Accepting Change with the Vibration of Autumn!

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Red Power is SunMoonYinYang

The season of change is upon us! Equinox energy is abundant with opportunities for transition and transformation. In the northern hemisphere, the fall equinox celebrates balance with the pinnacle day of equal dark and light, presaging a shift into more dark than light. Although not everyone will be ready—or willing—to embrace this change, fall equinox is a great time to think about your own balance.

Saying “So long!” to summer is bittersweet for many, and just plain bitter for some!  Aside from the obvious, undeniable shifts we see outside in nature, there’s a lot going on inside our own personal nature. Autumn provides a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge that we all change and that transformation is natural and a normal part of life. 

The subtle and not-so-subtle seasonal shifting is multi-faceted and its effects are deep-reaching. Harnessing the energy of autumn is a beautiful way to accept the changes and create more harmony in your life, and it’s a powerful way to welcome winter! But our reluctance to go with the flow has the potential to amplify our discontent.

Have you been hitting the snooze button lately?

Getting up in the morning may not be as easy now as it was when the energetic rays of summer slipped through our windows to give us a gentle nudge. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Serotonin is “the precursor for melatonin; it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock” (www. medicalnewstoday). Sunlight directly affects this internal clock, or circadian rhythm, “a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria” (http://www.sciencedaily.com), and shorter days with dimmer light means less serotonin production and less melatonin. Our sleep cycles will shift in response to this decrease.

The dynamics of this natural change slows down our biochemistry; the bear in hibernation is slow-down in its extreme! The body will seek to compensate for this initial decrease in energy, possibly by seeking out the quickest fix with caffeine, sugar, and carbs—just a heads up to avoid the potential “fall.”

Our bodies may require more sleep as we adjust to the seasonal shift. So, first off, pay Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.04.55 PMattention to your sleep/wake cycle and ditch any guilt about it. I don’t believe there is a single bear on the planet who is feeling guilty about hibernation. Why should you? Negative emotions are like sludge in the energy flow. With our energy already slowing down, adding to it with feelings of guilt is a recipe for mood swings and depression.

Why not embrace the changes in your circadian rhythm with a salute to nature’s ability to willingly let go and celebrate the shift? We’ll be affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, so let’s take a look at what we can do to remain as balanced as possible during this time and increase our vitality and well-being.

EmBODY the Spirit of Autumn

Being mindful of your nutritional input can make all the difference in relation to your energy levels and your ability to be fully alive! The decrease in serotonin is a good place to start. Despite the fact that serotonin plays a major role in your brain chemistry, it is actually produced in your gut!  Gut health is critical for balanced brain chemistry. We often start with diet changes by removing items, which can start our change process with the energy of loss and/or scarcity. Try adding something to your nutritional regime that can make a positive change in your gut health, like drinking fermented drinks such as kombucha (fermented tea) or kefir (fermented milk). Improving your acid-alkaline balance will yield results on many levels and will reduce inflammation, helping that belly feel summer-slim.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.10.10 PMAnother dual-role player in our biochemistry alongside serotonin is Vitamin D. Not commonly referred to as a hormone, vitamin D plays a major role in the dynamics of our biochemistry. Since our natural doses of Vitamin D come from the sun, the lack thereof can lead to deficiencies. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are: bone, back and muscle pain; fatigue and tiredness; depression; bone loss; hair loss; and an overall compromised immune system, making us more susceptible to allergies and the cold and flu “season.”

To counteract these deficiencies, increase Omega 3s by eating more fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), cheese, and egg yolks. Vegans and vegetarians can eat more mushrooms and drink fortified soy and/or almond milk. Plant-derived supplements (www.peta.org) are more bioaccessible, absorbable, and good for everyone. The Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine “associates the energetic vibration of Autumn with that of our Lung and Large Intestine organs” (www.tcmworld.org). To support these organs, include pears, roasted almonds, chick peas, honey, celery, mint, and white sesame seeds into your diet.

EnvironMENTAL Cues

Fall is a time for self-reflection and introspection. With the shorter days and colder temperatures, we begin to turn inward. Because we are more inwardly focused, our Spirit becomes more accessible. It’s a great time to take a deeper look inside, to ask questions like: Who am I? What am I? Am I fulfilling my human potential? We don’t necessarily need answers; we are simply checking in to see whether the outside world we live in supports the inside world we live within. 

The autumn season gives a big shout-out to the act of letting go. With the changes in sunlight and temperature and the need for change of habit, our moods are directly affected.  It’s often easier to make changes and start new routines when you have a partner. Why not choose the environment to help you? The environment will not oversleep, cheat on a diet, or let you down in any way in terms of commitment.

