Repelling Mosquitoes with Food

bug sprayLike me, many of you are probably mosquito magnets. Since I despise wearing nasty, sticky bug spray, I figured there had to be some non-sticky options. Interestingly enough, several foods, plants, and herbs are natural mosquito repellents, making that icky bug spray something of the past.

Examples include lavender, rosemary, citronella grass, basil, lemon thyme, lemon balm, lemongrass, cat nip, and pennyroyal. The scents and oils in them act as a repellent to mosquitoes.

Crush the leaves of some of these herbs and plants to bring out their natural oils and fragrances. Then rub them on your body where you tend to get bitten, and those pesky mosquitoes will go and haunt someone else. Before doing this, make sure they are safe for children, as well as woman who are pregnant.

In addition, when you eat a substantial amount of garlic, the fragrance comes through our pores and naturally prevents mosquitoes from wanting to feast on us. Another trick is to rub a cracked clove of garlic on your skin, making sure the oil from the cracked clove is what is going on your skin. Also, by taking a vitamin B1 supplement (25 to 50 mgs three times a day), which is also known as thiamine, it will allow the aroma to come through your pores.

By simply growing marigolds, lemon balm, rosemary, mums, and garlic, just to name a few, the aroma can prevent those pesky mosquitoes from coming around.

Photo Courtesy: Håkan Dahlström

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Vitamin D and Weight Loss


Anyone out there need to shed a few winter pounds with swimsuit season upon us?

Did you know that combining vitamin D and calcium helps your body to maintain and regulate your blood sugar levels, feel full faster, burn fat, and store less fat, which in turn helps you lose weight? Of course you can get vitamin D from both the sun and in supplement form, but the best ways are to eat foods high in vitamin D.  The following foods provide excellent sources of vitamin D:

Fish – Raw fish typically contains more vitamin D than cooked fish. Look for fattier cuts. Also canned fish packed in oil will contain more than when packed in water.  Examples of fish high in vitamin D include raw or cooked Atlantic herring, pickled herring, canned or fresh salmon (raw or baked), raw or canned mackerel, canned sardines, oil-packed canned or fresh tuna, sushi, red and black caviar, oysters, and shrimp.

Fortified Cereals – Read labels to make sure there are no refined sugars or partially hydrogenated oils  included in the ingredients.

Fortified Soy Products – A double bonus – these foods are often fortified with calcium too. Look for fortified tofu and fortified soy milk.

Salami, Ham, Sausages, Bologna, Pork, and Bratwurst are also high in vitamin D. Be careful not to eat too much, as many are high in cholesterol and sodium.

Fortified Dairy Products – Not only are they high in vitamin D, but also calcium. Milk, cheese, and butter are foods to look for.

Eggs and Mushrooms – Slightly cooked white button mushrooms contain the greatest amount of vitamin D.

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Remedies to Rid Yourself of Bad Breath

Photo Courtesy: AlishaV on Flickr

Ever want to know simple home remedies that can help you eliminate bad breath? Below are several ideas to try right from your own pantry. Who knew herbs and spices could do such a thing?

  • Mint inhibits bad bacteria from growing inside our mouths by cleaning our tongue and teeth.  It is also the common ingredient found in toothpaste.  Chewing on fresh mint leaves helps us fight strong odors such as garlic and onion.
  • Cloves have strong antiseptic properties in them, and they can also be chewed or boiled in water to use as a homemade mouthwash. To make the homemade mouthwash, place three whole or finely crushed cloves in two cups of water, and then boil. Strain the water to remove all particles, and then use as a mouthwash.
  • Cinnamon sticks adsorb the odors of garlic and onion in our mouths. We can keep the sticks in our mouths until the smells are fully extracted.
  • Sage has essential oils with antibacterial properties that can stop the causes of bad breath. If chewed slowly, the leaves can help prevent bad breath. Another simple option is to add 1 TBS chopped sage to water and boil it. Then strain the water and use it as a mouthwash.
  • Cardamom is probably the easiest home remedy to rid yourself of bad breath.  After you eat a meal, take some Cardamom. When you chew it, it produces oils, which then improves the taste in our mouths.
  • Hazelnuts absorb bad breath when you chew them slowly.
  • Lemon juice mixed with a pinch of salt can remove garlic and onion from our breath after a meal.


