Author Archive | Beth Brass

The Top 9 Health Benefits of Ginger – Grab Some Today!

ginger health benefits

by Beth

Ginger is an incredibly versatile food that has been used by many cultures for thousands of years. From Africa to China,from Nepal to the Philippines, it is a root that is used in food and drink, ranging from ginger sodas to curry dishes. There is a reason why this amazing root is so widely used.  In addition to being a delicious ingredient, it also offers many serious healing properties.  Let’s take a look at 10 of my favorites:

1. Ginger contains the minerals zinc, chromium, and magnesium, which have been proven to increase circulation and help regulate body temperature.
2. Ginger aids digestion by increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes, from both the stomach and pancreas.
3. Ginger has been proven to be more effective than dramamine at settling the nausea associated with motion sickness.  To this end, it can also assist pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness.
4. Ginger has been shown to have antibacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, helping to cure sickness and alleviate pain. Just 1/4 inch thick slice of ginger, either cooked in food or prepared in a tea, has been shown to significantly reduce the pain from arthritis.
5. Ginger inhibits the growth of cancer cells, both ovarian and colorectal, as shown by studies executed at the University of Michigan and Minnesota, respectively.
6. In certain parts of the world, women claim that ginger mitigates the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps.
7. Ginger can help stimulate the appetite.
8. Ginger acts as an anti-flatulent.
9. Ginger can treat constipation.

As you can see, the benefits of consuming ginger are quite numerous.  Before you decide to grab Dramamine, Tylenol, or the antibiotics, try some ginger out first and you may be pleasantly surprised at the result!

The Main Differences Between Living in Costa Rica and the U.S.

Costa-Rica

by Beth

For those of you I haven’t bragged to yet, I live with my boyfriend, cat, and dog in Costa Rica. Yes, it’s everything you’d imagine it to be! We recently moved to a beautiful space near the Arenal Volcano, with a view of the largest man made lake, Lake Arenal. I could write for days about how wonderful Costa Rica is, so I’ll start off with the basics, and some differences between Costa Rica and the U.S.

Costa Rica is so incredibly different that the United States in many ways. For one, it only has two seasons, the dry, high, tourist season, which runs from November to May, and the wet, low season, which runs from June to October. This means of course, no snow! But that being said, there is plenty of variation between the seasons to keep things interesting, although spending Christmas in 90 degree weather will be quite a change! We moved to Costa Rica at the end of April, after a very, very harsh winter in Cleveland, so being here during the rainy season has been such a great change. We’re excited to see what the dry season brings!

With no official winters, this means that there’s exotic fruit available all year round, and there’s always something tasty in season! We head to the fería (farmer’s market) and buy pineapple, papaya, mangoes, oranges, star fruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, and the like and enjoy fruit as our snacks. It’s great! We also get raw chocolates, raw goats milk, and can buy handmade jewelry, as well.

The culture here is very hard working, but laid back at the same time. All people let the elderly and seniors get on the bus first, eat first, drink first, etc. People are all generally nice to one another, and will do what they can to help you.

And lastly, Spanish is the main language, and if you don’t know any, you can seem to get by on hand signals and pointing! We know a couple who literally know zero Spanish, and they’ve lived here for three years. How crazy! I on the other hand, prefer to know enough Spanish to get around, which makes things much, much easier.

Of course the United States is beautiful in so many ways, but Costa Rica brings a tropical beauty that is incomparable. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, aside from the Amazon rainforest, and brings with it an amazing array of plants and animals, some of which can be deadly!

All in all Costa Rica is an amazing place. I can’t wait to write more about what it offers and how we live a simple, green life here. If you have questions or would like me to cover a certain topic, let me know in the comments section above!

6 Great Kid-Friendly Uses for Organic Coconut Oil

CoconutRemember the father in law in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” who used Windex to cure everything? Well, I’m that way with coconut oil. I’m convinced it does everything that duct tape can’t. But we all know by now that coconut oil is practically a deity when it comes to health, wellness, and being green. I use for everything from conditioning my hair and brightening my smile to soothing chapped lips and rough elbows! You may be wondering how your children can benefit from coconut oil too? I put together a list of my six favorite ways to incorporate coconut oil into your child’s daily routine – you will want to pin or bookmark these, they are pretty amazing!

