Rivenrock Gardens Cactus Blog

You are probably not condemned to diabetes if you don’t have it yet

MSN.Health has a great article on Diabetes…

 

This study says “direct medical costs average about $6,649 a year for people with diabetes.” and that 25 million people in the US have diabetes. Diabetics may make $160,000 less in their lifetime due to work and opportunities missed. But some say “You get the sugar because it’s in your family, my granny,… aunt and sister all got it, and I suspect I will also.” But NO…. you are NOT condemned to diabetes if you do not have it yet. You may well have a susceptibility to it, just as some do with alcoholism and drug abuse… if this is the case, come to grips with it and modify your behaviors so you are not condemned to a life of medications, illness and amputation….
This will become a bigger issue as the price of medical care is passed on more to the government… it is said that 1/3 of the US population will be diabetic in another 20 years…. that’s a lot of costs to be borne by the people, and they will petition the government to regulate our food choices to ‘save’ ourselves. Look for taxes on sugary, fatty, high-calorie, starchy, and fast-foods….. and corresponding food credits for the poor so they can buy healthier foods.

Sandy Bowles Marathon

I know a gal in Los Angeles who volunteers her time to a Community Arts Organisation in Los Angeles. As part of fund-raising for the operations to help provide free after school programs, she is training for the Los Angeles marathon. This is a good organization worthy of a little help from the national community.

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Dear Friends, Family, and Colleagues,
For the past year I have been training hard so I
can get myself prepared to run the infamous Los Angeles Marathon for the second time.
In training for this marathon I have lost over
fifty pounds, have gained a healthier lifestyle for myself, and have come to
understand that my growth as a person is in direct reflection to how I give back.
In choosing to give back I am running this
marathon to raise funds for an amazing organization called Inside Out
Community Arts, which provides free after school programs and
services for at-risk youth and families in Los Angeles. I have worked for this
organization now for over three years as a teaching artist and am currently on
the Board of Directors as the Artist Representative. This work is a labor of
love for me. I love these kids. They are the reason I do what I do and I am who
I am. Inside Out Community Arts gives youth from all backgrounds are given the
tools, confidence and inspiration to make a positive difference in their
communities and the world.
My goal is to raise  $3000 dollars or more but I
can’t do this alone I need your help.You can help me out by
donating ten dollars or whatever you can, also if you know any else who would
like to help these amazing kids please forward them this email.
Please click on the link at the bottom of this
email to support at-risk youth in Los Angeles!

If you would like to sponsor or join me at the
L.A. Marathon as a walker or runner to help raise funds for Inside Out, please
visit Inside Out’s registration page…we’d love to
have you out there with us!
Either way, thanks for supporting me and an
organization that’s truly making a positive difference in our community!

 
In Service and Gratitude
Sandy Bowles
Click here to visit my personal web
page in support of Inside Out Community Arts.
or
copy and paste this link into your web browser:

http://www.gifttool.com/athon/MyFundraisingPage?ID=1808&AID=955&PID=115870Sandy Bowles
818-488-0225
Lose weight with me!!! Go to
www.teambeachbody.com/sandybowles
Have a question about losing weight email me at:
getfitwithsandy@gmail.com
sandyhelenbowles@yahoo.com
quirkiness@hotmail.com

 

Chinese-Chicken Hazards

    Food safety is a very important issue. And where the foods come from matters more than almost anything.
    The US Govt has some very strict standards for food safety, even though we hear often enough of ‘breaks in the system’ that allow contaminated foods to enter the food distribution system.  This is why food traceability is so very important. Being able to find the point of origin of all of your foods is a handy thing. That is why I am growing with a food traceability company called www.toptenproduce.com  that will enable even small growers to afford the usually very expensive labels and registration codes for the bar codes.  In fact, we were the first Charter Grower in the Nation to join the Top 10 Brand.

 

   Most ‘underdeveloped’ countries have a much looser system of food regulations, if they have any at all. It is in my travels through some ‘Third-World’ countries that I ceased eating meat for some time…. I saw how the animals were treated in the small villages, the terrible transport the live animals had to endure stacked five feet high on top of one-another trussed-up in the back of donkey-carts for the travels through the towns.  The live animals would be tossed across the streets to land with a thud and a bleat on the stoop of a butcher shop…. hours later I would see the fresh meat hung on hooks hanging outside the shop to entice shoppers to buy. Of course the meat would be buzzing with flies.  Even though such countries still have produce-sanitation issues from planting to distribution of plant materials…. often due to the use of untreated sewage (called ‘night soil’ by the folks describing such methods as ‘quaint’) and also to lax controls over packing operations… the risk of illness from plant material is probably much lower in general than the risk from improperly handled meat.

  Continue reading Chinese-Chicken Hazards

Corn on the cob Mexican style

   There’s not much that can beat freshly-picked sweet corn, cooked right away.

   I prefer to roast mine over a fire, in the husk. This gives it a nice flavor right off….

   But I don’t want to start a fire up now…. it’s so scary with fires all over California, so I cooked this in the husk in the microwave, a few minutes on each side….

   I also like to season my corn the local Mexican way, with Mayonnaise and ground chili peppers.

   I also sprinkle our own favorite ground black pepper and garlic.

   The fresher you can get your veggies the better.

 

Mexican style corn on the cob
Mexican style corn on the cob

Vickie got some corn fresh from a neighbor’s garden…..
they get some cactus from us.

Weapons of ear destruction

Should ‘cotton tipped applicators’ be used inside the ear? I vote no… but I’m no medical authority… here’s what Dr. Moser says.

Ant Tips from the pro

   There’s plenty of critters out there that cause problems… one of our biggest is ants. They like to scrape the waxy skin off the cactus to get the sweet sap the leaves have locked behind all those calcium-walled cells.

