Have a safe, healthy, and happy Halloween weekend from all your friends at OMI!
Darker days are upon us.
This Halloween night we will all be setting our clocks back an hour to end Daylight Savings Time, which adds an extra hour to the weekend!
I look forward to this change every year. It ushers in fall, winter, and the holiday season. I also love thinking about how I will decide to spend that extra hour of weekend time. I fantasize about being extra productive, as if that one hour is going to allow me to finally check off my whole weekend to-do list without batting an eye.
Sleeping in always wins. It takes me some time to get used to waking up weekday mornings when it is still dark outside. Taking back that extra hour of sleep this weekend will feel good, knowing I will have quite a few dark mornings in my near future.
So go ahead and do the same. Enjoy that extra hour to relax and recharge!
‘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 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 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 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 is harvested when it is young, which provides a milder taste and less caffeine. According to an article on organicfacts.net, 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 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.
Follow these helpful tips to get the most out of your tea:
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not add milk. Milk decreases polyphenol levels in tea because the polyphenols will bind with the milk proteins.
- Do not buy bottled teas. They lose 20% of the catechins (antioxidants) during the bottling process.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
10 apple slices
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.
mozzarella cheese 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
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!
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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.
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.