Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Confesses to Using a Pen Name

CONFESSION: I Am an Author and I Use a Pen Name
by Cal Orey





At the start of a writing career, my name seemed so perfect ... but as time passed, I discovered sometimes a pen name becomes a must-have tool of the trade. And it's not just the famous writers who use one. Here's why I dumped my real name.

For privacy and safety. Using a pen name provides protection. If a topic is controversial or crime-related, going "undercover" may be wise. I did just that when I wrote an expose for a popular men's magazine about escort services (which provide customers with a companion for dates). I didn't want the local escorts or managers to harass me if they didn't like what I wrote about their business. So I took a double identity, just as they did, to stay out of harm's way.

To get very personal. If you want to write about something embarrassing to you, switching names is the ticket for sharing your story. Forget blushing. I wrote an intimate, first-person piece called "I fell for the guy next door" for Complete Woman magazine. By altering my name and the subject's, I got to tell my tale of woe and get paid for it.

To explore different genres. I spin many subjects, from nonfiction health to erotic fiction. In the 1980s, adult magazines for men (and women) were hot. Because I wrote from a woman's perspective, I got assignments. But I was also creating a name for myself in mainstream women's magazines. I chose an alias for the risque work, which allowed me to explore two worlds apart without offending more conservative readers or losing my writing position.

For maximum marketability. Using a pen name can make an author more noticeable, too. Jane Doe might be too plain a name to stand out next to J.K. Rowling (another pen name). "The main reason I use Lady J is because it gets more attention," says children's writer Teresa Jose of Ontario.

For pragmatic gender bending. As a rookie, I fell into technical writing. After a swarm of rejections, I sensed that my real name, Denise, was too feminine to be taken seriously. So I made a gender switch to help market articles. I chose Cal for its masculine sound, and because California is my native state. When I received my first acceptance letter addressed to Mr. Cal Orey, I knew I had chosen the right name.

To address a problem of overabundance. Ten years ago, my editor for health-related mini-mags published by Globe Communications Corp., for whom I was turning out a lot of work, warned me I needed a pen name to avoid overexposure and maintain credibility. Since I wanted to write more for more money, I obliged.

To find anonymity. Using a nom de plume gives an author the freedom to keep his identity separate from work. One author who is a gambling expert maintains a low profile. If he uses his real name, he risks being blacklisted from the gaming industry. Putting a pen name to work as he does offers the best of both worlds. It's a win-win situation. 

* Published in the former magazine The Writer

Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., maintains her pen name for The HealingPowers book series. Web: www.calorey.com.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Coffee: Nature's Surprising Superfood Home Cures

COFFEE
 Nature’s Surprising Superfood



Wake Up To The Amazing
Perks Of Coffee

It’s the ever-popular beverage we can’t live without—yet few consume it without some guilt. But the wonderful truth is that coffee has abundant health benefits. Coffee boasts more antioxidants than cocoa and tea, and even more than renowned antioxidant-rich fruits like oranges and blueberries. In fact, there are hundreds of healing compounds in coffee.
Recent studies have shown that coffee consumption can significantly decrease or reduce
the risk of many conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, asthma, cancer,
cardiovascular disease, dental caries, diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver disease. Here are eight common health ailments and DIY at-home coffee cures. Savor the different roasts, blends, flavored coffees and drinks that can be your best friend. But caution, consult your health care practitioner before putting to work any coffee cure.


