Composing a New Diet

 Changing your diet is by no means a simple task. It is actually a process of transformation. One of the reasons that many of those that take this task on feel that they are not successful is simply that it is easily underestimated. Identifying, and eliminating toxic foods from the diet is the starting point. In order to maintain resistance to toxic foods, you have to compose a diet that will address nutritional needs, as well as desires for certain tastes, or foods.

Adressing desires, and cravings of the Appetite

As a part of a balanced diet, the taste for sweet things is natural. The best approach to address this part of the appetite is to give it equal attention. Anticipate that monster that inevitably will rise up, and demand cupcakes at unreasonable hours. Finding healthy alternatives can be satisfying, and stimulate the senses. Dried fruits, such as medjool dates, mission figs, raisins, and coconut are effective in satisfying sweet cravings, while delivering essential vitamins, and minerals. They make effective snacks, when paired with pecans, cashews, and, or walnuts. They are also useful for enhancing meals with naturally sweet flavor.

Balancing the  Diet

The concept of dessert has fostered many unhealthy eating patterns. It is better to include naturally sweet fruits, and vegetables by incorporating them in your meal, as part of the layers of the dish. The most important aspect to good food is balance. You can combine dried fruits to vegetables, in soups, stir fry with other vegetables, and fish, or in any variety of meal preparations. Try chopping medjool dates, add pecans, tomato, green onion, cucumber, grated ginger root, and romaine lettuce, buttercress, spinach, or swiss chard for a meal on the go. In these ways, composing your own diet can stir up creativity, stimulate the mind to reach further to satisfy the appetite, and wake up the palate with nuances of flavor, and vitamin power.

Tips on Selecting Foods at the Market

When selecting dried fruits at the market, be sure to check ingredient labels. Choose those that list simply the fruit itself, and no additional additives. This ensures that you have the most enjoyable experience in eating healthy. Select raw, unsalted nuts, when possible, and avoid those that contain added oil. Additives can weight your system down, instead of giving you the energy you need from food. Inspecting ingredient labels may seem tedious at first. Once you zero in on what your looking for in a product, breaking down labels becomes easier. 

Additional Ingredients for a Healthy Diet

Dried fruits are only one example of whole foods that satisfy the appetite for sweet foods. There is a whole host of fruits that can deliver on this. Tangerines, mandarins, Asian pears, bartlet pears, apples such as fuji, gala, and honeycrisp, oranges, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, watermelon, grapes, peaches, plums, and coconut are just a fraction of the healthy choices that are available. Beverages that contain higher natural sugar concentrations include, apple juice, (additive free), orange juice, (fresh squeezed), grape juice, (no additives), and pomegranate juice, (no additives). Due to their high sugar content, they should be consumed in moderation, supplemented with spring water to address thirst.

Hungry on the Road; Surviving in the Wilderness


You want to stick to a healthy diet, although you’re on the road, hungry, and don’t see more options than a gas station for miles. What do you do? GPS., and Wal-Mart have forever changed the concept of the road trip. The best solution is think ahead. Invest in a quality cooler, and buy groceries that will hold up before you hit the road. If you skip this, road warriors, do not fret. It is possible to survive in the wild mystery food-lands across America.

Some say that what does not kill you makes you stronger. Don’t throw your sense of caution out the window just yet. Here is your guide.

Hungry On the Road

Convenience stores, and gas station food are notoriously overpriced, and under represented. Maintain your scrutiny, and you will survive the inconvenience.


There are a few simple guidelines when purchasing food in the galaxy.

  1. Steer Clear:  Msg., and High Fructose Corn Syrup. 

Msg., or Monosodium Glutamate is a popular condiment used in fast-food, and particularly in Asian fast food in America, as well as a broad range of prepared foods commonly found on store shelves. Used as a flavor enhancer, and associated with an array of chemical reactions, resulting from it’s consumption. From migraines, indigestion, to mood swings,  the use of Msg. as a flavor enhancer, simply does not justify the results.

High fructose corn syrup, (H.F.C.S.), added too often to American food, and beverages, as a less expensive substitute to sugar, which has been historically more costly to import in the US., due largely to tariffs imposed by international, and domestic politics. This laboratory manufactured substance is not metabolized in the human body, and when accumulated in the system, attacks the linings to such major organs as the liver, and kidneys. The threshold for accumulation can vary from person to person, and is influenced by factors, such as the density of the organ’s linings, which may be pre-determined by heredity. Continued use of H.F.C.S. can lead to symptoms associated with such diagnosis of cancer, diabetes, and organ failure.

Salt is as lethal as sugar when it accumulates in the body. Both make the blood more acidic. Acid’s action is to eat away at whatever matter is in it’s path. If you find yourself face to face with the fast food industry, order with discretion.

Customize your Order

Order sandwiches plain, so that they might be cooked fresh. Request your burger, chicken, sandwich, fries, or anything cooked, without salt.  This further increases your chances that the food is fresh-cooked, and you can add salt using your own discretion. Many establishments think nothing of going overboard with the salt shaker. Avoiding the condiments means avoiding  further mystery. Bread, biscuits, batter, sauces, and seasonings often contain HFCS, regardless of whether they are white, wheat, artisan, or sourdough breads, or gourmet etc.

For foods that are deep-fried, such as fish, or chicken, ask for no batter. To this request, anticipate the shock, and uproar. Some foods, common at many fast food, particularly at chicken restaurants are already pre-battered before being cooked. Though if you catch the site of a cook with a pan of flour, make your request. Batter is worse than the fine print in a contract. Not only do you not know what’s in it, the retailer is not required to notify the public.