1. Lotion + Diaper Cream:
Coconut oil is a great diaper cream for those who use cloth diapers, and a great lotion for babies and kids alike, especially those with sensitive skin! It’s also great because a little goes a very long way and it can even be mixed with other lotions or oils to make your own lotion creation!

2. Frizzy Hair Tamer:
Coconut oil can conquer the static and frizz putting a wrench in those busy school day mornings with just a quick dab in the hands and a finger comb through the hair.

3. Lice Treatment:
Mix coconut oil with apple cider vinegar, and you have a natural lice remedy. This one is great to have in your arsenal for the younger kids, especially now that school is back in session!

4. Chicken Pox Anti-Itch Remedy:
The little ones are bound to get Chicken Pox at some time or another, and why should they suffer through the itching? Rub coconut oil on their spots and they’ll feel some relief and be able to get more rest.

5. Safe for Cooking:
Growing kids will ask for something that’s not good for them, it’s fate! Why not be a little sneaky and use coconut oil to add a healthy twist to their indulgence, and it may even turn the whole meal into a healthy treat! We use coconut oil when making popcorn – it takes a simple treat to a whole new level!

6. Immunity Superhero:
Scrapes and sickness are two things almost guaranteed to happen to your little ones. Coconut oil is great as an antibiotic cream for scratches, and can be taken internally to fight the cold and flu. It’s also perfect in a cup of tea to sooth a sore throat, and naturally heals thrush too.

YOUR TURN: What are your favorite uses for coconut oil?

Who Knew? A (Very Effective) Natural Food Poisoning Remedy

honey

It’s summer, and that means more fun, sun, and BBQs! We’ve all encountered that time where you’ve just finished a scrumptious meal, and all of a sudden, you don’t feel very well. Your stomach is rumbling, you’re starting to feel weak, and you know what’s coming next, and it won’t be pretty. We’ve all wished for a natural treatment for nausea and the unmentionable after-effect, but it seems like there’s never anything on hand that ultimately stops what’s happening in its tracks, unless we take a chance on the pink stuff. Who knows what’s even in it! Here’s a great recipe for nausea relief that you’ll almost always have on hand – especially if you love Italian food!

Our bodies are filled with many different strains of bacteria. As we grow, we are exposed to more and more kinds of bacteria, and either our immune system fights them, or we get sick. Getting sick is how we obtain antibodies and can more effectively fight off the bacteria the next time we are exposed to it. The first line of defense against bacteria is our skin. But how do we protect what we consume? That’s where our stomach comes in. Our healthy stomach contains many types of “good” bacteria, like L. Acidophilus, which we can supplement with yogurt and kefir to beef up our stomach’s immunities.

There are times though, when our stomach’s bacteria is outnumbered by the bad bacteria, such as E. Coli, Salmonella, and the most common, Campylobacter. All of these bacteria cause some not-so-nice symptoms, and can be treated with just two food products that you eat on a regular basis to reduce the symptoms, or completely fight the bad bacteria. It is used often in my house, and we often times treat ourselves, and then go on about our day like nothing happened.

So what are these two miracle foods?

Honey

Honey is amazing in all forms. The best kind of honey is raw, which you can pick up just about anywhere these days. It is highly antibacterial, and is the first punch of this knockout formula.

basil

Basil

Basil?! Yes, basil! It is one of the most powerful antibacterial foods out there for food poisoning (alongside garlic) that helps knock out those bad bacteria that make us feel awful. Here’s the recipe:

Honey-Basil Food Poisoning Treatment

All you need to do is juice a bunch of basil, which usually makes a couple tablespoons’ worth. Don’t underestimate the power of this awesome juice – a little goes a very long way! Then just add 1 tablespoon of raw honey, and sip until it’s gone. If you’re still having some bouts of nausea after 15 minutes, or it goes away and then returns, drink another round.

If you don’t have a juicer laying around, you can put torn up basil leaves in 3 tablespoons of yogurt, with a pinch of crushed black pepper, and eat three to four times for the remainder of your day.

Once you feel your stomach is settled enough, sip on some peppermint tea to soothe any stomach cramping you may still be experiencing.

Here’s to hoping you never have to use this secret recipe, but make sure to bookmark it in case you do!