1 DEPRESSION (Lose the gloom and doom): You may be one of the 10 percent of Americans experiencing a melancholy misery. No one is immune. The 21st century comes with a mixed bag of stressors, including from love problems or lack of love to money matters or no job.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Try a 12-ounce cup of medium roast (City) and dark roast (Italian or French) two times each day. Better yet, make that organic java. Add milk and dark chocolate.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! There is light at the end of the dark tunnel for gloom and doom times. Drinking a couple of cup of coffee can boost mood. Also, adding milk, a mineral that can calm nerves and muscles, plus dark chocolate, which contains tryptophan, can help lessen anxiety and stress (which often are linked to depression).
2 FATIGUE (Get a pick-me-up) If you’re dragging your feet complaints may be more than less. After all, we need energy to work and play and enjoy life. If fatigue is due to lack of shut-eye or burning the candle at both ends, or trying to adapt to seasonal changes, coffee may come to your rescue.
The Coffee Rx to Use:  Order a 16-ounce café mocha (with dark chocolate flavoring and dark chocolate shavings) at a coffee shop or make your own at home. (See recipe Seize the Day Café au Lait.)
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  It’s a fact: Caffeine boosts your mental and physical energy. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, like caffeine has as stimulating effect on the central nervous system. Anadamide aka the “bliss chemical” occurs naturally in the brain and when released to our brain receptors can boost good feelings.  Millions of people every day get a jump-start in the morning by drinking a cup of coffee (or two) to enjoy that jolt so they can get a move on.
3 FLU (Shake the aches and painsGetting and staying bright-eyed and energized is good, and life without aches and pains due to a quick onset of the dreaded flu is great. During the fall and winter the flu can hit you suddenly and it’s not fun to be out of commission, especially when life is calling for you to participate. But if the flu visits you there may be a way to say goodbye faster.
The Coffee Rx to Use: Try one 12-ounce cup of medium roast (for its antioxidants) and hold flavorings, cream, and sugar. Add lemon or orange slices and honey. Repeat in moderation as needed. Also, drink plenty of water, herbal tea, and fresh juices.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Coffee is a super pick-me-up which will give you the energy that’ll help you to feel better. It contains the component quinic acid—and this is what gives coffee that sour acidic taste. It’s a natural compound found in apples, peaches, and pears. It’s also one of the primary ingredients in the Tamiflu formula—the stuff that people take when the flu hits home. Tamiflu is a pricey prescription medicine that is known for shortening flu symptoms. And remember, coffee also contains anti-inflammatory properties—key to fighting pain, which could be a godsend if you’re fighting the flu.  A bonus: Citrus is immune-boosting and honey is antibacterial to help prevent a respiratory infection.
4 HANGOVER (Say goodbye to the “ugh”)  Avoiding getting the flu is probably easier than falling victim to a killer hangover. Paying the price of a headache after overindulgence of booze can and does happen from celebrating or escaping woes. Then, your body has to deal with feeling terrible.
What Coffee Rx to Use:  Try one 12-ounce cup of medium roast coffee with one tablespoon of honey and an aspirin.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  Coffee contains caffeine so if you team it with an aspirin it can work faster to help cure a headache. A cup of coffee paired with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkiller may do the trick, blocking the headache compound culprit—acetate. Also, honey is rich in fructose and enzymes—which can boost metabolism of alcohol so you can shake that headache. 
5 HEADACHE (Stop the pain cold):  Hangovers are self-induced by overindulgence in alcohol, whereas, headaches are triggered by a mixed bag of reasons. Ironically, caffeine—found in coffee—is a one common trigger to headaches—but it can also help to make the pain go away.
What Coffee Rx to Use:  A cappuccino or café mocha, can be helpful, too, due to its magnesium, which can help alleviate headaches. Also, keep your coffee intake steady and timely.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!:  The link between coffee and headaches is a tricky one. New York Headache Center’s Dr. Alexander Mauskop, M.D., says that when drank infrequently in small amounts, regular coffee (not decaf) can be helpful in treating tension headaches. “This is because caffeine has some pain-killing properties, gets to the brain quickly and helps in the absorption of other medications,” he explains. But note, if you’re predisposed to having headaches, the limit is one cup a day, adds Dr. Mauskop.          
6 JET LAG (Perk up to a smooth post flight):   Jet lag happens when we disrupt our normal “circadian” rhythms that help us wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night. Drinking coffee helps counter the effects caused by jet lag and helps us to function normally by improving our ability to communicate and to boost our short-term memory. So, when we have to take a jet plane can java juice help us get through the imbalance of your body and mind?
Coffee Rx to Use:  Drink small amounts (2-ounce or 4-ounce) of medium roast brew on a regular basis during the day both at your new destination and also when you return home.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up!: Caffeine, a primary ingredient in coffee, can help you to fight the jet lag blues, thanks to the hypothalamus gland, the main control center of the body clock in the brain, by shifting into a patter that fits in with the time zone of our destination.  
7 WATER RETENTION (Blast the bloat):  Bloating can hit when you’re upset, are PMS-ing and retaining water, during the “pause” thanks to shifting hormones, and even when you’re eating the wrong foods. Not only is bloat frustrating when your stomach is too puffy to wear your skinny jeans or favorite dress, but it’s also often uncomfortable.
What Coffee Rx to Use:   Try an 8-ounce cup or two of black medium roast with a slice or two of lemon. Drink a glass of water for a double effect. Also, pair a cup of coffee with a piece of fresh water-dense fruit.
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Drinking bloat-busting lemony coffee, a natural diuretic because of its caffeine, citrus, and water content, will help alleviate pesky water retention that causes bloating. Plus, the potassium in fruit can help counteract unwanted sodium and bloat, too.
8 UNIVERSAL EMERGENCY AID (Savor the buzz): Wanting to rid of water weight before a holiday event may seem like an ER time, but a real emergency can rock your boat. Blackouts, earthquakes, and severe storms can make it seem like your world has ended as you once knew it. Before or after, a cup of coffee may seem like godsend to help you feel normal and hang in there.
What Coffee Rx to Use: Opt for a 12-ounce cup of instant coffee (flavored is a good choice).
Why You’ll Be Perked Up! Coffee is comforting and energizing. These perks will help you keep awake and able to keep on top of the latest news, and help you stay calm but prepared. Plus, if you don’t have electricity, instant coffee (water heated on a gas stove) will provide you with that much wanted java jolt.

