Monthly Archives: January 2007

Owning Your Emotions

Our feelings can sometimes present a very challenging aspect of our lives. We experience intense emotions without understanding precisely why and consequently find it difficult to identify the solutions that will soothe our distressed minds and hearts. Yet it is only when we are capable of naming our feelings that we can tame them by finding an appropriate resolution. We retake control of our personal power by becoming courageous enough to articulate, out loud and concisely, the essence of our emotions. Our assuming ownership of the challenges before us in this way empowers us to shift from one emotional state to another-we can let go of pain and upset because we have defined it, examined the effect it had on our lives, and then exerted our authority over it by making it our own. By naming our feelings, we claim the right to divest ourselves of them at will.

As you prepare to acknowledge your feelings aloud, gently remind yourself that being specific is an important part of exercising control. Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you. If you are afraid of a situation or intimidated by an individual, try not to mince words while giving voice to your anxiety. The precision with which you express yourself is indicative of your overall willingness to stare your feelings in the face without flinching. Naming and claiming cannot always work in the vacuum of the soul. There may be times in which you will find the release you desire only by admitting your feelings before others. When this is the case, your ability to outline your feelings explicitly can help you ask for the support, aid, or guidance you need without becoming mired in the feelings that led you to make such an admission in the first place.

When you have moved past the apprehension associated with expressing your distressing feelings out loud, you may be surprised to discover that you feel liberated and lightened. This is because the act of making a clear connection between your circumstances and your feelings unravels the mystery that previously kept you from being in complete control of your emotional state. To give voice to your feelings, you must necessarily let them go. In the process, you naturally relax and rediscover your emotional equilibrium.

Source:Daily Om

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Vanilla

Botanical Name:Vanulla planifolia

Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Vanilloideae
Tribe: Vanilleae
Subtribe: Vanillinae
Genus: Vanilla

Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Habitat :Central America, West Indies, Northern South America
Mostly Cultivated In:Madagascar, Comoros Islands, Reunion, French Polynesia, Tahiti, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Uganda, Guatemala, Mexico.
Description:
For many people in countries where quality ice cream is readily available, vanilla is the most popular of the non-pungent spices. It has been regarded as one of the most expensive spices along with saffron, cardamon and green peppercorns. The cost of vanilla reflects its historic importance as a flavor used in the royal drinks of the Mayans and Aztecs that were based on chocolate. The Aztecs called vanilla tlilxochitl, and they used it with chile peppers to flavor their drink.

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Vanilla is found in the seeds of the orchid vine, Vanilla planifolia (V. fragrans), which is native to Mexico. The Spaniards likened the bean pods to a little sheath or vaina, which is derived from the similar Latin word, vagina! Obtaining the flavor can be a several month long process, resulting from slowly fermenting the beans, which contain many small seeds; the ground-up bean is then used in similar fashion to coffee. People who enjoy the strong vanilla taste want to use freshly cured bean, while others accept the commercial extract. True vanilla in ice cream contains tiny dark flecks resulting from the presence of the seeds. However, the vanilla flavor, which is mainly due to vanillin, can be readily chemically synthesized from eugenol or guaiacol, or from lignin derived from tar, wood, or tonka beans. This product lacks the quality of the natural vanilla flavor that develops during the curing of the best beans when glucosides are converted to vanillic aldehyde, which is vanillin, since other aromatic chemicals are also produced.

Vanilla trees are grown in Mexico, Central America (Guatemala and especially Costa Rica), and in some Caribbean islands (especially Jamaica). However, it is difficult to grow since it is only pollinated by native bees and hummingbirds. It requires artificial fertilization outside its natural habitat, but it can be cultivated through the use of cuttings. Following its introduction to the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, a method of hand pollination was introduced in 1841. Reunion is still an important site of vanilla production; the variety is called Bourbon vanilla, after the former name of the island. Madagascar is now the major producer of Bourbon vanilla.

When vanilla became popular in 17th century Europe, it was used for many indications, varying from stomach ulcers to sedation. As was the case with many spices, it was extolled as an aphrodisiac. Today, it may fulfill its latter function when used in high quality baked goods, confectionary and desserts, although most users regard it more prosaically as a delicious flavor that may help digestion. Vanilla is used to flavor tobacco and as a fragrance in the cosmetic industry. It is of interest that sensitive workers in the vanilla industry may develop vanillism, resulting in headaches and skin rashes.

Artificial vanilla (containing vanillin and ethylvanillin) is acceptable to most tastes, and therefore the export of true vanilla may continue to decline, since the culture and manufacture of the quality product is expensive and relatively non-competitive. Moreover, its value as an exotic medicine is no longer accepted. Thus the role of the vanilla bean has declined in significance, with over 95% of the world’s supply of vanilla flavor being synthetic.
Useful Parts:
The cured, dried fruits of the plant impart the flavor.
Medicinal Properties:
Vanillin is in the class of vanilloids, that includes – surprisingly – capsaicin (8-methy-N-vanillyl noneamide) from chile pepper and eugenol from cloves, cinnamon and other spices, and zingerone from ginger. The vanilloid receptors of the central and peripheral nervous systems bind with these compounds, resulting in different sensory effects. Thus, capsaicin can cause a burning sensation while eugenol results in mild anesthesia; vanillin itself is neutral.

Historical View :
“Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant, with a tendency towards the nervous system. It has also been regarded as an aphrodisiac. It has been employed as a remedy in hysteria, low fevers, impotency, etc. But its use as a medicine is obsolete in this country, although still sometimes employed on the Continent and elsewhere.”