Know Something About What you are Eating

Ask if the fries are actually cut from real potatoes. If fries, or foods contain seasoning, ask for no seasoning, or for the seasoning on the side. This will at least give you the opportunity to look at what you are avoiding.

Additional Notes on Food

For pizza, request extra light sauce, thin crust, and minimal toppings. If there is sauce in the dish, common in Asian, and Mexican cuisine, request it on the side. Some hamburger restaurants make burgers that contain a higher ratio of additives to ground beef in hamburger patties. These burgers may resemble something like a slice of meat loaf, (mysterious meat). Meat bi-products, and an array of fillers make up a large portion of these additives.

  • Skip the biscuits.
  • Avoid sweetened coffee creamers, particularly flavored sweetened cream.
  •  Thinking about ordering from the breakfast menu, be careful. It is a little known fact that some fast food breakfast menus will make you drowsy.
  • Look carefully if your selecting a salad. Don’t buy salads that don’t look fresh.
  • Avoid snack cakes.


Skip the soda fountain. Skip the ice. Go for bottled water, or juice. For bottled water, choose a brand you recognize. At convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and gas stations, choose juices that don’t contain added sweeteners. Always select 100% fruit juice, when possible. Even V-8 is a better option than liquid gas candy. Those .99 cent can teas usually contain HFCS. Skip the dairy products, which can create much inconvenience, and turn a road trip into a nightmare. Natural products will give you more energy to handle driving conditions.

If you are on a gluten-free diet, have food allergies, or health issues, it is best to purchase whole foods at grocery stores, markets, and road side stands.

Nature, Our Connection to the Universe


Walk into a house, or building, shut the door, and the natural world is immediately shut out, as we are shut out from it. In the center of a big city, this is 200% true. Climate-controlled settings forge a greater distance between human understanding, and nature. They help create the illusion that the natural climate is unbearable, by resetting our body’s thermostat.  The result is that the mind, body, and spirit become disconnected from nature, and desensitized to environmental conditions, and concerns.

Nature, Recharging the Mind

From the seasonal changes, to the constellations, to the origins of foods. Harmony between the self, and the universe is essential to inner well-being. This harmony can stimulate the mind, and re-invigorate the vision of objectivity. Walking outside for 30 minutes to one hour, every day moves both the body, and the mind. Based on an average stride of 2.1-2.5 feet, 1 mile would require approximately over 2000 steps. This is actually easier done than said. Physical circulation strengthens the bones by increasing their inner web connections. Mentally, it allows you to reconnect with the universe, and let go of stagnant thoughts. The mind recharges by focusing attention on nature, and the expansive, constantly changing universe.

Overcoming Barriers to the Outdoors

Dressing appropriately for the weather factors into the desire, or resistance to step outside. In cold climates, simply making sure all body parts are warm, and insulated from freezing temperatures can increase the body-mind harmony that is a necessary factor to stepping out, and being outdoors. Wrapping feet up well, and something as simple as leg warmers can effectively reinforce warmth underneath outer garments in sub-zero weather. Dressing in layers helps the body to adjust to indoor, and outdoor temperature fluctuations.

In hot climates, keeping a cool head can keep the body from over-heating. This can be done simply by pouring cool water on the hair, and scalp throughout the day. Loose clothing allows air to circulate to the skin. Foot wear may influence your daily decisions in sub-conscious ways. Each foot bears the weight of the whole body with each step. If your shoes are not absorbing the shock, then they are reflecting it back to the rest of the body. This can significantly contribute to fatigue, and potentially cause injury. The human body is a well designed composition that demands care, and maintenance.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture  Economic Research Service, (USDA ERS), in 2010 fruits and vegetables accounted for merely .08% of the average American diet. In contrast, grains composed 23%, added fats and oils contributed to 22%, and caloric sweeteners accounted for 15%. If you compare this with the statistics recorded in 1970, grains, (primarily refined), fats and oils have accounted for an overall estimated 15% increase in calories to the American diet. That is an astounding ratio of low consumption of fruits and vegetables in the diet; to high consumption of sweets and refined grains.

Availability, and Breakdown of Produce Consumption

Of the 0.8% fruits and vegetable portion of the estimated average of American diet, USDA data reports that Americans age 2-30 obtain more than 50% availability of fruits and vegetables/ fruit juice consumptionof their fruit consumption from juice. Peruse the product labels of juices found at many retail stores, (grocery, convenience, and discount stores). What you will find is that the composition of many fruit juices consists of added sweeteners, colors, artificial flavorings, and other additives. However, fruit juice has a higher rate of availability than fresh produce.  This link cites the direct impact of market and product availability on population. These  statistics are not representative of American’s eating habits as much as American’s  eating habits are impacted by product availability, as cited by these statistics.

A further breakdown of American’s fruit and vegetable consumption suggests potatoes and tomatoes contribute to the highest vegetable consumption. In 2012, 52.3lbs. of potatoes, (1/2 fresh), per person on average was consumed. In the same year, each American on average polished off 31.1lbs. of tomatoes, (59% canned). French fries and pizza easily account for these findings.  With regards to fruit intake, 107.6lb per person of fresh and processed fruit.