[MINI BOX OR CIRCLE]
Did You Know?... Hot coffee may keep away a Superbug? Research shows that drinking a steaming hot cup of joe may lessen developing MRSA bacteria in your nose. That’s right; your nose knows that there may be antimicrobial properties in coffee that may be linked to lowering the risk of carrying MRSA bacteria in your nasal passages.

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Coffee (Kensington)


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chocolate Beautiful: Home Spa Treatments That Pamper You

CHOCOLATE BEAUTIFUL


 “My chocolate fantasy would be that I could eat all the chocolate in every conceivable form that I could possibly ever want and it wouldn’t do anything bad to my body or my skin or my disposition. Actually, it would have no calories at all.” --Helen Gurley Brown

Surprise. Chocolate, straight from Mother Nature’s cocoa plant, is used in posh health spas for body treatments: wraps, mask, massages. I talked to some of the well-known spa retreats, from Calistoga, California, to Reno, Nevada, and other regions around the globe to find out how chocolate works and why it is used. Chocolate soaks, bean polish, scented massage, scrubs, and wraps are part of chocolate treatments at resort spas in America and worldwide.
Chocolate Spa Beauty Treatments
Eating chocolate can make you feel better, but treating your body from head to toe with chocolate beauty treatments can make you look better, too. It’s not just a gimmick or a pampering treat—chocolate contains the real deal to help nourish your hair, skin, and nails, and much more. Chocolate treatments also soften skin, enhance your blood circulation, and zap stress and anxiety.
Indeed, there are also some all-natural compounds in chocolate that can make your skin feel silkier and even more youthful. After all, you know by now that chocolate is antioxidant rich, which is ideal for fighting free radicals in our environment, stress, and again. All-natural cocoa teamed with other natural plant extracts and essential oils can help exfoliate, soften, and even make your skin look firmer and glow.
And this is why some progressive spas around the nation and world include chocolate in their pampering spa treatments. Here, take a look at just some of the popular treatments. Prices will vary depending on the spa, region, and season. (Chocolate beauty products can be found on the Internet. Companies to contact include www.bellalucce.com and www.sweetbeautyspa.com .)

Chocolate Body Masque
This is ideal for couples who can enjoy the steps in a private room: Choose the chocolate body masque. Apply the warm chocolate body masque. Relax on a steam table. Feel the aromatic steam. An attendant will also apply a facial cleansing/moisturizing during your treatment. Finish the treatment with a special shower gel and shampoo.
Chocolate Facial
A mask can contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while chocolate does its job and the sweet aroma soothes your body, mind, and spirit.
Chocolate Hydrotherapy/Cocoa Bath
Wonder what it would feel like to dip into a bathtub filled with chocolate silk bubbles? You’ll soak in a tub of warm water and enjoy the chocolate aroma of the pure cocoa, lush oils, and silk proteins moisturizing your skin from your feet to your neck.
Chocolate Pedicure
After a pedicure and before the nail polish is put on your nails, a chocolate powder paste is heated and the warm concoction is put on both feet—top and bottom. After 10 or 15 minutes, once chocolate potion has dried, it is peeled off much like a facial masque. This, in turn, gets rid of dead cells, dry skin, and closes pores.
Chocolate Scrub/Massage
This popular treatment can be used with ground cocoa beans mixed with essential oils.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Wrap
A chocolate fondue wrap is a sensual and soothing delight. But if you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, a treatment pairing chocolate and real strawberries, pure shea butter, and organic cocoa will be the ultimate body treatment.

Pamper Yourself In Chocolate
If you think chocolate spa treatments are just for fun, think again. Today’s spas offer a wide variety of pampering and healthful chocolate-related regiments, for all budgets. And more people—both men and women—are discovering the beauty benefits of chocolate.
In fact, you can even get the same treatment right at home. I have a drawer full of chocolate based beauty treatments that promise to pamper the body from head to toe. In other words, it is the next best thing to getting spa’d without spending a lot of money.
Before you get started, the night before, make this recipe and cut up seasonal fresh fruit chunks. Put in the fridge for the following day—your special beauty day.

