Wonder Berries

As age affects us all, Dennis Steinke realized he was feeling it too soon. His fingers felt stiff in the mornings — to the point where he could barely uncurl his hands without pain. Then he found Goji berries and things started to improve. A lot. Every morning he takes one ounce of dried berries, plumps them up in 16 ounces of water, blends them up in the blender and drinks two ounces of the juice. (Making your own juice that has the entire berry and all of it’s benefits is a more economical way to partake of this little super food.) Goji Berries are great for our joints because they contain Beta-Sitoserol, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. The little red fruit grows on the Goji shrub in Asia, specifically the western part of China, Tibet and Mongolia. It is known to strengthen the heart and alleviate heart palpitations, and also helps fight insomnia and forgetfulness. It contains polysaccharides, which control the pituitary glands that produce HGH, a powerful anti-aging hormone. Goji juice can be used by pregnant women to alleviate morning sickness. In clinical trials, it has shown to partially reverse sexual dysfunction in seniors. It is used to boost the immune system, has some anti-cancer properties, has been used successfully to treat hepatitis B, it aides in weight loss, and can also support the body’s detox efforts.

Dennis found that by drinking Goji juice in the morning and by using chia seeds, he was able to drop his cholesterol 60 points in only two months. So why aren’t you taking Goji Berry juice regularly?

Find Goji Berries at Seattle Pride Coffee House, Eau Claire; Mother Natures Foods, Eau Claire; and Weavers in Fall Creek.

Planning Your Wedding with the Environment in Mind

More and more couples are trying to find a way to have an earth-friendly wedding celebration. The wedding industry is adapting to ensure that holding a green wedding will still involve the elegance that many couples want on their special day. “There are all kinds of ways to have a green wedding without sacrificing style or taste,” says Millie Martini Bratten, who is the editor in chief of Brides magazine.

How can you “green” your wedding? Try these ideas:

• Try a vintage or ‘gently’ used dress from a shop or a relative
• Dresses come in eco-friendly fabrics such as hemp, silk, organic cotton, or bamboo
• Grooms/men can rent tuxedos

Ceremony & Reception
• Consider a daytime outdoor wedding or reception – no need for electricity or lighting
• Choose locally grown or produced products – less fuel is needed to transport them
• Opt for pillar candles in glass hurricane lamps instead of floral centerpieces

• Print invitations on recycled paper
• Buy invites from companies that use wind power
• Skip save-the-date cards
• E-mailing guests about your wedding website can be a great alternative to sending out traditional paper invitations

• Choose favors that are useful beyond the event
• Make a donation to an eco-friendly organization in lieu of favors

Consider taking an eco-tour
• Reserve trips through eco-travel agencies
• Seek hotels and resorts that recycle and reduce energy consumption

Editor’s Note » May/June ‘10

Welcome to our Spring issue!  I am so excited that the growing season is here and it seems to be in full force. This issue is not only packed with locally written, wonderful articles, but it comes out with the launch of our brand new, fully searchable, totally awesome web site. Check us out at www.asecondopinionmag.com. Our Farmers Directory is now expanded and fully loaded on our new site. We will also have every article we have ever published available at your finger tips. So if you missed an article or would like to refer back to one, just search it out or read an entire issue online. I am very excited, so I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to go online and join us on Facebook. You will get last minute calendar events and links to great articles just for being our friend.

Eye Wonder…

Women of the world have been searching for centuries to find the best way to maintain and pamper the skin in those delicate eye areas that tend to age faster than the rest of the face. Most medical professionals agree that the number one course of action needs to be hydrating the body. But experience shows us that sometimes those little lines around the eyes need more than a good drink. While ancient civilizations used essential oils (still a hallmark of natural eye creams today), modern eye creams feature great combinations of plant-based ingredients and age-defying technology that can do wonders for anyone’s eyes.

Though many skin experts confess eye cream is often unnecessary if a person is already using an anti-aging moisturizer with sunscreen, there comes a time to get some extra help. How do you know when it’s time to add eye cream to your skin care regimen? A tight feeling around the eyes may signal excessive dryness, which is often followed by deeper lines and wrinkles, and then the “raccoon” puffiness and darkness. Applying an eye cream morning and night can help restore moisture and firmness to the eye area, explains Rachel Rowen, of the Center for Beauty and Advanced Esthetics in California. And to help you on your quest to finding the perfect eye cream for you, here’s a list of 10 “eye cream all-stars” from the experts at Alternative Medicine.