Simple Health Strategies

increase availability,USDA, new federal dietary standard

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is the simple and effective health strategy. Availability is the key. Industries that have long been thriving on the poor health of the individual are bracing for change. Companies can no longer ignore the rise in health consciousness as people are becoming more engaged in the process of food selection and acknowledging a connection between  their food to their environment. Americans are able to communicate with others on a global level by sharing knowledge and experiences. A tool that instantly delivers information on any topic is owned and carried by more than 205,808,420 people in the United States according to Pew Research Center. Children today following a diet consistent with the new USDA guidelines recommending half of meals be composed of fruits and vegetables will establish a foundation for healthier eating habits of future generations and lead to increased market availability.

Bibliography:  Bentley, Jeanine. Food Availability and Consumption.  [05/19/2014.] “USDA Economic  Research Service”  [][8/23/2015.]; Smith, Aaron. Adoption and Usage. [07/11/11.] “Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Technology”  [] [8/23/2015.]; “United States Census Bureau;  U.S. and World Population Clock”   []  [8/23/2015.]; Image: “USDA” []


collard greens

Greens grow wild in various climates, conditions, and terrains all around the world. Valued as food, and medicine, in various cultures, and traditions, where plant tops are only one aspect of edible plants that offer healing properties through root, stalk, seeds, berries, and other plant features. Common greens cultivated in the US. include collard greens, turnips, rudabega, and mustard greens. Other edible varieties, such as dandelion, watercress, chard, and kale also offer unique nutritional values. Greens seem to catch more attention around the holidays, or in southern cuisine.

You can buy bunches of greens at grocery stores, farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and mobile vegetable trucks. They are available throughout the southern united states year-round, and enjoyed indiscriminately throughout the population. In northern climates, there is a shorter window for cultivation, with exception to hot-house growers.  They do not have nearly the status, and demand as in the southern region.

Where to buy Large Bunches

collard greens, and other varieties

The most tender greens are winter greens, grown in cold temperatures, above 30 degrees farenheit. Grocery stores market greens in varying ways. I have seen collards, mustards, and turnips in small bunches, comparable in size to bunches of cilantro, or parsley. This does not do justice to the shoppers visual sensibilities. All stores do not display small bunches, nor do they all display greens such as turnips, removed from roots. They are likely, however to stock prepackaged turnips, or collard greens, cleaned, and cut-up. Road-side stands, mobile retailers, and farmer’s markets are more likely to  sell larger bunches, with roots, due to direct connections to local farms, and retail environments where greens are kept fresher, longer.

Collard Greens are Living Foods

Skip the canned greens. The best way to buy greens is by the bunch. Of the four most popular varieties, collard greens remain fresh longer, followed by rudebega, then turnips. Mustards have the shortest shelf life. Collards contain higher concentrations of calcium, as noted by their stronger stalks, and denser leaves. Rudabega greens, also known as northern turnips, also have dense leaves. Their leaves, and shoots are characteristic of both collards, and turnips in appearance. When selecting bunches, briefly look at the center of the bunch, to check for any mold. This is not necessarily a frequent occurrence, though not uncommon. Always select bunches with green leaves.

The stalk will allow you to keep bunches fresh prior to using them. The stalk is the connection of the bunch to the root. Place a bunch of collard greens in an up-right position in a 5-gallon bucket of ice water, 1/5 full, and watch the leaves perk up, just as a flower in a vase of water. You can trim the base of the stalk at an angle, as you would the stem of a rose. This will allow for better hydration of the whole plant. On bunches with roots, you can also place them upright, root fibers will absorb the cold water, and deliver it to the leaf.

Cleaning Greens

WP_20151120_16_32_20_Pro (4)[1] collard greens
a simple back-yard garden with collard greens, and turnip greens, ready for autumn harvest
When fresh from the farm, greens will require a good rinse to remove any traces of dirt, or silt. This can be done easily outside, using a nozzle attachment and hose. Remove the rubber band from the bunch, and use cold water, with a medium force shower setting. You can place the bunch over a bucket, or lay it across a patio table. Wash the bunch from the tops, down. Collard greens are the easiest to clean. For greens with roots, you can use a scrub brush or your hand to rub away stubborn grit that accumulates in crevices, and on the surface of the root. For pre-cleaned greens, as many store-bought bunches are, you can make sure they are free of grit by filling a large bowl, or pan of water, soaking and draining the leaves as you go. Watch that grit settle to the bottom!

Cutting the Leaf

To prepare greens for easy eating, one of the best ways is to shred them. You can either remove the stems, or shred greens with the stem. To remove stems, lay one leaf on a cutting board, cut around the stem, then place the it to the side. You can cut, and cook stems, separately, or freeze them, for later use. Fold the leaf in half, then roll it. Slice across in strips, about 1/2 in. to an inch wide. Continue slicing from one end to the other. You can stack 4 leaves at a time. Line them up, de-stem, fold, roll, and shred. After you cut  across, you can go back, and cut them vertically, for bite-size greens.

Nutritious Flavor

The key to enjoying food is cooking for your self, and valuing each ingredient. Instead of thinking in terms of flavoring greens, aim to compliment them. What you add to your recipe should not smother, or overwhelm these natural flavors. Rudebega roots are not starchy, or heavy, as baking potatoes are. They contain the similar spicy, bitter, sweet flavor of the tops. If you enjoy turnip greens, rudebega tops are a sublime alternative. Mustards are generally grown, and marketed in two varieties, slick leaf, and curly leaf. The flavor is similar, though curly leaf mustards are even more delicate. Mustards lend a delightful, mildly horseradish like spice, and tanginess. Turnip, and rudebega greens add that bitter, sweet flavor, and their roots pack more flavor punch. Collard greens have a milder flavor. They are botanically closer to the cabbage plant, and can easily blend, and compliment other greens.