Chocolate Fondue
1/2 cup half-and-half
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or pistoles
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or pistoles
¼ teaspoon vanilla
Marshmallows, pound cake, or brownies, peppermint sticks, strawberries, bananas, raspberries, or apricots.
In saucepan, bring cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Stir in vanilla until smooth. Pour fondue into a serving bowl or individual cups. Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed. Dip the goodies!






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coffee is Versatile for Spring Cleaning

By Cal Orey

SPRING CLEANING

Coffee boosts the mind, body, even spirit

Drinking coffee in the springtime for its healing powers is healing, but did you know that you can use coffee for healing your personal environment, too? Welcome to the world of coffee uses in the home, another perk of the coffee tree. Before I entered Coffee World, I didn’t know coffee grounds were eco-friendly and something to use. But now I know uncommon grounds can be home-friendly.  God bless nature’s little dark coffee grounds for their multi-purpose uses indoors and outdoors.

INDOORS
Kitchen
Use An Abrasive Cleaner. Use grounds as a scouring agent to tackle any greasy or dirty surface. It also can get rid of pungent odors from pans and your hands.
Go for a Deodorizing Buzz. Dry coffee ground (not soggy used ones) placed on a cookie sheet and put in an open container in your fridge or freezer can be an instant way to help absorb odors. Also, fill a sachet with dried grounds paired with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and place it in close drawers (baby and pet-proof).

Living Room/Dining Room/Bedroom
Furniture Concealer:  Coffee grounds can do away with smells and unsightly scratches on furniture, too. Steep grounds and apply the dark brew to wood furniture with a cloth. I tried this household treatment on an antique dark chest in my bedroom and it worked. I thought, “If coffee stains cups, coffee pots, and teeth, it has to work on brown furniture.” And it did just that. Flavored coffees provide a nice aroma unlike commercial types with strong, undesirable scents.
Fireplace Dust Buster: Ever notice that when you clean out the ashes from the fireplace that dust gets in your eyes and nose? You can control the dust by using wet coffee grounds on the cool ashes because they keep the dust down and not in the air. Note to self: Try to see if this method works.

Bathroom
Ant Repellent: In the mountains I don’t see ants but in the city I did. And if they weren’t in the kitchen they took over the bathroom, especially around water. Rather than using a chemical spray, try using coffee grounds on the area thirsty ants go to. (Be sure kids, cats and dogs are not around as the natural ant eater does its job.)

OUTDOORS
Plant Fertilzer: Plants that like acidic soils will like your coffee grounds. Use grounds on the top layer of soil, or mix it with potting soil before planting. I started dumping coffee grounds on the aspens in the front yard.  It could have been the late summer rain and/or the green grounds that helped the trees perk up.
Compost: Grounds not only feed your plants and trees, but they can feed your compost bin (if you have one). Simply add compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags (yes, I have both, especially if my youngest Brittany doesn’t scarf down the chamomile tea bags) will also break down fast during composting. I still don’t do the compost dance it but it’s on my list of to-do changes and coffee grounds and filters will be included. I continue to sprinkle grounds on one wilted aspen in the front yard but so far it’s not showing signs of being a coffee lover…
Insect Repellant: But tossing coffee grounds on the deck, dirt, or sidewalks may have a faster effect. Again, it’s a risk to do this if you have indoor/outdoor dogs or cats, because you don’t want a sequel of the Ethiopian goat herder’s dancing goats. And that’s not all…

