Archive for ‘Vitamins’

October 25, 2012

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By: Dana Baardsen

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? So can it’s vinegar do the same thing too?

Apple cider vinegar is created after the apples undergo fermentation. During the apple’s fermentation process, it’s natural sugars turn into alcohol. Prolonged fermentation is what actually takes the product a step further, creating the vinegar.

The acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar creates antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which make it a great healing product. It can be ingested or topically applied.

Apple cider vinegar has a lengthy list of health benefits. Some health claims are:

  • Ridding toxins from the body
  • Relieving Allergies
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Aiding fat breakdown
  • Clearing Acne
  • Easing digestion / Preventing stomach illness
  • Regulating pH balance in the body
  • Relieving migraines
  • Slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Cleaning head lice / Destroying dandruff

WebMD reports five health claims which are backed up by scientific research:

  1. Diabetes- “The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best-researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, one 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%”.
  2. High Cholesterol- “A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it’s too early to know how it might work in people”.
  3. Heart Health- “Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn’t. However, it’s far from clear that the vinegar was the reason”.
  4. Cancer- “A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.  Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer“.
  5. Weight Loss- “For thousands of years, vinegar has been used for weight loss. White vinegar (and perhaps other types) might help people feel full. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread”.

So if you have interest in trying ACV, you have a few options. Apple cider vinegar is actually sold in pill form, but if you want to indulge naturally on a daily basis, I would recommend adding a splash of the vinegar to a glass of water or fruit juice. Do not take apple cider vinegar straight, because the acidity can be detrimental to the linings of your throat and digestive tract. You must mix! I wouldn’t recommend mixing more than one tablespoon (three teaspoons) into your drink.

If you are applying the product topically to your skin or scalp, mix it with water first to see how your skin reacts.

Just remember, everything in moderation! Good luck!

🙂 I would like to close with a special quotation:

“From my experience with wild apples, I can understand that there may be reason for a savage’s preferring many kinds of food which the civilized man rejects. The former has the palate of an outdoor man. It takes a savage or wild taste to appreciate a wild fruit.” — Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples NB

September 1, 2012

Benefits of Gardening

Samantha Cianci, Gardener, Dancer

Samantha Cianci, Gardener

By: Dana Baardsen

I invite you to explore Samanciland, an abundant oasis of green which would make any organic gardener wiggle their toes. Though the name might sound playful, Samanciland is more than just a pretty garden. It’s a source of nourishment and “therapy” for it’s owner.

Meet Samantha, an inspiring gardener and dancer who executes her ability to care for her plants extremely well.

I’ll let you be the judge!

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardeninggardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

Not only does Sam grow and harvest the plants in her whimsical garden, but she cooks with them too! …Pretty impressive, huh?

gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb
gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumbgardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb

Samantha is definitely onto something, as scientific research supports the benefits growing a garden at home.

Here are five reasons why you should start:

1.Sweet Serenity: Planting and gardening elevates the  levels of “happy hormones” in our bodies as well as decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

2. Gets the Blood Flowing: Maintaining a garden is actually a relaxing yet effective form of exercise. Burning those extra calories is definitely a plus!

3. Veggie Heaven: Gardeners are more likely to indulge in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

4. Earth is My Mother: Working with floral, fruit, herbal, and vegetable plants will strengthen your precious bond with nature.

5. Ah, Satisfaction Baby: Wouldn’t it feel nice to know that your centerpiece or meals actually came from something you planted, grew, and harvested?

…So what are you waiting for? Go out there and plant something! Even if you don’t have the space outdoors, you can grow potted flowers and herbs indoors. Just remember, the most fruitful and rapidly growing plants are those grown with healing and loving hands. 🙂 NB

All photos in this blog were provided by Samantha! To check out more from Samantha’s garden– view her gardening and cooking albums.

August 14, 2012

Health Benefits of Basil

Basil, health benefits of basil, healing properties basilBy: Dana Baardsen

This fragrant herb serves as a beautiful, tasteful and healthful addition to the food you prepare.

Basil is an abundant source of Vitamin K and contains trace sources of other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Iron, and Manganese.

This low-cal pop of flavor also provides flavanoids which protect our cell membranes along with “volatile oils” which fight unwanted bacterial growth.

Grow and harvest fresh basil leaves or purchase at your local food store!

You can toss into a garden salad, layer into a sandwich, or chop and sprinkle over your favorite pastas and sauces. Pour some ice water over basil leaves and garnish with a lemon for a rejuvenating, cleansing drink.

Incorporate this herb into your life for some flavoring accompanied with undeniable health benefits. NB

June 15, 2012

You Are What You Eat…

Food, Diet

April 29, 2012

Going to the Gym? Spike Your Energy Levels.

Energy, Work Out, Gym, Fitness, Health

Isaac Hinds Photography

By: Dana Baardsen

Carbs are…Good?

Strength and Conditioning Journal reported the benefits of eating complex carbohydrates prior to light or intense exercise. Our bodies first take energy from carb sources in the body, and then begin to take energy from protein. By eating a small amount of complex carbs before working out, your body will actually still burn energy from fat, but continue burning energy from the complex carbs rather than stealing protein from your muscles. By consuming complex carbs in moderate amounts you are protecting your body’s protein stores. Even though you might want to refrain from eating to decrease body fat percentage, you are doing your body a disservice by not providing yourself with enough power and energy (through food) to endure a full fat-burning work out.

Electify Your Cells.