Cooking with Pot Liquor

The major benefit of boiling greens in water is that you can re-use that deliciously nutritious flavored water, or (pot liquor), to cook an easy accompaniment such as steel-cut oats, brown rice, barley, or noodles. If you can’t decide on which variety of greens to cook, try more than one. Add 2 sliced jalapeño peppers, and 3-4 small segments of garlic to a pot of greens. You can add *smoked fish after the greens are cooked, such as smoke chub, herring, or salmon. Or you can opt for an organic, tender cut of meat. You don’t have to trim the fat to make a healthy dish. As long as the fat does not steal the show.

*Please note, when selecting smoked meats or fish, naturally smoked methods are more harmonious to the human digestive system than chemical processes. Additives used in chemically processed smoked meats, such as nitrates, are also used in the manufacture of fireworks, and explosives. They can create an explosive response in the digestive system, and therefore, promote negative associations about eating greens.


fruit juice labels, various terminologiesNavigating the Store Beverage Section

Choosing from the beverages available at some stores is a challenge, especially at convenience, and stores other than grocery stores. If you are choosing a fruit juice, the likely aim is to A. Quench thirst, B. Hydrate the cells of the body, and C. Absorb essential vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and energy. To carry out all that is conceivably as much an accomplishment as scoring a touchdown on the foot-ball field. The big beverage industries are vying for your thirst by investing billions of dollars, marketing soda, and sports drinks. These drinks, are mass marketed with low prices, which are guaranteed by way of politics. How much money is invested in the marketing of fruit juice, and other non-alcoholic beverages? The answer lies in the selection of stock you see on the store shelves and beverage display areas. The best strategy to choosing healthy beverages is knowledge.WP_20151111_18_59_39_Pro (4)[1] fruit juice labels, terminologies

Successfully navigating the beverage aisle requires an inquisitive mind, and a basic understanding of certain terms. Most terms are broken down into one of six categories, sweeteners, neutraceuticals, colorants, preservatives, processing methods, and marketing terms.

  1. Sweeteners: High-fructose-corn-syrup, corn syrup, aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol, malitol, stevia, sugar, cane-sugar, and words used with the suffix, ose, (glucose, fructose, dextrose, sucrose)
  2. Neutraceuticals: Ascorbic- acid, citric-acid, retinol, vitamin a, b, c, d, e, calcium, folic-acid, niacin, pantothenic-acid, thiamine, vitamin b-6, vitamin-b-12, etc.
  3. Colors: natural and artificial colors, red, yellow, blue
  4. Preservatives & antioxidants: Benzoic acid, benzoate, fumaric acid, malic acid, pectin, sodium benzoate
  5. Methods of processing: Pasteurized, concentrated, clarified, pureed, fresh squeezed, reconstituted, fortified
  6. Marketing terms:  Fruit flavored, fruit juice blend, fruit drink, natural and artificial flavors, 100% natural, natural flavors, fruit essence, no sugar added, with added ingredients, etc.

Antioxidants prevent undesirable changes in color and flavor caused by oxygen or air. They include pectin, vegetable gums, modified starches, and sodium benzoate, (used in fruit juice to stop fermentation). These ingredients act as acids, alkalis, buffers, and neutralizing agents. Natural flavors, in beverages are a mix of flavors, sweeteners, acidifiers, colors, neutraceuticals, botanicals, preservatives, and other ingredients. Neutraceuticals are synthetic versions of vitamins, manufactured in the laboratory, and commonly added either to pasteurized beverages, or those that contain limited nutritional value.

Defining Fruit Juice Labels

The Juice label typically has 4 major components:

  • A. Product Name, Image, and Description: This is on the front of the label.
  • B.  Nutrition Facts: Usually found on the back of the label.
  • C.  Product Narrative, and Added Product Information: Typically, on the side, or back of the label, or container.
  • D. UPC Label, Bar-code, Manufacturer, Distributor, and Contact Information: Found on the side or back of the label.
  • A. Product Name, Image, and Description: This includes such information as the type of fruit, and whether the juice is from concentrate. If the label claims to contain 100%, or more of a vitamin, it will be in print on this part of the label, and is usually an indication that the product is pasteurized.
  • B. Nutrition Facts: The percentage of fruit juice contained in the product is above the words “Nutrition Facts” on this part of the label.
  • B. Nutrition Facts: Ingredients are generally printed at the bottom of the nutrition facts area of the label.

fruit juice label, placement of information; ingredients


B. Nutrition Facts: Sugars – High sugar content is not necessarily attributed to added RSCN7049 fruit juice labels, placement of information; sugarssweeteners. Grape juice has one of the highest natural fruit sugar concentrations, followed by apple juice. These are frequently used to sweeten juice, and juice products.

  • D. UPC, Bar-code, Manufacturer, Distributor, and Contact Information: If the product is pasteurized, the word pasteurized is visible beside the bar-code.RSCN7056 fruit juice labels- placement of information, terminologies



What to Avoid

Some grocery stores, and specialty foods stores carry a variety of natural, 100% fruit juice that is free of additives. The product’s ingredients label will list only fruit juice, fruit and water, or fruit juice, and water. If, based on the store’s level of quality selection, you have to compromise, it is necessary to assess the ingredients in order of toxicity. Arguably, the most harmful additives are the sweeteners used in today’s beverage industry. Far from mimicking the chemistry of natural cane sugar, the sweeteners used today metabolize in such a way as to ultimately cause destruction to the human body. Consumed regularly, they contribute to a number of diseases, including organ failure, and cancer.