You may click to see :Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia Andrews)

Source:Medicinal Spices

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_(genus)

Eating Close To The Earth

You Must Know Your Food

The food we eat is a multidimensional aspect of our lives. Food provides us with the energy that enables us to grow and prosper. Yet it can be, and frequently is, much, much more. Our food can be an experience in and of itself if we allow it to be. The dishes we remember from childhood offer unmatched comfort. The act of preparing meals can be an art form of the highest caliber. And the nourishment we derive from this fare promotes wellness within us. But many of us, distracted by daily affairs, forget that the profound pleasures of eating go beyond simple sustenance. We eat foods that are convenient or we eat unconsciously, snacking on whatever happens to be on hand. To understand the true value of food and the impact it can have on our lives, we should acknowledge and honor it by eating close to the earth.

If you have ever shelled and eaten garden-grown peas or bitten into a sun-warmed apple freshly plucked from its tree, you likely understand that there is a marked difference between these foods and those that are processed and stacked on supermarket shelves. Food recently picked contains more of its original life force and thus has a greater store of energy and nutrients. You can ensure you are eating close to the earth-and enjoying the many benefits of doing so-by shopping at a local farmers market and getting to know the individuals who grow your food. If you make the experience of shopping in this way enjoyable, you will be more apt to reject more convenient canned, packaged, and frozen foods in favor of the real delight you feel while browsing stalls of fresh foods nourished by the same soil you can find in your own backyard. You will soon learn what foods are in season in your area and how to prepare them.

As you savor the vivid flavors of juicy ripe fruits and the hearty crunch of unprocessed vegetables, you can also take pleasure in the fact that, by eating close to the earth, you are supporting farmers in your region, connecting with your local ecosystem, discouraging those who would waste precious fossil fuels by carting produce cross-country, and helping to preserve healthy culinary traditions that have existed for centuries.

Source:Daily Om

Researchers find key to treating insomnia

: Researchers studying a disease that causes people to suddenly drop off to sleep are trying to turn what they have learnt into a new way to help insomniacs get some shut-eye…...click & see

They found that blocking brain receptors for orexin, a blood peptide, promoted sleep in rats, dogs and people, according to a paper in Sunday’s online issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

Orexin, also known as hypocretin, is important in maintaining wakefulness. It is absent in the brains of people who suffer from narcolepsy, a chronic disorder in which people cannot regulate sleep-wake cycles normally.

It is estimated to affect more than 135,000 people in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The research team, led by Francois Jenck of the Swiss drug company Actelion Pharmaceuticals, reasoned that they might be able to induce sleep if they could block orexin.

They developed a drug that can block the receptors in the brain that respond to orexin-hypocretin. The researchers reported successful testing in rodents, dogs and men.

The first tests were proof of the concept and the drug is now being evaluated to establish the correct dosage, said Roland Haefeli, an Actelion spokesman.

Researchers hope to decide this year whether to conduct a phase-three study, a detailed assessment of the drug that would be the final step before seeking US government approval for its use. Such studies can take a few years.

Narcolepsy victims often also experience cataplexy, a condition in which they lose control of muscle tone for a few seconds to minutes. Jenck said in a telephone interview that the drug tests did not prompt indications of cataplexy.

Thomas Scammell, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard University, said the work was “promising, with a certain amount of caution”.

“I think it may be the beginning of something quite exciting,” said Scammell, who was not part of the research team.

Source:The Times Of India

TIPS FOR RAISING HEALTHY GIRLS

Adolescence is a time of change and upheaval. This can be a challenging time as you watch your daughter grow independent, make decisions and develop into a young adult. Some risks that are unique to teen girls, such as decreased self-confidence, depression and early puberty, can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Even during this difficult time, parents are the most important influence in their child’s life. You can help your daughter navigate this exciting, but stressful time. Below are tips on how to raise healthy, drug-free daughters.

click & see

MAXIMIZE time together to build a strong bond with your daughter.
Spend time just listening to your daughter’s thoughts and feelings, fears and concerns. Teens who spend time, talk and have a close relationship with their parents are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex.

Really listen to what your daughter is saying. Make the time to ask your daughter about her school, friends and activities and interests.
Talk to your daughter about tough issues, such as the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Make special time each week to talk and enjoy each other’s company.

MODEL coping skills to manage stress and pressure.
Adolescence can be a stressful process for teens. You can be a more supportive parent by understanding where the stress is coming from and model positive, healthy behavior and coping skills.

Set positive examples on how to cope with stress, such as setting realistic goals, learning to prioritize, getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity.
Teach your daughter skills to handle negative peer pressure, such as how to say no.

MOTIVATE your daughter’s self-confidence by recognizing her strengths, skills, and interests.
Research shows that many girls experience a sharp decline in their self-esteem and self-confidence during early adolescence. Parents can help their daughter develop a healthy sense of worth.

Provide meaningful roles for your daughter in the family. Treat your daughter as a unique individual, distinct from siblings or stereotypes.
Encourage your daughter to develop an identity based on her talents and interests; downplay appearance and weight, and tell her a beautiful body is a healthy and strong one.
Promote healthy activities, such as exercising or doing community service. Teenagers enjoy giving to others, but they need your support.

MONITOR your daughter’s activities and behaviors with love and limits.
Show your unconditional love, but don’t be afraid of setting rules. Parental disapproval of drug use plays a strong role in keeping teens drug-free. Parental monitoring has been shown to be effective in reducing risky behaviors among teens.

Praise your daughter as often as possible. Show love, warmth and interest in your teen, but set clear “no-drug” rules, limit time spent watching TV and using the Internet.
Always know where your daughter is, whom she is with and what she is doing. Know her friends and the parents of those friends. Have regular check-in times.
Attend your daughter’s school events and recreational activities. It will make your teen feel loved, help her maintain good grades and increase her enjoyment of school.

Source:The New York Times