The trees must release their leaves in order to conserve the dwindling supply of energy that they will receive from the winter supply of sunlight. Perhaps the bounty of color is nature’s way of celebrating this release? Those leaves don’t go straight to brown, dry up, and die straight away. Instead, there is a generous and beautiful transitional shift. Our spirits brighten and our moods lift each time our eyes fall upon the colors of autumn.

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For regions that don’t have these visuals, the energy of this shift mingles with the energies of the planet so that subtle shifts can be felt and experienced with enough power to announce the arrival of autumn. It’s simply Nature’s way.

EMOTIONal Effects of the Season

Change does not occur in the comfort zone, and although the autumn season lures us Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.16.44 PMwith cozy sweaters and comfort foods, these pleasures do not guarantee a smooth transition. The onset of SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or “winter depression” can be triggered by the fall season. With all the changes in our biochemistry that come with the season, it is no wonder that some of us may have a very difficult time adjusting!

Another factor possibly exacerbating this issue is the fact that the vibration of grief and loss is powerfully present in autumn. The fading of sunlight, vegetation, warmth, and long, lazy days are obvious losses that can set off any residing blocked energy of loss within you. Again, Traditional Chinese Medicine acknowledges grief and loss as an elemental force of the season. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, place, thing, or even a belief, the energy of loss can get triggered during the season of loss.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.29.34 PMAs difficult as it may sound and seem, embracing the loss may help the flow of the energy pass through you more swiftly. Viewing the flow of grief as a river sweeping through your energy body and cleansing it of emotional blocks is a great way to embrace your grief. For those of you who may be in the throes of sorrow, this may be an important time to seek extra support or to make a greater effort to stay connected to people who help you feel safe.

SPIRITUALly Spry

Spiritual spryness refers to our energetic fitness. There is a robust flow of energy out there at this time of year—we can see it in the colors of nature and feel it in the bite of the breeze. It’s definitely an invitation to increase our sense of vitality.  In order to do this, we need to enhance our energetic flow. The carefree days of summer offered an opportunity for a more relaxed living routine, which might have led to things piling up. It makes sense for us to remove clutter and get more organized now.

The energy of this season is about letting go, organizing, list-making, and the like. This is a great precursor for our natural desire to start the upcoming New Year off with a fresh, empowering start. Clearing away clutter of all kinds is a wonderful way to fine tune your intentions in preparation for the upcoming season of rebirth and renewal.

This act of clearing can be just as overwhelming as it is inspirational, so take the concept

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http://www.turbosquid.com

in small doses. Try not to think “weekend” or “dumpster.” Instead, invite the idea that the next time you come across a small item that you haven’t used or needed in a long time, you will consider tossing it. Start small, similar to clearing a few twigs at a time from a blocked stream. Clear a few more, and then a few more, and the next thing you know, the stream will be flowing full force and you may not recognize your own home!

The same goes for thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Think about how much more available attention you can put to use to not only gain a deeper sense of peace, but to apply yourself to achieving goals and enhancing your life! There are many ways to help retrain your mind; meditation, for instance, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping”). Again, you don’t need to go big! Just  commit to a 5-minute meditation. Begin by simply becoming mindful about taking a single breath. Our life starts with a single breath—don’t underestimate the power in that!

Some Simple Steps to Autumn Solace

Autumn carries the frequency of change. The season vibrates with the energy of transition and transformation. Seasonal change is going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it except to resist it—but will that serve you?  Resistance may be a necessary part of your tradition of change, but keep in mind that holding on for too long to what has passed can have adverse effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

When you are ready, here’s a brief list of suggestions to help you increase your sense of vitality and enhance your sense of wellbeing:

  • Take time for introspection. Meditate or vegetate, whatever makes you chill.
  • Cleanse your body. Add fermented food and/or drink to help improve your acid-alkaline balance. Invite a gentle cleanse or fast, or simply eat lightly for a short period.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and energize your cells.
  • De-clutter. Start small if needed; recall the twig-blocked stream, and take away one twig at a time until the flow increases.
  • Get organized. Initiate list-making and restructuring on all levels—with your “stuff,” with your schedule, with the way that you think.
  • Practice letting go. Join the spirit of the season and invite letting go of unwanted anything. A simple exercise can be taking a mindful breath. Think “in with the new” with each inhale and “out with the old” with every exhale.

Thank you for aligning your energy with me. May you enjoy an abundant harvest this season and approach the winter months with a sound spirit, strong immune system, and a fantastic flow of vital energy!