Color agents, red, blue, and yellow dyes, are allergens that contribute to Attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, (ADHD), and Attention deficit disorder, (ADD), in children. Neutraceuticals, synthetic, (laboratory manufactured), vitamins, are not an exact replica of the vitamins contained in whole foods. For instance, the composition of the natural vitamin C-complex contained in raw fruits and vegetables includes vitamins J, K, and P, as well as enzymes, such as Terrosenase. Neutaceuticals are not the complete package. They are often added to beverages that are either pasteurized, or lacking nutritional value. In the case of pasteurization, the heat that is used in the process, significantly diminishes, or destroys the  natural vitamins, such as vitamin-C, that is contained in the whole raw fruit.

Pasteurization was developed as a solution to various forms of illness resulting from bacteria ingested in foods, and beverages. During pasteurization, not all of the fruit’s enzymes are destroyed. The irony in adding neutraceuticals to a product is that laboratory manufactured vitamins create further destruction by causing the body to mal-absorb the natural vitamins, and minerals contained in the juice, and other whole foods. They do this by blocking the body’s natural response. Similarly, added sweeteners block the body’s natural response to naturally sweet whole foods. This easily contributes to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as toxic eating habits.

No More Than Three

  1. It is not necessary for fruit juice to contain added sweeteners.
  2. Avoid color additives
  3. If a product claims to contain 100%, or more of any vitamin, it is almost always pasteurized, and “fortified” with a synthetic form of that vitamin.
  4. You will receive the most important information from  your body’s natural response. The human body is capable of giving instant feedback to diet.





Trees  coexist in all stages of their evolution, everywhere on this planet. They filter the air, water, and soil in the ecosystem. In addition to commercial and industrial uses, trees provide shade, cool the atmosphere, are a source of food, medicine, heat, and folklore. They enhance the environment, and provide a refuge for the inner spirit, and therapy to the physical senses. Who can deny the enchanting serenity generated by the glowing embers of a crackling wood fire? With their expressive displays of winding limbs, cascading through atmospheric heights, trees have long been a source of artistic inspiration.

The Versatile Nature of Trees

Trees are utilized in a broad range of industries, and products. From construction, furniture, carpentry, paper, paper products, and textiles, to chopsticks, automotive products, and food and beverage additives. In the real-estate industry, it is widely known that trees can increase property values by up to 27%.

There are over 23,000 different varieties of trees. Versatility is one of their best features. The Black walnut tree, for example, is a deciduous hardwood, prized in the furniture, industry, valued aesthetically, and for its solid structure and durability. The Black walnut tree provides a nutritionally valued food, medicine, (varied applications), natural dye, (used in tanning),  and an insecticide, It can grow to more than 100 feet in height, and 4 feet in diameter.

trees- view from ground of the height of tall tree, summer-time

What to Consider Before Choosing Tree Species

The tallest tree officially recorded is a Coast Redwood, (Sequoia), in California, measuring 115.72 meters, or 379 feet. The Montezuma Cyprus, found in Mexico is the widest tree on record, at 36.2 meters, (118 feet). Important information to consider when beginning tree cultivation includes, the tree’s projected dimensions at maturity, the depth, and spread of roots, and soil, sun, and water requirements. Weather your interest is in enhancing your environment, living sustainably, or developing a source of income, there are a variety of options available to obtain, and cultivate trees, and tree seedlings. The following methods can accommodate any budget:

  • Nurseries, as well as Garden Centers at Large Retail Outlets: If you are intent on purchasing 1-10 trees, or developing a collection of plants, and trees, nurseries and garden centers carry a variety. They generally stock an evolving selection of trees and plants that are most suitable to their specific geographic climate, and season. In the spring, march through may, retailers will begin expanding their stock to accommodate the seasonal shift. Their prices vary, and you can find trees, significantly marked down toward the end of the season, (mid-July through August). Nurseries can usually provide more extensive information on plants than garden centers, for the simple fact that plants are their primary retail item.
  • Florist Found in Grocery Stores: The florist department can easily be overlooked, along with the music played over the speaker system at grocery chain stores. However, you may find a unique, and interesting variety of plants, and trees throughout the year, and increasingly so from spring to fall.
  • Your State Forestry Service: It’s a little known fact that you can buy native tree seedlings, (one year old), in bulk, at little cost, through your state’s department of forestry. It is in the interest of the environment, and habitat to provide this service to the public. Each state has its own guidelines, rules, and native selection of trees. If you’re interest is in a certain species, in some instances, you can order from out-of-state.
  • Orders are generally handled on a first come, first served basis, and residents of that state will take priority. To find the website, enter the following into the web browser search box: The abbreviation for your state, .forest They can additionally provide you with planting instructions.
  • Tree Cuttings: Depending on the species, there are different methods for easy propagation of trees. Tree cuttings will have to develop root fibers for successful planting, and growth. Air-layering is one method of tree propagation.
  • Seeds: If you are planting from the stage of the seed, using seed starters, indoors can help to ensure successful development.
  • Local, state parks: Parks can provide you with an instant refuge from stress, and enhance your appreciation for the natural wonders around you. They can also provide an inexhaustive reference point for your curiosity, including plant, and ecological research. You can find a park in your state at, [],
  • Or, search for the nearest campground at, []

You are not on your own with regards to acquiring the necessary information for growing, and cultivating trees, and plants. In my experience, I find those that are involved in horticulture eager to share valuable knowledge on this topic. From an environmental, or ecological stand-point, the public’s awareness, and interest is beneficial, and it is also personally uplifting to observe, and reap the many rewards of the plant world.