Aside from complex carb consumption, it is important to remember your electrolyte balance and more importantly the Sodium Potassium Pump. The Sodium Potassium Pump works on a cellular level, allowing our muscles to contract properly. To see if you are maintaining adequate nutrient levels, check out the Super Food Tracker on

Sodium and potassium are major electrolytes in our body. Remember when you sweat, your electrolytes are pouring out from the surface of your skin. Maintain your electrolyte balance by sipping on a sports drink or try coconut water for a natural electrolyte-packed drink. There are several home-made electrolyte drink options available as well.

Can you say B?

If you aren’t getting enough B vitamins, you can kiss an energizing workout goodbye. Consider the B vitamins best friends to your metabolism. Though preferably obtained through food sources, but you can reap the benefits from supplements. The B’s are water soluble, so whatever your body doesn’t need…will be removed as waste.

B1 (Thiamin) : A large proportion of the thiamin consumed in the United States comes from enriched grains used in foods such as breakfast cereals, breads, and other baked goods. Pork, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, are also good sources.

B3 (Niacin) : Meat and fish are good sources of niacin. Other sources include legumes, mushrooms, wheat bran, asparagus, and peanuts. Niacin added to enriched flours used in baked goods provides much of the usable niacin in the North American diet.

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) : Pantothenic acid is particularly abundant in meat, eggs, whole grains, and legumes. It is found in lesser amounts in milk, vegetables, and fruits . Pantothenic acid is susceptible to damage by exposure to heat and low- or high-acid conditions.

B6 : Animal sources include chicken, fish, pork etc. Good plant sources include whole-wheat products, brown rice, soybeans, sunflower seeds, and some fruits and vegetables such as bananas, broccoli, and spinach.

B12 (Cobalamin) : Animal sources include chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, and milk.

Inhale…and Exhale.

Air! Only.

If you’re serious about maintaining your energy levels and stamina, then get rid of those stinky cigarettes. Not only will ciggies give you lung cancer, but they will slow you down tremendously. Ick.

Oxygen, carried by our red blood cells, is one of the most important factors in upping energy levels. Don’t smoke up your oxygen supply, rather practice slow breathing exercises prior to working out.

Whether your busting moves on the dance floor, pumping iron, or running a marathon you will have a greater shot at getting more from the workout if you practice controlled breathing.

So remember, breathe– don’t wheeze. NB

March 1, 2012

Quinoa Kick!

quinoa, village harvest, calories, recipes

Village Harvest

By: Dana Baardsen

What IS this stuff?

Quinoa is the only natural grain which provides a complete source of protein. If this doesn’t sound exciting enough to you then you should be aware, protein is made up of amino acids- nine of which are essential. Not only is Quinoa a protein powerhouse (often used by body builders) but it is an absolute complete source of these amino acids. This stuff is great!

My favorite brand of Quinoa, Village Harvest, states “the ancient Incas knew that quinoa was the best source of plant protein on earth. We have rediscovered quinoa, because of its nutty flavor, chewy texture and all essential amino acids”.

The Low-Down:

Brand: Village Harvest Quinoa (Premium Whole Grain) Blue Bag

Nutrition: 1/4 Cup

  • 160 Calories
  • 27g Carbs
  • 6g Protein
  • Contains: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper

Cooking Instructions:

Rinse 1 cup quinoa until water runs clear.

Combine quinoa with two cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer until water is completely absorbed, usually 25 minutes. The germ ring will be visible when the quinoa is fully cooked. Fluff with fork and serve.

Delicious Quinoa Salad Recipe:

Refrigerate Quinoa until it is cooled. Add in chopped onion, celery, parsley, and carrots to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Enjoy.

Wonderful additions to the salad are grilled chicken or chopped avocado for veggies, like me! NB

February 28, 2012

Fitness and Vitamin C


After hitting the gym we often find ourselves grabbing the essential protein bar and a bottle of water. We tend to forget about one substance which is crucial to the formation and maintenance of our muscles- Vitamin C.

Not only is Vitamin C is the most intensively studied vitamin in sports nutrition but it’s positive effects on athletes and bodybuilders are measured and documented. There are several reasons why Vitamin C is so important to consume in conjunction with working out…

In addition to building and releasing steroid hormones like testosterone, Vitamin C acts as a crucial assistant to several metabolic functions in our body.

Vitamin C is a key component of our metabolism. Our metabolism is what maintains our body and it is also the function which burns body fat. Having your metabolism working in optimal condition is ideal for anybody, and especially for someone who is working out their body. These processes all take place on a cellular level in our body. In 2002 the University of Colorado at Boulder studied Vitamin C intake and metabolism in adults. Doctor Bell measured resting metabolic rate in adults before and after a direct infusion of Vitamin C. The results show that following the infusion, “resting metabolism increases on average by almost 100 calories per day” (Science Daily 2002).

In addition to enabling our metabolism to work more efficiently, Vitamin C helps form the protein, Collagen. This is important to know for building muscle because collagen serves as the matrix on which bone is formed. Collagen basically holds things together (like your bone and muscle) so this protein is crucial for body builders who lift strenuous amounts of weight. Collagen is an important protein for your muscular, skeletal, and cardiovascular system. Vitamin C also aids the health of our muscles because it stimulates the absorption of iron into our blood stream. Iron then provides oxygen in the bloodstream to travel to our muscles which helps enable maximum performance.

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals. This is valuable to the structure of the muscles as it protects the muscle tissues against oxidative stress and contributes toward muscle recovery and growth.

If you’re convinced you need to start taking advantage of Vitamin C during your next work out, it can be taken in supplement form or can be incorporated into your diet through citrus fruits, peppers, and dark leafy greens…

February 28, 2012

Mommy Tip: Vitamin D3

WIC (Women Infants & Children) nutritionist told me when breastfeeding, mothers need to increase their intake of vitamin D3. Not only does this vitamin support the bones, but it has shown great effects on the immune system.

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