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Sources in order of appearance:

http://www.fpvforums.org/yin-yang-in-nature-yin-yang-in-nature/red-power-is-yinyangsunmoon-zps4ca755e1.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/circadian_rhythm.htm

https://www.peta.org/living/food/5-ways-to-increase-your-vitamin-d-intake/

https://www.tcmworld.org/092217-2/

https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3d-pile-branches-pbr-model/1127662

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/101939742/autumn-expected-to-be-warmer–and-wetter–than-usual

 

 

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Pinot Grigio, But I Love Thee!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice

Americans love wine. We drink so much of it that we actually consume more wine than any other nation in the world! It’s the Millennials who are largely responsible for pushing our charts of wine consumption skyward. It has been speculated that the media is a big influence on their choice of beverage du jour, through movies and television shows rife with young, hip, main characters imbibing wine in ever-increasing amounts (Thach, 2015).

Of all the wine drank on our star-spangled shores, Pinot Grigio is the third most popular wine in the US, right after first-place Chardonnay and second-place Cabernet Sauvignon (Thach, 2015). Despite Pinot Grigio’s great popularity, it has largely been rebuffed by the wine community as the Muzak of the wine world. The great wine glass maker Riedel doesn’t even make a Pinot Grigio glass! They make glasses for Daiginjo, Kalterer See Auslese, and Rheingau, but nothing, nada, zip, for Pinot Grigio. Why not, you ask? So glad you asked!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice abounds mostly because some wine aficionados believe Pinot Grigio wines to be too one-dimensional to warrant the admiration bestowed upon other white varietals. But this unfair judgment is mostly due to the great numbers of mass-marketed, low-budget Pinot Grigio wines produced (Thach, 2015), and not the better quality, refreshingly high acid, bright, minerally, quaffable wines also produced, but at a slightly elevated price point (VinePair).

Pinot Grigio Done Right is Like a Hemingway Novel

Another factor in Pinot Grigio’s bad rap is, in part, due to it being promoted as a “training wheels wine” (Frazier, n.d.a.), second only to white zinfandel. Oh contraire! Pinot Grigio done right is like a Hemingway novel: sharp, dry, and with no flowery artifice to mask its salinity. A good Pinot Grigio brims with fresh notes of lemon, lime, apples, and honeysuckle. Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with fish and shellfish, white pastas, appetizers, and summer salads. It also goes great with mild cheeses (although I have paired it with an extra-sharp Vermont aged white cheddar and it held its own!).

What’s in a Name?

Are Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio the same wine? Yes and no. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, just grown in different regions of the world and produced in different styles. The grape actually originated in Burgundy, France (hence the Pinot Gris appellation). The name Pinot Gris was derived from the French word pinot for the grape structure, which resembles a pine cone; and gris, because the grape, a cousin of Pinot Noir, is actually gray in color rather than the green of other white varietals (Schmitt, 2017). Pinot Gris style wines pair well with heartier fare such as hard cheeses, squashes and yams, cheese casseroles, and chicken and pork dishes. Pinot Gris is sort of like Pinot Grigio’s older, college-aged sister; more sophisticated, with greater depth and character, but with a little less sassiness, in my book, at least. And I must confess, I am a sass woman!

In the 1300s, the Pinot Gris grape migrated to Switzerland and eventually to northeastern Italy (Lombardy, the Veneto Fruili, Trentino, and Alto Adige), where its name and production style became known as Pinot Grigio (VinePair, n.d.a.).  Even though the wine is French in origin, it was the Italians who popularized it and brought the wine to the global market (Gorman-McAdams, 2014).

In Italy, Pinot Grigio wines are grown and produced in the Italian style and are often crisp with lively fruit, flowery bouquets, and a dash of zing on the finish (Gorman-McAdams, 2014). According to Wine Folly (2014), regions with chillier temperatures are likely to produce wines in this method. Some regions to look for with Pinot Grigio of this type are: Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy; Veneto and Lombardy, Italy; Austria; Hungary; Slovenia; Romania; Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and Rheingau in Germany; and Okanagan, Canada.

On the other hand, Old World Alsace style Pinot Gris wines are more fruit forward, higher in alcohol, less acidic, denser in flavor, and provide a slicker mouth feel. Stone fruit flavors balance the citrus characteristics in Alsace style Pinot Gris wines. According to Wine Folly (2014), several of the countries that make this style are, interestingly, the New World wine regions of Fruili-Venezia Guilia, Sicily; Abruzzo and Tuscany in Italy; Australia; New Zealand; Chile; Argentina; and California, Oregon, and Washington in the US. Alsace style Pinot Grigios are also considered to be a better investment if cellaring your wine is a priority.

Terlato Pinot Grigio is Liquid Summer

Admittedly, I have a peculiar fixation on rooting for the underdog. It’s been a lifelong preoccupation: befriend the bullied kid; join the Rolling Stones camp versus the megalithic Beatles one; love jazz and blues when rock was king; and, most recently, be in pursuit of the perfect Pinot. Pinot Grigio, that is! I think I may have found it in Terlato Pinot Grigio, 2015, (no affiliate marketing ploy—just the love of wine). For $20 a bottle, I think you’ll find it’s like liquid summer; evocative of a warm sunny day with low humidity and bright blue skies, a delicious salad on the patio and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background in chorus with the birds.