Bibliography:  Tree facts. “nc state university college of agriculture & life sciences department of horticultural science” [] [11/07/2015.]; the tallest, and oldest trees worldwide. “Monumental Trees” [] [11/07/2015.]


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Fresh Fish Market. Wikimedia

The fresh fish market is a thrilling stimulation to the senses. The sights, and smells of fresh, and smoked fish, combined with the anticipation of the savory meal can peak the interest of anyone that can appreciate the varied flavors of fish.  Moreover the experience can be doubly valued for those that know the pleasures of fishing.  Each fish variety has a unique flavor, texture, and exclusive methods of cooking and preparation that can optimize those unique qualities. Weather you are shopping for salmon, trout, catfish, tilapia, or bream, the process of selection is crucial to your enjoyment.

Selection of Fresh Fish

Most fish have the same, or similar anatomical features. If you are selecting whole fish with the head, take note of the eyes and gills.  The eyes of freshly caught fish will be clear, bright, and the pupils will appear black. You may notice a bright red lining on the perimeter of the outer edge of the eyeball, and translucent silver within the eye. When you lift the gill cover, fresh fish will reveal bright red gills. Within two days, the gills may begin to transition to a crimson red, then progress to brown, then green. Basically this color change will follow the pattern of blood as it dries. For best results, avoid fish that has green tones within the gills.

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Fish Anatomy. Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

The Body of a Fresh Fish

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Stork with fish in mouth. Wikimedia.

When looking at the body of fresh fish, the scales or skin of the fish should appear uniform, bright, and shiny. Fish manufacture slime as one of their defense mechanisms against other predators. Therefore, when fish emerge from their waters, they tend to be slimy. Properly cleaning fish will minimize this factor. Translucent scales are an indicator of freshness. This trait may vary, based on the fish variety, though scales tend to become opaque with the progression of time. For fish in the catfish family, or fish with smooth skin, markings on the body are generally not as visible when freshly caught. The fins and tail on fish should appear whole, and unbroken. Usually when fresh, the body will be pliable, not stiff.

Flesh of fish

The flesh of white fish, when fresh, has a translucent sheen. Fish, such as cod, haddock, or halibut may have a slight whitish, yellow tone. White fish may also appear pink, due to exposed fresh blood content. The texture of the flesh should be firm, and bounce back when you press it, not sink down as if it were mashed.  Fish, such as salmon will have a bright, coral, shiny tone. If you are looking at whole, fish, look for traces of fresh, bright red blood as indicators of freshness. If you are looking at filleted fish, the skin should usually be soft and vibrant, not hard or dried. Fresh fish, weather whole, filleted, or cut however so, should not give off a “fishy” smell.


RSCN6564/  basted turkey wing

A Simple Turkey Baste

Easy Turkey baste
Recipe type: turkey or poultry baste
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-20 servings
This recipe can be adjusted to the quantity of turkey you are cooking.
  • Per 2lb. turkey= (2 turkey legs) / Per 20lbs.= (whole turkey)
  • Mandarin: ½ / per 20lbs.= Mandarins: 5
  • Garlic: 2 segments / per 20lbs.= Garlic: 2-3 cloves
  • Jalapeno peppers: ½ / per 20lbs.= Jalapeno peppers: 5
  • Granny Smith apple: ½ / per 20lbs.= Granny Smith apple: 5
  • Olive oil: 2.5fl.oz. / per 20lbs.= Olive oil: 10fl.oz.
  • Apple cider vinegar: 5fl.oz. / per 20lbs.= A.C.V.= 20fl.oz.
  • Long grain brown rice: ½lb per lb. of turkey
  • **Note** Omit mandarin oranges in case of acid sensitivity
  1. Pour apple cider vinegar and oil in a mason jar or measuring cup.
  2. Wash mandarin in cold water, then pat dry.
  3. Cut the mandarin in half, squeeze the juice from one half into jar.
  4. Remove the fruit from one half.
  5. Lay the peel down with the inside of hull facing the cutting board.
  6. To remove the zest, angle a knife at a slant, and lightly scrape the surface of the peel. Scrape the knife in one direction. Use ¼ of the mandarin for zest.
  7. Gather the scrapings and add to mixture.
  8. Next remove 2 segments from a clove of garlic and clean, (remove the paper thin layer).
  9. To mince, first score the garlic by making cuts vertically in a chopping motion, cut horizontally, then mince or chop.
  10. Repeat with the second segment and pour the minced garlic into the jar.
  11. Quarter one jalapeno pepper lengthwise.
  12. Then score and mince one half of the pepper and add to mixture.
  13. Do the same with one Granny Smith apple.
  14. Place turkey in aluminum foil.
  15. For large, whole turkey, place in a deep cooking pan.
  16. Brush or pour mixture over entire turkey.
  17. Pour the remaining contents into foil or pan.
  18. Seal the foil by bringing up the edges.
  19. For large whole turkey, wrap aluminum foil from upper edge of pan over the top and fold down closed.
  20. Bake in pre-heated oven 30-45 minutes.

RSCN6573 turkey baste, raw mixture of ingredientsThe Most Essential Part of a Turkey Recipe is the Turkey

If you have  not had the experience of trying different brands, I recommend an organic variety. This is simply due to the fact that however you embellish it, you will not disguise the texture and level of freshness of the turkey. For optimal freshness, look at the date on the package and take notice of the color when possible.

This recipe is an easy, light combination of ingredients that will lift your spirits and is interchangeable with other poultry, such as goose or duck. You can adjust the consistency of each ingredient to your taste. In addition, it is always helpful to taste-test as you go.