   I use Boric acid in the house. It is pretty benign… I worked with toxic chemicals for a living for many years… I really don’t like toxins…. so I go for the most benign I can find. And boric acid is my fave for ant control…. my recipe is…

3 cups water, bring to a boil

1 cup sugar, dissolve in the boiling water

4 teaspoons boric acid powder, dissolve in the sugar water

Allow it to cool, then pour it onto cotton balls in little cups, leave it out. The ants wil come to it and eat the sugar and carry it back to the nest to feed the Queen and babies. It takes a couple of days for it to kill them at that concentration. You want them to take it back and kill the whole nest. So don’t make it stronger to get a faster kill.   One lady I know couldn’t stand the thought that she was ‘feeding’ ants.. she told me her dishes were covered black with ants going for the sugar/boric acid mix. She worried she was helping them, so she threw out the formula, and went and bought some spray. But with the sprays you have toxins all through your home, and it only kills the workers out to roam… it doesn’t get the Queen. Our boric acid formula will likely help you kill that Queen and stop all ant-issues right then and there…. until another wandering fertile Queen wanders in with some followers.

   Some ants don’t want sugar, they might want proteins, so then try to mix the powder with the food they want (cat or dog food or pie). It’s harder to get the correct ratio then, but try, it’s worth the fight.

 

 

  Go to http://safeandgreenliving.blogspot.com/2009/05/natural-ant-deterrent-tips.html for some more tips on ant control.

   Or to ‘About.com’ for their article ‘Get Rid of Ants Cheaply and Naturally’

Rawman’s Pineapple and Mango Salsa Recipe

   Yes, there are foods that compliment one another very well…. it’s funny, but often when you see these delightful combinations, you also might find that the foods compliment one another from a nutritional standpoint also… perhaps one of the foods has an acid that permits your body to fully process the otherwise ‘bound’ nutrients it contains.  It’s these little chemical reactions and interactions that make up the huge web of life… each person is a conglomerate of cells, each living for itself, but in so doing it serves the greater body.

   In some ways, the interactions of persons is much the same… we all all small units, self-concerned… but as long as we function in certain ways, we do more good for the greater community and society than harm we cause.  When cells go renegade we call them ‘cancer’…

 

    There’s a fellow called ‘Rawman’ who likes to popularize raw foods.  His blog has a lot of interesting posts…. one recent I liked is his ‘Rawman’s mango and pineapple salsa.  It seems to me that those two ingredients would compliment one another quite nicely.

 

   I’ll probably be making this salsa soon… I’ll post on it. When I make it, I’ll probablyadd my own touches I enjoy…. I’ll add our diced fresh nopal cactus, some diced fresh tomatoes, some fresh garlic, some corn and black beans…. (the beans and corn will come from a can, so not technically ‘raw’).  It occurs to me that this might also be good as part of a cous-cous dish…. yes, again cooked in most instances.  But some cooked grains added to raw salsa such as that sounds good. I think some added dates would be good in that instance.  And of course the cous-cous would have an additional big drenching of good olive oil.

 

   Yep, eating is good… I like it quite a bit….. and it shows LOL

Gluten-Free recipe of the week

I found this recipe through the Whole Foods Market Twitter….

 

Mediterranean Roasted Potato Salad

 

   Yes, I will for-sure try it out. I’ll have to put some cactus in there also. I’ll post on it when I make it.

 

    I’ll probably use all fresh veggies though…. I don’t know why they specify ‘frozen’ vegetables. 

 

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4 cups frozen potatoes, cubed (country hash brown style)
2 cups total frozen red peppers, onions, leeks, green peppers, and mushrooms
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian spices
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes and veggies in a shallow baking dish.  Cover with the vinegar, olive oil, and Italian spices.  Toss to make sure that potatoes are completely covered.  Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Turn off oven.  Leave in oven for another 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on counter.

When cool, add the mayonnaise, covering the roasted vegetables completely.  Then add cheese and pine nuts.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Place in refrigerator for 2 hours to cool and flavor.

Garnish with Italian spices, green olives, or parsley.

Corn Salsa Recipe

I came upon a salsa recipe that reminds me much of my own cactus salsa recipe

This one uses corn and avocados.

I came upon it here.

 

  • 3 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed

  • 2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and cubed

  • 1 red onion, finely diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • one quarter pound diced nopal cactus

  • one can black beans

  • one batch of diced pine nuts

  • one batch of sunflower seeds

 

   OK, I modified the recipe just a wee bit…
I wanted to add the cactus we include with so much food here,
and I wanted to include the black beans that we add to our salsas.

On Salads, and the lack thereof

   I came upon a great blog about food, and the author bemoans the dearth of good salads in the US.

 

She gives a few quick and easy salad recipes… they are great, and the kinds of foods I grew up with.

 

 

   People will bandy-about terms like ‘The Mediterranean Diet’, and ‘The French Paradox’.   And truly there are important considerations to be made in regards to foods.  And while we may pretty much all agree that a largly plant-based diet is healthiest…. we often fail to consider that it is a wide variety of foods consumed with relish (I mean gusto, not the condiment) that leads to a healthy diet. Sadly the US ‘salad’ of head lettuce and carrot peelings is not really a good diet.

 

 

   Really all that is required is a variety of foods, put into a bowl and mixed together with some nice spices and oils.  It is the variety of this-and-that from wide ranging areas, each with their own nutrients and deficiencies based on the local soils… mix them all together and you have a diet rich in variety and nutrients.. low in fats and bad stuff…

 

 

   And yes, with every bowl of your fresh vegetable purchases for the day, you can easily add a little diced cactus to the mix. It is one of the herbs that adds the richness and variety to your salad.