Those are my unconventional Pinot Grigio tasting notes, backed by extensive hands-on-wine-glass research. Please share with us the magic that slides out of your next bottle of Pinot Grigio. Together we can defeat the Pinot Grigio Prejudice for the good of all wine drinkers—present and future! We also welcome recommendations of other great Pinot Grigio wines as you discover them. Keep us posted!

Resources:

Frazier, K. (n.d.a.) Best white wine for beginners. Love to know. [Blog]. Downloaded from

https://wine.lovetoknow.com/wiki/best_wines_for_beginners

Gorman-McAdams, M. (2014, April 25). What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio? [Blog]. Downloaded from https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-pinot-gris-and-pinot-grigio-126507

Learn about Pinot Grigio white wine. VinePair. [Blog].  Downloaded from https://vinepair.com/wine-101/learn-pinot-grigio-white-wine/

Schmitt, P. (2017, September 1).Everything you need to know about Pinot Grigio. Downloaded from https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/09/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pinot-grigio/

 

Thach, L. (2015, January 24). The state of wine drinking in America today. The Week. Downloaded from http://theweek.com/articles/532653/state-winedrinking-america-today

The 3 types of Pinot Grigio. (2014, June 18). Downloaded from  https://winefolly.com/review/3-types-pinot-grigio/

Wine in America. (2017, December). Pbs.org [Blog]. Downloaded from  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/wine-america/

 

Thriving on Supplements by Janice Messino

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I live by the idea that the status of my health is mostly maintained by my lifestyle and, to some degree, my genetics. Even so, I know I miss the mark on a balanced diet on many days! To offset those less balanced days, I choose to support my health with specially chosen supplements that assure my body is getting what it needs—not just to live but to thrive. I am not alone in this quest to feel my best. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.07 PMAs consumers, we have been misled in a multitude of ways, but many of us have learned better. We no longer blindly accept a prescription; we now know to ask questions. We are learning how to take better care of our health in order to ward off the need for taking a pharmaceutical. We now have easy access to a great deal of health information, making us better-informed patients. And as patients, we have developed a preference for being treated as an individual, not a collection of symptoms. In other words, we have shifted our health paradigm and, in doing so, have become empowered. Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.28 PM

As we learn to take better care of our health, the supplement market has expanded to meet our newly-informed needs. This might explain why the supplements market is predicted to grow at a rate of almost 10% for the next seven years and reach a value of $280 billion by 2025. This upswing is, of course, driven by you.

Thriving–or just Surviving?

The late Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning physical chemist and peace activist, was a wellness pioneer who strongly advocated for high-dose vitamin C for some specific conditions and for a better state of health overall. The daily amount of vitamin C recommended by Pauling was well over the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) set by the Food & Drug Administration. The RDA claims to be a “level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy people.” But, according to a study of 4,700 adults in the US that used only a modest health assessment, less than 3% of participants were considered healthy. If most Americans are not considered healthy, then the RDA’s guidelines inappropriate for most Americans. It seems that the RDA allows for just enough nutrients to sustain ourselves. Pauling campaigned for levels of nutrients that would allow us to feel our best and to thrive, not just survive.Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.06.03 PM

Pauling was not well liked by his fellow health professionals and was often called (at the very least) an unorthodox thinker.  Many years later, his research findings are taken more seriously. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “newer evidence suggests there might be something to Pauling’s heretical claims after all. In fact, a lot of the scientific literature published on vitamin C in the two decades since Pauling’s death support his claims.”

More than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements such as vitamins each year. According to the most recent report from the American Association of Poison control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS), not one person in the US died from taking a supplement in 2013. That’s not to say that there isn’t a quality difference between brands. There is! Many supplement companies take extraordinary pride in the production of quality products. To insure safety and effectiveness, supplements should be cleanly sourced and backed by scientific evidence. So, choose a high-quality supplement from a manufacturer and reseller you trust.

 Prescription Death

Unlike the safety of supplements, “about 128,000 people die each year from drugs prescribed to them. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking 4th with stroke as a leading cause of death.” In light of the high degree of safety of supplements and the considerable number of well-documented deaths caused by prescription and over-the-counter medications, we might ponder why the FDA isn’t investing more time into making prescriptions safer and less time looking for the disadvantages of supplements.