Turkey Baste Ingredients

  • Mandarins These little babies, beloved by kids for their

    FSCN6574 turkey baste recipe, mandarins
    3lb. bag of mandarin oranges, (cuties)
    mandarin oranges, halved

    compact size, are a seedless, low acidity variety of citrus fruit. Each mandarin is packed with a sweet, juicy punch. Nutritionally, they are rich in vitamin A, and Potassium which makes them a suitable choice for snacking. One 3lb. bag, (pictured), contains about 10-12 mandarins.

  • Garlic is an antibacterial powerhouse. An excellent condiment for combatting the flu-season.
  • Jalapeno peppers add heat and flavor to a recipe and are a good source of vitamin C.turkey recipe, raw ingredients: mandarin, garlic, jalapeno peppers
  • Granny Smith apples are an appropriate apple variety for cooking and baking alike. They contain a moderate level of sweetness, which becomes more concentrated when cooked, though doesn’t become to heavy or syrupy. Adding this type of apple is an easy way to include a balanced sweetness to a recipe.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is preferable to white vinegar for its natural enzymes, minerals, and it’s effect on neutralizing stomach acids.  Utilized in this recipe to distribute the other ingredients.
  • Olive oil has a nice mellow flavor cooks food slowly. Coconut oil can be substituted for olive oil if preferred.
  • Long grain brown rice is a tasty, filling, and nutritious accompaniment to this recipe.DSCN6515DSCN6524DSCN6526DSCN6529DSCN6532DSCN6530DSCN6540 turkey baste recipe, granny-smith applesRSCN6572RSCN6569DSCN6544/ turkey prior to bakingRSCN6564/ basted turkryRSCN6562 turkey baste recipe, brown rice




Picking Fruits For Best Results(17) (2)[1] FRUITS/ apples

Weather you are selecting fruits individually, or by the case, always inspect them, and make sure they appear fresh. Fresh fruits are firm and generally free from bruising and scars. If you have any questions, address them as you shop. Be mindful of any information regarding the origin of fruits. After a bulk purchase, make it a priority to go through the case. Check for any smashed, damaged, or rotten fruit at the bottom of the case, and discard it appropriately

Knowing how to select fruits at the peak of freshness is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. The determining factor is your intended use. Generally, as fruits ripen, their sugars become more concentrated, additionally cooking fruits elevates their sweetness. For baking, produce doesn’t necessarily have to be freshly picked. If you are using a cold-press juicer, however, ultimate freshness is recommended. For cooking, such as frying or stir-frying, it may depend on the type of fruit.

Popular Fruits

Apples – There is an extensive variety to choose from when it comes to the types of apples. For the most part, I have found that the more green the skin of the apple, the lower levels of sugars are present. Granny Smith, and Macintosh apples are a great option for baking and frying, which increases sugar content of fruits. Starting with green apples will maintain a light quality, preventing a syrup-like heaviness. Fuji, Honey-crisp, Gala, and Red delicious apples are good options for juicing, blending, or making smoothies. In these applications, they lend their natural fruit sugars. When shopping, always look for firm apples free of bruises.

cantaloupe/fruits selection
When picking cantaloupe, make sure the area of the stem is firm.

Cantaloupe – When shopping for cantaloupe, the degree of  green you see on the surface, and in the area of the stem will determine if it’s ready to eat. If you want a cantaloupe you can eat immediately, look for more of a yellow or golden tint on the surface. As with most fruits, steer clear of bruising. Cantaloupe should generally have a round, smooth surface, and the area of the stem should be firm. If you buy cantaloupe when green, placing it in a paper bag at room temperature, or facing sunlight will accelerate the ripening process. The greenest cantaloupes will likely have a storage life of around seven days.

Grapes – Based on location, climate, and terrain, there is a broad range of grape varieties. From thin, to dense skinned grapes, and dusky blue, to champagne color tones. Seedless, or seeded, grapes generally grow on vines. When selecting, look for grape bunches that are dry and free of mold in, and around vine clusters.

RSCN6779/ fruit/ banana
organic bananas have an enhanced taste and fragrance

Bananas – For immediate consumption, look for bananas that are yellow. If you intend to eat them within a week, (their estimated storage life), select bananas that are green.There are several brands to choose from, as well as organic. Organic bananas tend to have a more enhanced color, flavor and fragrance.

Mangoes – Rich colors can tell you the level of a mango’s sweetness. Red and orange tones in mango indicate sweetness. Hard, firm mangos are good for frying, or pickling. For snacking, usually mangos are good when eaten somewhere between firm and soft. Once soft, they can develop a repelling gassy taste or smell.  *Note: This is in reference to the most popular variety found at many grocery stores throughout the U.S.

Citrus Fruits – Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, mandarins, lemons, limes. Citrus fruits can sometimes be deceptive. Before committing to a large purchase, buy a small quantity to taste. Surface markings, particularly on oranges and grapefruits are not uncommon. Mandarins, and tangerines are typically less acidic than oranges, and grapefruits.

fruits pineapple
note the developing gold tones of a pineapple, as it ripens

Pineapple – For a longer storage life, select pineapple with a greener body.  Golden to dark brown indicates the level of ripeness. If you want a pineapple that you can eat right away, golden tones are a good indicator of a sweet pineapple.  

fruits pineapple
fully ripened, sweet pineapple


Remember to remove fruits from plastic bags when storing in quantities of over 5 lbs. and enjoy!


