delicious options for healthy Halloween treats, you can be sure to have a fun and tasty holiday!

Meet the Madrea by OrganicPedic Earth™!

The OrganicPedic Earth™ Madrea is a medium-plush 11” sculpted-surface pillow top mattress made with 100% natural and GOLS-certified, organic natural rubber latex. It starts with a 6” core of supportive medium latex covered in our signature certified organic cotton-and-wool quilting. A removable two-sided pillow top (3 1/2” deep) – also made of 100% natural rubber latex is then placed on the mattress. The pillow top is made with two surface options: our exclusive sculpted surface on one side, and a flat surface on the other. This provides sleepers with maximum comfort and flexibility. The pillow top is fully covered with our signature certified organic cotton and wool quilting and is attached to the mattress using our exclusive “button-down” process. The mattress is covered in our signature certified organic cotton-and-wool quilting.

Features and Benefits

  • Sculpted surface offers pressure-point relief and increases air circulation
  • Button-down pillow top can be used on either side
  • Motion-absorbing construction
  • Naturally mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant


Firmness: Medium-Plush

Depth: Approximately 11”

Core: 100%-Natural & Certified Organic Rubber Latex

Cover: Certified Organic Wool & Certified Organic Cotton

Foundation: Wood Slat Padded with Sanitized Certified Organic Cotton

Sizes: Twin – King

Warranty: 20-Year Limited Warranty

*All dimensions are subject to a slight variance due to being custom made.

MSRP (mattress only): twin $3,799 • twin XL $4,199 • full $4,699 • queen $4,999 • king $6,599

Foundation sold separately.

For more information on the OrganicPedic™ Earth Collection or OrganicPedic™ products, click HERE.

Steal Your Health Back with Thieves Oil

Temperatures are falling, and we are at the advent of cold and flu season. If you are looking for a natural alternative to fight the flu, you should try a “thieves” essential oil blend.

During the Black Plague in medieval Europe, thieves would pickpocket the dead. It was an anomaly as to why those thieves were not falling ill. The thieves’ secret protector was a blend of essential oils they procured from Asian spice dealers. That is how this super-blend got its name.

I found the following recipe on Sophie Uliano’s blog.

Use a dark glass dropper bottle.

Make the blend by adding the following oils to to your dropper bottle. You can double the recipe if you want:

10 drops clove essential oil

9 drops lemon essential oil

5 drops cinnamon leaf essential oil

4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

3 drops rosemary essential oil

Please note that the essential oils should be high quality, pure and ideally organic. They won’t be effective if they are not.

How to use it:

As it’s strong, you add just one drop of your Thieves Blend to four drops of a carrier oil. You carrier oil can be any plant oil you have to hand: olive, sweet almond, grape seed etc.

Once diluted you can:

  • Apply a few drops to a Kleenex to sniff
  • Rub behind your ears and on your temples
  • Rub on your neck

You can use it every day, and especially when you sense or know you have been around germs!

Safety patch test:

I strongly advise that everyone do a simple patch test before using any new essential oil. Once you have created your blend, dilute as described above, then rub a few drops on your inner wrist or forearm, cover with a Band Aid, and leave for 12 hours. Then check for any redness or swelling. Most people will see nothing, but it’s prudent to check.

Pregnant women should avoid this blend.

FTC Cracks Down on Labeling

One of the luxuries of being an American consumer is that we have many choices. Should I choose a 4-door sedan or an SUV, a wool sweater or a cotton sweater, organic food or non-organic food? Information displayed on products and in advertising can affect the decisions we make as consumers. Many consumers trust that the information provided on the labels of products they purchase is correct, but how can we know for sure?

The FTC recently mailed letters to five certifiers and 32 businesses warning them that the certification seals displayed on their products that claim the products are “green” or “eco-friendly” did not provide consumers with enough information and do not meet the FTC’s environmental marketing guidelines.   We, as consumers, deserve to know what we are buying. We deserve to be provided with correct and thorough information on product labels.