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According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, prescription and over-the-counter medication accounts for close to 80% of the deaths reported by U.S. Poison Control Centers. Even seemingly-harmless acetaminophen, the ingredient in Tylenol and other pain-relieving products, has a dismal track record. The US Poison Control Centers report that “there are 100,000 calls to Poison Control and 56,000 visits to the emergency room, 2,600 hospital admissions, and nearly 500 deaths per year.” Deaths from properly-prescribed medications taken as directed are estimated at 2,460 per week. That number doesn’t even include deaths from prescribing errors, overdose, and improper use! Clearly, in a side-effects contest between vitamins, minerals, and other supplements versus prescription and over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplements come out on top!Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.19.07 PM

In my supplement-taking regimen, I make it a point to include supplements which can potentially raise my longevity. Cutting-edge research shows that NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a chemical compound found in every cell in our bodies, can promote longevity. NAD is said to slow down the aging process by “mitigating chemical stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and failing mitochondria.” Its neuroplasticity-enhancing effects can reverse some age-induced deterioration, such as the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. NAD seems to have the same wonderful longevity effect that is associated with calorie restriction and exercise, and we can’t get it from our diet, no matter how healthy our diet is. But we can take it as a supplement.

All the evidence points to the benefits of supplements, along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, to make all the difference in our health and longevity. For more information on how to make supplements part of your wellness practice, contact Create Health, where we follow the latest research and carry only the finest supplements.

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Source for citations in order of appearance:

Global Dietary Supplements Market Industry Trends and Forecast to 2025. Data Bridge Market Research. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-dietary-supplements-market/

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). National Institutes of Health. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

Preidt, Robert. Less Than Three Percent of Americans Live a Healthy Lifestyle. WebMD. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20160322/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Over 170 Million Americans Take Dietary Supplements. Nutraceuticals World. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2016-10-31/over-170-million-americans-take-dietary-supplements/

Light, Donald W. New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk With Few Offsetting Advantages. Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages

Northrup, Christiane. Vitamins Versus Drugs: Which is Safer? Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.drnorthrup.com/vitamins-versus-drugs-which-is-safer/

Schroeder, Michael O. Death by Prescription. US News and World Report. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications

Harrington, Stephen. Anti-Aging Mechanisms of NAD+. Life Extension Magazine. Accessed July 11, 2018. http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2018/2/Anti-Aging-Effects-Of-NAD/Page-01

 

Can the Wine Cork Help Save the World?

There is a recent movement away from using traditional cork closures due to some inaccurate and bad press. In investigating the cork for this blog and for the Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Podcast,  I was delighted to find that there are many reasons, all good, to buy wines with natural cork stoppers. The history, romance, and earth saving qualities of the natural cork is captivating. Read on, my friend!

History of the Wine Cork

Even though the natural cork is under hot debate right now, the cork as a stopper may date back as far as the ancient Egyptians. Modern legend often attributes its promotion to Dom Perignon, the famous 17th century French monk. Wine myth contends that he may have popularized the use of cork stoppers over the more commonly used wooden plugs. Four hundred years later and the cork continues to be a topic of discussion. The good news is the wooden plug is out, but the concern now is that screw caps and plastic stoppers are gobbling up market share in the world of wine closures (Gifford, 2016). These competitive stoppers are eating away at the tradition, the ceremony, and the sexy sizzle of the traditional cork.

Let’s face it, it’s the wonderful anticipation when the bottle is offered, the unwrapping of the foil capsule, the dignified pull of the cork, the gentle pop of its release, and the presentation of the cork that sets the scene for that marvelous first sip of wine. The slow expectation heightens the total wine experience. Just as it’s the sizzle that enhances the taste of the steak, it’s the looking forward to, the delayed gratification of that first sip that builds our anticipatory desire.

The Sexy Sizzle of the Wine Cork

For centuries wine enthusiasts, both novice and expert alike, have waited for the cork to be pulled, and when in public, presented to them. (Listen to Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork? on Green Ink Radio to discover the answer to this age old question.) It was the love affair of ritual that continued to entice the modern wine consumer up until the last couple of decades.  Sadly, the pomp, the sizzle, the anticipation has all begun to fade. Other players have entered the wine closure field and devoured almost 40 percent of the traditional cork market share (Gifford, 2016) and in many ways are stripping it of its old world elegance and tradition.

Fast forward to the aluminum screw cap; in terms of ceremony, it just doesn’t measure up. Sure, it’s quick and easy, but it’s about as romantic as a TV dinner. Yes, it does reduce spoilage, a little. And yes it is convenient as hell. But it’s sort of like putting on sneakers with a prom dress, practical but inelegant. Nonetheless, it has gained popularity, particularly amongst millennials, and now accounts for 20 percent of the wine-closure market. Then there’s the plastic stopper. Need I say more? A plastic plug in a living thing? Eegads. Nevertheless, it too has extracted 10 percent of the stopper trade from the cork industry (Gifford, 2016).