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The Benifits of Bread

Photo Courtesy: Baha'i Views / Flitzy Phoebie on Flickr

The harder the bread (i.e., some flat breads, baguette bread), the less calories it contains because it is made up of less bread and you burn more calories due to more chewing.

Whole wheat bread is a very healthy option due to having complex carbohydrates as well as insoluble fiber, which can help prevent colon cancer.  When shopping for whole wheat bread, be sure to read the labels. Look for ones that say “100% whole wheat.”  You can identify whole wheat bread if the first ingredient listed in the ingredient label is whole wheat flour or 100% whole wheat flour.

Oat bread is another healthy choice. It contains soluble fiber, which is known to lower your cholesterol.

Rye bread is also a healthy option if the label says “unbolted” rye flour, which means it is a whole grain variety. Rye bread is made with flour from a rye grain. It is low in saturated fat, contains no cholesterol and is high in manganese, selenium, B vitamins,  and thiamine. “Unbolted” rye flour actually contains more fiber and nutrients than whole wheat flour.

Multi-grain bread is a very healthy option as long as the grains contained within them are whole grains. Multi- grain bread often contains a mixture of whole wheat and oat flour. It also may consist of other grains such as buckwheat and barley, along with seeds and some healthy nuts. When shopping for true multi-grain bread, read the labels and make sure the first ingredient reads  “100% whole grain.”  Whole grains are naturally low in fat and cholesterol free with 10% to 15% protein. They are loaded with fiber, resistant starch, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Great health benefits of whole grains include protection from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.

Best ways to store bread

– Store bread in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Storing bread in the refrigerator causes bread to go stale faster due to moisture being drawn out of the bread.

 – For long-term storage/shelf life for bread not eaten right away, freezing is the best option. Allow the frozen bread to thaw slowly at room temperature.


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Buttermilk Facts

Did you know that buttermilk is lower in fat than regular milk?

That’s because the fat has been removed to make butter, making it low in calories.

Buttermilk  is also high in potassium, vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin, as well as a good source of phosphorus.

Buttermilk is tart in taste due to acid in the milk.

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A Chicken Fact

Did you know that chicken contains more tryptophan than turkey?


Why are you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner?

Have you ever thought about what makes you sleepy after eating turkey? Turkey contains tryptophan, which is a natural sedative. Although, that alone does not make you sleepy after eating turkey. When you eat sugars with tryptophan, they absorb the tryptophan, which raises the serotonin/melatonin in our brains. When that happens, we become drowsy. Examples are cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pies for dessert. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

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The 411 On Salad Bars

When you are up at the salad bar and deciding on what to eat, here are a few things to think about.

– The food items at the start of the line are less expensive than the items in the middle and towards the end.  Example of those inexpensive food items  are the carrots and iceberg lettuce.

– The food items in the beginning of the salad bar line that are in the larger containers are the less expensive foods.

– The more expensive foods are in the small containers.  Examples of the more expensive food items are the nuts, fruits, the fancier cheeses, and real bacon bits.

– Restaurants know that we will pile on more food in beginning of the salad bar line.  By the end of the line, our plates are so full of food that we do not have room to add a lot of the higher priced foods.  The conclusion of all this is that the restaurant saves money by not having to buy as much of the expensive food items.

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The Panini

The word panino means sandwich in Italian or small bread roll.   Panini is the name used in Canada and the USA for any pressed sandwich.

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Red Bell Peppers

The red bell pepper, though often considered a vegetable, is technically a fruit. Each one is  loaded with vitamin C, containing 3 times more than an orange. Red bell peppers are also loaded with beta carotene, which of course offers numerous health benefits.






Image: posterize /


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