The main concern is that the companies mentioned above are displaying “green” certification seals without providing information about how the product is “green” or “eco-friendly.” These graphics and seals are easy to obtain.   I quickly found the logo above by using a popular search engine. According to the online press release on the FTC website, Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained, “…if the seals’ claims are broader than the products’ benefits, they can deceive people…”

The FTC publishes “Green Guides” that help to explain how to better communicate a product’s “green” attributes. Click on the link below for more information and to see a comparative example between a good seal display and a bad seal display.

Eco-Friendly Tips for Pet Owners

 Autumn is a great time to organize your house, your family, and your pets. It is also a good time to reevaluate your green footprint.   Many people clear out warm-weather clothing, reorganize their kitchens for upcoming holiday feasts, and store camping equipment until next season. Why not extend that to your pets? While you prepare for the coming season and the holidays that come with it, keep in mind there are many things you can do to lessen that footprint, especially if you have furry family members.

Adopt and Spay or Neuter

If you are looking for a cuddly Christmas gift, consider adoption. Adopting a pet not only saves a sweet animal from euthanization, but also reduces the amount of resources used at shelters to care for the animal. Spaying and neutering pets reduces the homeless pet population, which provides similar benefits as adopting an animal.

Healthy Food, Healthy Pet

Pet food is mostly meat-based. Choose minimally processed foods made with locally raised meat, eco-friendly fish, and organic vegetables. If you prefer, you can make your pet’s food, but make sure to ask your pet’s vet for a list of healthy options first.

Waste Disposal

Pet waste is a huge problem for the environment. Not only is it laden with dangerous bacteria that are harmful to wildlife and our fresh lakes and rivers, but the plastic bags that people use to dispose of it litter our landfills. Opt for biodegradable bags to dispose of your pet’s waste.

Additionally, cat litter, especially the clay-clumping variety, is also not biodegradable and is full of cancer-causing chemicals that are harmful to both your cat and the environment. The clay is strip-mined, which ruins entire ecosystems and strips land of the nutrients needed to grow vegetation.

Clean Green

The chemicals in many household cleaners are harmful to your pets. Use natural enzyme-based cleaners to eliminate pet stains and odors. Natural cleaners, such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar or natural cleaning products are healthy options for household cleaning. Lifekind has a great line of green cleaning and personal-care products, including the natural enzyme cleaner pictured above.

Don’t forget your yard. Many animals, including my sweet boxer, Trooper, love to eat grass. Make sure to protect them by using only natural products in your yard and garden.

You can also use biodegradable shampoos and conditioners for your furry friends, or make your own.

Pet Gear

Pets are easily entertained. A little yarn, a piece of scrap material, or a cardboard box will keep your cat playing for hours. My dog prefers attention and a human playmate, rather than playing with a toy. Trooper would much rather take a hike in the woods or have a wrestling match with his “daddy” than chew on a store-bought toy. If you prefer to purchase a toy for your pet, stay away from anything plastic, and preferably purchase toys made with organic or recycled materials.

There are also many great options for organic or natural pet products, including pet beds. OMI offers some great organic pet beds made with certified organic cotton, organic buckwheat, and/or 100% natural rubber latex.

Remember to donate gently used toys and gear to pet shelters, too.


Welcome Fall, Hello Pumpkin Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles!


The leaves are changing color, the weather is getting cooler, and pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks are coming out left and right. Well, to fulfill that craving for delicious pumpkin treats and to celebrate the start of Autumn, here is an amazingly tasty recipe for the best snickerdoodles ever!


Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar coating:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of allspice


To make the cookies, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. (If you have any more dry streaks on the bottom, fold together gently with a spatula until just combined.) Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

While the dough chills, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill this as well (for at least half an hour).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the coating thoroughly. Take one tablespoon of dough and flatten it into a pancake shape. Place one teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the middle of the pancake. Form another tablespoon of dough into an equally-sized pancake shape, and place on top, keeping the cream cheese in the middle. Gently pinch together the edges of the dough around the cream cheese to seal, then gently roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart. Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water to moisten slightly. Then dip it in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly. (They won’t really flatten on their own, though they will puff slightly.) Recoat the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture as needed.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch and the tops begin to crackle. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or ENJOY right away!