What’s so Great About a Cork?

There’s such a rich history of the cork, it is infused with legend, romance, and a little mystery (answers found on Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork?). But in addition to that, there are numerous economical, enological, and environmental reasons why we should select natural cork stoppers when making our wine purchases:

  • It is made from the bark of the evergreen oak. No trees are killed and it is sustainably harvested (mantoncork).
  • The cork is biodegradable, aluminum screw caps and plastic plugs are not.
  • The Mediterranean Cork Forest is comprised of over 7 million acres, which would be neglected or chopped down if not for the production of cork (Gifford, 2016).
  • It’s environmentally friendly. The Mediterranean Cork Forest offsets 20 million tons of Co2 annually (Gifford).
  • The Portugal Cork Forest has the greatest plant biodiversity of anywhere on the planet, with over 135 different thriving and unique species (Gifford).
  • It provides a safe habitat for the endangered Iberian lynx and the Barbary deer (Gifford).
  • It offers the ecological benefit of providing over 100,000 wine cork related jobs, which are among the last well-paying agricultural jobs available (Gifford).
  • There is very little risk of getting a tainted wine from a natural cork stopper (currently about 1 percent due to recent technological advances) (Gifford).
  • Corklins! Corks are made from the bark of the evergreen oak, so using them as stoppers creates some of the same effects as aging in oak barrels (Pomranz, 2018). The phenolic compounds released are tannins, polyphenols, and phenols (Schmitt, 2018). These phenols interact with catechins and malvidins and form different, enhanced compounds, named Corklins (Pomranz).

Sell the Sizzle, Baby!

My father often repeats the old sales saying, “You sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Well, my recommendation to the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance is Sell the sizzle, baby. Opening a bottle of wine with a natural cork is a sensual experience. It speaks of old world charm and days of yore that can be recaptured in that brief, timeless moment of drawing the cork away from the mysteries held within. A screwcap is just not going to be able to provide that sort of classy pomp. Let’s return to the prom dress analogy for a moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sneakers (probably more than I should), but nothing, and I mean nothing can compete with a pair of high heels to complete the overall prom look and experience. Go to a prom in sneakers or go in high heels. What is the more elegant choice?

The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has a big job ahead of them. At Green Ink Radio we wish them the best! They are working to save the Mediterranean Cork Forest and its inhabits. Their slogan is “Pop a Cork, Save a Tree.” Hey, I’m doing my part saving the world, one bottle at a time. Why don’t you join me? Salute!

Resources:

Gifford, J. (2016, February 25). How millennials (almost) killed the wine cork. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/wine-cork-comeback/470961/

Mantoncork.com. The history of cork. Retrieved from: https://www.mantoncork.com/cork/

Pomranz, M. (2018, June 8). Are ‘corklins’ the reason wine bottled with a cork tastes different? Food & Wine. Retrieved from: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/wine-cork-taste-different-corklins

Schmitt, P. (2018, June 7). Compounds called corklins found in cork-stoppered wines. The Drinks Business. Retrieved from: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/06/compounds-called-corklins-found-in-cork-stoppered-wines/

 

Marley’s Mother of a Brunch

Recipes by Tricia Spaziani

Doggone Good Cooking

Tricia Spaziani is a down-home, modern day hostess and self-taught chef. She serves up old style hospitality, great food, and good fun. The proud mom of 13 rescue dogs, every meal she cooks is witnessed by her keenly observant pack. They are her official taste testers. They usually approve. The humans she hosts always do.  With Mother’s Day fast approaching, this is a hearty, quick and easy menu that will wow your guests.

We featured Tricia’s Marley’s Mother of a Brunch on Spaz on Health on Green Ink Radio because home cooking is a far healthier alternative to eating out. How, you ask? Because it is far less expensive, you can control your portions, and you can adjust ingredients to your liking. Also, cooking and hosting at home builds connections with family and friends and enhances intimacy in a way eating in a restaurant does not. Pull up a dog, a flute of mimosa, invite family and friends, and try these delightful recipes!

Bone appetite!

Marley’s Mother of a Brunch

Marley’s Honey Blueberry Muffins

Marley

 Ingredients:

2 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

3 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Cup Fresh Blueberries-rinsed

1 Cup Milk

4 Tablespoons Honey

1 Egg Beaten

1/4 Cup Melted Shortening

Preheat Oven to 350F

Directions:

Sift flour, salt, baking powder and blueberries together. Mix milk, honey, beaten egg, and melted shortening. Add dry ingredients. Stir quickly just to incorporate. Fill a greased muffin pan half full. You may also use muffin liners. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown.