Are you discouraged by the thought of picking a watermelon? Read this article, and instantly boost your accuracy rate: How to Pick WatermelonC__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_Ad_20Versatility_20th



dreadlocks bob marley performing on stage
Wikimedia/Bob Marley

What You Should Know About Dreadlocks

  • Dreadlocks are a natural, universal style.
  • Washing and maintaining clean dreadlocks is easy.
  • To achieve dreadlocks, you need nothing more than enough hair to work with, personal desire, and persistence.
  • If you have enough hair to gather, and twist into sections, you can dread your hair.
  • You can wear dreadlocks in many different ways

Hair Texture

Your hair is manufactured by your skin cells. What determines the texture of your hair determines the texture of your skin. Melanin is a natural pigment, found in most organisms, produced by the process of polymerization and the oxidation of the amino acid Tyrosine, 1 of 22 amino acids used by body cells to synthesize proteins. The pigment is produced in a group of cells known as melanocytes. Inside melanocytes are tiny granules of melanin pigment contained in vesicles called melanosomes that move into the skin cells.  In the rare condition known as albinism, there is a complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin due to a lack of Melanin production stemming from the absence of the amino acid Tyrosine.

The results of ancestral geographical origins are inherited. Generations of ancestors exposed to the sun produce higher concentrations of melanin in their skin cells and pass this on through their lineage. People generally have varying degrees of melanin or natural pigment in their skin. More melanin will produce darker skin tones and denser layers of skin. Less melanin will produce lighter skin tones and thinner layers of skin. Hair texture will naturally be aligned with the skin’s texture.

Dreadlocks BasicsC__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_lemons_188563(1)

Your hair, when left to it’s natural  recourse is likely to dread itself. The first step in helping your hair is to lay the brush and comb down. Your dreads will develop by persistently twisting sections of your hair. You can tease the hair as you twist it, or you can twist, then separate the hair and twist again. Persistence is the key. For thinner hair you can massage the juice of a lemon into hair and scalp, let it dry then twist on. The term Cultural Appropriation has been tossed about as of late. This maybe stemming from the Hollywood, glam media. Imagine their utter horror at the notion of a new generation of youth burning combs and brushes. A dreadful nightmare for the television and cosmetic industries, at the least.

Starting your Dreadlocks

When starting dreadlocks, you want the hair to strike a balance. Hair that is too oily will be harder to lock. Hair that is too dry will break off.  Sebum, the oily substance produced by the Sebaceous glands decreases with higher levels of vitamin A in the blood. Massaging the scalp thoroughly and eating foods containing vitamin A will help to neutralize oily hair. For dry hair, consuming foods containing omega-3, (polyunsaturated fatty acids) and applying them externally can strengthen and hydrate your hair. Alpha linolenic acids, or (ALA) are the omega-3 fatty acids found in plant oils. Dreading your hair when it is completely dry will cause less damage to the hair.

Washing and Maintenance of Dreadlocks

For best results, stick with 98%-100% natural hair products. Coconut or olive oil can add strength and moisture to dry hair. Lemon juice neutralizes the ph-level of oily hair. Massaging the scalp will evenly distribute oil produced from the Sebaceous glands. Celebrate your uniqueness. when you dread your own hair, your own personal style and texture will emerge as it develops with time, embrace it.

dreadlocks/ coconut
free images

I have listened to hairdressers compare Sodium Laurel Sulfate to floor wax. You may find that it is a main ingredient in many common, and name-brand hair-care products. Any wax, when applied forms a stubborn coating on hair. It’s buildup can make your hair heavy, pulling on your scalp. When you wash your dreadlocks, you want to remove dirt and buildup. Use a natural soap with a base such as vegetable glycerin and a carrier like coconut oil or olive oil. Before you buy products with obscure ingredients, Google the ingredients listed. The hair-care section of a store does not always carry the products most appropriate for the care and maintenance of your dreadlocks.

Aloe vera

What you consume or put in your body will reflect in your dreadlocks. Smoking and alcohol consumption can deplete your system of vitamin C which hydrates all the cells of the body. Eating the foods that nourish your body within, and applying natural plant oils or derivatives to hair will strengthen your dreadlocks and protect it from breakage.

There is a certain pride that comes with wearing dreadlocks. This sense of pride is derived from the cultivation of one’s own resources. Dreading your hair is the process of developing the art wherein you are the medium.

Vitamin A in foods:  fruits and vegetables-apricots, bell peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, limes, mangoes, melons, oranges, peaches, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, tangerines, watermelon meat, fish, animal byproducts– stored in the liver of animals, also found in crab, cod, halibut, flesh of swordfish and whitefish

Vitamin C in foods:  fruits and vegetables– bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits, green cabbage, guava, pineapple, green leafy vegetables, green tea, melons, (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), plums, radish, squash, strawberries, tomatoes

Omega-3, (polyunsaturated fatty acids) In Foods: chia seeds, flax-seeds (ground), pecans, sesame seeds, walnuts, winter squash, fish; Plant oil: extra-virgin olive oil, flaxseed or linseed oil (cold pressed), walnut oil


Bibliography: Melanin. [Last updated 09/17/2015.] “Wikipedia” [] [09/29/2015.]; Mandal, Dr. Ananya, MD. What is Melanin? [Last updated 09/08/2014.] “News Medical Life Sciences & Medicine” [] [09/29/2015.]; Sebaceous gland. [last modified 09/23/2015.]; “Wikipedia” [] [09/29/2015.]

DEVELOPING HEALTHY EATING STRATEGIES; How to eat for nutritional value