  • Hyaluronic Acid, a.k.a. Sodium Hyaluronate – This naturally-derived protein attracts 1,000 times its weight in water and plumps up fine lines.
  • Vitamin E/Tocotrienol – Palm oil-derived vitamin E is more potent than the regular form, though all Vitamin E protects eyes from sun damage, heals redness and stops flaking in very dry skin.
  • Peptides – These essential proteins promote the production of elastin and collagen, giving a firming effect.
  • Coenzyme Q10 – This antioxidant is in every cell of the body. It counteracts free radical damage, increases tissue oxygenation and fights skin damage.
  • Alpha-Hydroxy Acids – Derived from sugars in plants like grapes and citrus fruits, these acids are naturally occurring and slough off dead skin cells, thus helping plump up fine lines.
  • Chamomile – This natural flower has anti-irritant and antioxidative properties for the mind and skin, helping to alleviate redness and smooth fine lines.
  • Retinoids/Vitamin A – These vitamin A derivatives penetrate the skin, helping to exfoliate damaged cells and produce new ones. Use sunscreen with them, as they increase sun sensitivity.
  • Green Tea a.k.a. Camellia Sinensis – The young tea leaves are packed with anti-oxidants and are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that repair and strengthen skin.
  • Essential Fatty Acids – EFAs are derived from plant and animal lipids and are also found in the outer layer of the skin. They protect skin from sun damage.
  • Vitamin C-Ester a.k.a. Ascorbyl Palmitate – This non-acidic combination of vitamin C, bioactive metabolites, and minerals reduces puffiness and stimulates collagen synthesis.

Breathe Green

If you’re a houseplant lover, you probably know there are many benefits to having plants in your home. They provide decorating diversity, offer a touch of nature, have a grounding and relaxing effect, and even cleanse the air we breathe. That’s right, houseplants such as ferns, palms, and lilies actually pull pollutants out of the air.

Don’t Hold Your Breath
Think the air in your house doesn’t need detoxifying? Think again. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, along with a variety of other pollutants are so pervasive in the common household that indoor air is now considerd to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air!

What in your house could be emitting VOCs and other pollutants? Plenty. VOCs include nasty chemicals such as formaldehyde and benzene, classified by the EPA as known carcinogens, and are found in common household items like plastic bags, computer ink, pressed-wood furniture, commercial household cleansers, carpeting, even cosmetics.

Plants to the Rescue
Many of these every day items have become such a part of our lives that eliminating them seems impossible. Thank goodness we have plants! Back in the 1980’s NASA discovered the fern’s ability to cleanse the air; in fact, researchers discovered 50 types of regular old houseplants can absorb VOCs and actually remove pollutants from the air.

Experts suggest planning one houseplant per 100 square feet in your home. Put one next to your printer or on top of a particleboard bookshelf. Though plants alone can’t completely detoxify your atmosphere, they can help. In addition to using houseplants, consider curbing or eliminating your use of chemical cleansers and pesticides in the home. There are several products on the market that make potting and caring for your plants easier, more organic, and prettier. For ideas on how to arrange houseplants from a renowned feng shui expert, visit naturalhealthmag.com/fengshuiplants.

For not much money at all, you can get some good green plants in your house, benefit from the added color in your home, and perhaps best of all, breathe green!

Former NASA scientist Bill Wolverton’s Top Five Pollution Fighting Plants:

  • The Peace Lily absorbs alcohols, trichloroethylene (a dry-cleaning chemical), benzene and formaldehyde. Keep this white blooming plant in a semi-sunny spot with even, moist soil.
  • The Areca Palm takes on VOCs found in paint like xylene and toluene. This green, fast-growing plant likes a semi-sunny environment with consistently moist soil.
  • The Dracaena (or Janet Craig) soaks up trichloroethylene. This dark green treelike beauty likes a semi-shady spot with soil that’s not too wet.
  • The Weeping Fig absorbs formaldehyde. This type of ficus likes a full-sun location and moist soil.
  • The Boston Fern ranks best at absorbing formaldehyde. This plant likes it semi-sunny with a daily mist, plus some extra fertilizer during winter months. Added bonus: it adds humidity.