Marley’s Italian Torte

Ingredients:

2 Tubes of Crescent Rolls / Divided

1 Teaspoon Olive Oil

1 Package of fresh baby spinach- 6 to 8 ounces

1 Cup fresh mushrooms – I use cremini

7 Large eggs

1 Cup fresh grated Parmesan- I use Strevechio

2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning

Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced good Deli Ham – I use Black Forest Ham

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced Hard Salami

1/2 lb. Thin Sliced Provolone Cheese

12 ounces of Roasted Red Peppers- drain them and pat them dry – another option is sun dried tomatoes packed in oil

Preheat oven to 350F

Directions:

Place a 9-inch spring form pan on heavy duty foil and wrap it around pan. This prevents leaking. Then unroll one tube of crescent dough and separate into triangles. Press onto bottom of pan to form a crust. Seal seams well with fingers. Bake 10-15 minutes or until set.

Easy Italian Torte Crust

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach, mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are tender. Drain on a paper towel or in a colander. Remove all liquid.

In a large bowl, whisk six eggs, the parmesan cheese, and the Italian seasoning and pepper.

Layer crust with half of the meats, cheese, red peppers and spinach mixture. Pour half of the egg mixture over the top. Repeat with remaining meats, cheese and vegetables, top with rest of the egg mixture.

Hearty Vegetables Are Key

 

Unroll and separate the second tube of crescent rolls into triangles, then press together to form a circle while sealing the seams. Once a circle is formed like a pie crust, place it over the filling. Wisk the remaining egg, brush over dough.

Bake uncovered, for 1 to 1/4 hours until done. During the baking process if the edges of the crust brown too fast, cover loosely with aluminum foil. Once done, loosen edges with a knife and remove spring form rim from pan. Let torte rest for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe can be made without the meat, just add additional vegetables.

Enjoy, Trisha style!

Marley’s Easy Greens & Tomato Salad

Pour a package of spring mix into a bowl.

Slice grape tomatoes.

Shred a handful of basil leaves.

Splash with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Marley’s Grapefruit Mimosa

Pair this delicious brunch with a Brut Prosecco and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to taste.

Blood orange sparkling water is also an excellent accompaniment.

Don’t forget to spay and neuter your animals!

Tune into Spaz on Health’s Marley’s Mother of a Brunch Episode to hear Marley’s cute rescue story. We dedicate this brunch to this beautiful girl. Don’t worry, she got a bite.

Is Sugar Dangerous?

by Janice Messino

Refined_Sugar

I was eating my daily square of dark chocolate (a quasi-nutritious snack), and it got me thinking. I know that sugar is poison, yet I have a little dark chocolate most days. I know that there have been studies on sugar dependence that have likened it to cocaine dependence. I did some further studying up on sugar and was quite surprised on several fronts. What a knowledge journey this has been! 

Dr. David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition, says:

C12H22011“white refined sugar is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways. Its true name is sucrose and its chemical formula is C12H22011. The chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21N04.  For all practical purposes, the only difference is that sugar is missing the ’N’ or nitrogen atom.”

Reuben is not the only researcher who makes this claim. This alone is disturbing, but the more I dug into it, the more compelling I found the scientific information about the dangers of sugar. I have now become completely turned off by sugar.

Sugar may be killing more people than cholera or cigarettes ever did. If history is any guide, the majority of people in the US will continue to eat or drink excess sugar, spiking their levels despite the life-shortening impact. The public has 

sugar mouth
 lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

been slow to give up their sugar addiction. What I find interesting are people who would not tolerate cigarettes or contaminated water, but have little concern about their sugar consumption. That’s how serious this is.

What’s So Bad About Sugar?

Sugar contains no nutrients, no protein, no healthy fats, no enzymes. Sugar exists in many forms besides the white powdered (usually GMO) beet sugar we find at the grocery store.  There are varying degrees of effects from sugar in all forms (including high fructose corn syrup, honey, and maple syrup) and we are consuming more of it than ever before.

Sugar_Effects_Infographic_crop
https://www.healthline.com/health/effects-of-sugar-on-the-body

Chronic sugar exposure has been linked to hypertension, Myocardial infarction (heart attacks), dyslipidemia, pancreatitis, obesity, hepatic dysfunction, fetal insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and habituation (if not addiction). Sugar is metabolized in the same way as ethanol, which is essentially fermented sugar. Thus, the effects of sugar consumption are the same as the effects of chronic ethanol exposure (habitual alcohol consumption); the only difference is that alcohol can lead to even more health issues than sugar.

The health issues related to sugar are not found exclusively in adults. Unbelievably, there is are obese six-month olds! Some researchers point to infant formula as the culprit. Similac infant formula is 43.2% corn syrup solids, and 10.3% sucrose. There is only a .2% difference in the amount of sugar in a serving of Coca-Cola verses Similac—imagine that! Parents who mean well are unknowingly harming their babies. High fat diets don’t hurt us; high sugar diets do, because they are metabolized as unhealthy fats. A low-fat diet may not really be a low-fat diet if there are sugars present in most of what you consume

Solutions for lowering sugar consumption

  1. Get rid of all sugared liquids in the house. Be sure to check all beverages, including juices. There’s no such thing as a good sugar-filled liquid! 
  2. Eat carbohydrates with fiber to slow the rate of absorption and reduce insulin response.
  3. Wait 20 minutes before taking a second portion.
  4. Examine all processed food for added sugar.

Why exercise is important

  1. It improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, which burns calories and brings insulin levels down.
  2. It reduces stress and stress and obesity go hand in hand.
  3. It lowers appetite.
  4. It detoxifies fructose, improving liver insulin sensitivity.
  5. It burns the food you eat so that it doesn’t become stored fat.

I have been shocked by my new understanding of the dangers of sugar to my body and to my family. For more information on how you can lower your sugar intake, thus lowering inflammation and improving your health, please contact me.

by Janice Messino ▪︎ Create Health ▪︎ (860) 970-7383

Sugar cubes on plate

Corliss, Julie. “Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease.” Harvard Health Publishing, February 6, 2014. Updated November 30, 2016. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021

Reuben, David. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition. Avon Books, September 1, 1979.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth. University of California Television (UCTV). July 30, 2009  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM#action=share

Are Your Thoughts Killing You?

Written by Janice Messino 

Do 100 Year Old People Say The Glass is Half Empty?

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I feel like a lucky person. I take care of my health and I intend to be in my son’s life for decades to come; I want to get to know my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Time doesn’t have to be running out—it’s about how we choose to age. Every day is a new day.

I often tell the stories of certain residents who I came to know in various healthcare facilities. There were some residents who got together and talked about their ailments and there were others who made the best of every day.  Those who chose to enjoy their days seemed to be happier people than those who lived in their problems. As time went by, I noticed that those who lived in a happier state actually lived longer. Unhappy residents with negative health beliefs became ill and passed away sooner. How many people do we know who are in their 90’s or 100’s and who look at their glass as half empty? Not many.

Are We Signaling Our Bodies to Live or Die?

Our subconscious mind has triggers; it triggers our bodies to react to what we’re telling the brain. This phenomenon is known through the science of epigenetics.

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Epigenetics Unravel the Mystery of Life

Epigenetics looks at the ways in which our body “turns on” certain genes and not others. The basis of this idea is a recognition that just because we have a certain gene doesn’t mean that gene will express. Every day, our body is getting one of two signals: the signal to live or the signal to die. The body takes those signals and produces what it needs to live, or to begin the process of deterioration. There are “signals” that impact life, our thinking, our level of exercise, our diets, our social lives, and our mental engagement.  We don’t know our future or when our end will come, but I think it’s important to manage our thoughts and feed the right triggers, so that no matter our chronological age, we don’t trigger ourselves into a dying mode.

Training Your Brain

Be careful when thinking negative thoughts. When I have a cranky back or a pain somewhere in my body, I don’t utter anything age-related about it. Instead, I simply tell myself that I want to work hard at not accepting physical limitations. After all, some limitations may be genetic and age-related, but they are usually worsened by some other factor in our lives, like proper diet or regular exercise. I do everything I can to assist my good health rather than just accept my limitations and then call it “aging”

Six years ago, I discovered multiple challenges with my back. Movement was painful and that slowed me down. I refused surgery and kept consulting professionals and doing research until I learned that there were other ways to address the issue. As a result, I enhanced my yoga practice, learned mind-body wellness techniques, and began a daily practice of qigong.  Now through further studies, I am also able to help others as well.

We Become What We Think About

What we talk about, what we spend our time on, is what feeds our mind. I try to avoid talking about my health and, when friends start sharing their aches, I try to change the subject to talking about positive solutions.

My answer to aging is that we should assume that we have unlimited amounts of time.hammock-2239788__340 (1)

I am not insensitive to major health challenges; I am saying that your attitude can make a significant difference. The key is being engaged mentally and physically. Feed your mind to trigger a long healthy life. Don’t place limits on yourself about how much time you have left. Assume you have a lot, because maybe you do! Include behaviors and a lifestyle that supports your energy level and good health.

There is so much we can accomplish throughout our lives. I ask myself, what am I doing that is not supporting my ability to live a strong, healthy, long life, then I take appropriate action.  You might want to ask yourself the same thing.

Janice Messino

Create Health, (860)970-7383, Facebook/CreateHealthCT

creatinghealthmindbodyct@gmail.com

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