HEALTHY COFFEE FENG SHUI TIPS
Welcome your home sweet home to the art of feng shui—the ancient Chinese art of placement—with a twist of coffee. By putting stuff in the right spots in your kitchen and other rooms it can enhance the flow of positive energy and zap negative vibrations, bringing you good health, happiness—and even fortune.
Declutter Your Coffees. If you’re a coffee lover, chances are you’re going to have more than less java beans and gadgets in your home. Rather than stuffing it all in one place, such as your pantry, I suggest storing it in a variety of places just in case of a blackout. You’ll find cans of coffee (these have expiration dates) in my pantry. Plus, they are sealed so I feel safe and secure that my fur kids won’t get into the java. Also, when I open my freezer, there is an array of well packaged coffees lined up in rows. It makes me feel safe in case there is a shortage on coffee. And, in my fridge, I also have concealed containers filled with coffee in use, from day to day. It’s clutter free but coffee definitely has its place(s) in my kitchen.
Clean the Coffee Pot(s) to Coffee Grinder. This is a chore but it’s good chi to have a squeaky clean pot (or two) and grinder. For the pot, use vinegar, water, and lemon (use hot water, let soak). As far as the grinder goes, day by day cleaning will keep you and yours healthy coffee drinkers.
Brighten Up with Lighting.  In your kitchen, you’ll want to have neutral of earthy coffee colors, from a tan, light coffee or wood paneling.  Fresh, white curtains will lighten up the room and your energy.
Scent It Up. And, of course, the constant aroma of fresh brewed coffee will linger from room to room.
Boost Your Mood with Coffee Mugs. Select your favorite coffee mugs and place them together or in a mug holder on the counter. This is inviting for you or coffee.
Use Coffee Art. Framed coffee prints can give your kitchen a nice visual effect, especially if they boast Mediterranean colors: red, brown, gold, and blue.
Flaunt Coffee Companions. Glass canisters filled with biscotti to coffee candy, look inviting and are your friends whenever you decide to brew a cup of java.
Bring Out the Fresh Fruit. Seasonal fruit in lucky numbers, such as eight, is good for you both physically and mentally. Citrus fruit, such as oranges goes well with coffees—and the shelf life is good.
Conceal Knives and Scissors. These are a must-have item so when you open a new bag of coffee you can do it the right way and without going on a hunt through the house or using your nails or teeth.
Hide the Gadgets. Too many coffee makers will give you clutter. So, choose your coffee toys and store the others in cupboards. Recycle these to fit the season and your mood. 
Place Coffee Books in Piles. Cookbooks are attractive and show that you like being in the kitchen. Line these up in an appealing way or pile books in stacks. Either way it will give a nice coffee literary feel and will be on hand to inspire you.
A bonus tip: Purchase a coffee calendar. It will keep you up-to-date on seasons and holidays—a great coffee lover’s tool so you can plan meals and coffee accordingly. And, of course, with your coffee-ized kitchen, what better way to celebrate than to have a cake, like this heavenly recipe, baking in the oven?
[SHADED BOX]
Heavenly Coffee Angel Food Cake
* * *
1 cup sifted cake flour                              2 tablespoons instant coffee, ground
1 teaspoon cream of tartar                              fine powder in a coffee grinder       
1 teaspoon vanilla extract                              1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon coffee extract (or                         1 ½ cups egg whites (10-12 large eggs)
½ teaspoon salt substitute almond                at room temperature
extract

     Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees. Sift the flour and ground instant coffee together onto a sheet of wax paper, then resift it with the sugar and salt onto a second sheet of wax paper. In a large grease-free bowl of an electric mixture, add the egg whites and cream of tartar and mix on low speed till foamy. Increase speed gradually to medium and beat until whites are stiff and shiny, but not dry. Stop the mixer and add the vanilla and coffee extracts, whisking in once or twice by hand.
     Carefully lift the wax paper holding the dry ingredients and sprinkle the flour mixture gently into the egg whites. Using a spatula, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the whites till just incorporated. Do not stir hard or the batter will deflate. Very gently turn the batter into an ungreased tube pan and smooth the top lightly. Place immediately in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or till well risen and golden on top.
     As soon as the cake is done baking, invert (if your tube pan doesn’t have “feet”, hang the pan upside down over the neck of a bottle). Allow the pan to hang upside down for several hours until completely cool. (If it cools right side up, gravity will make it sink and become dense.) To remove pan, slide a long thin knife around the edge of the pan and the center tube to loosen it. Top the cake with plate, invert and lift off the pan.
(Source: Courtesy Coffee Science Source.) 

— Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Coffee 
Cal Orey, M.A.  is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee were featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) 




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Honey, Do You Have Springtime Allergies?

“The wild bee reels from bought to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing,
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering… -- Oscar Wilde


Springtime Allergies and Vanishing Honey Bees

Allergy season is here, and stocking up on honey may be the cure. Beekeepers know that honey bees provide bee-healthy powers to help relieve a variety of symptoms, thanks to Mother Nature’s “nectar of the gods.” Drawing on the honey buzz, it is believed that honey may help you deal with pesky allergies, whether you live on the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest or Deep South.
Stop Seasonal Misery with Honey
Sneezing, a runny nose, and coughing can ruin an indoor or outdoor event, thanks to seasonal pollen. Every year when the yellow pollen arrives like an uninvited visitor at Lake Tahoe I hold a tissue in one hand and am on the phone to a pharmacist with the other. I am always on a mission to find a natural remedy to stop my sniffles.
Recently, I discovered eating a tablespoon of locally produced honey may be the cure. Proponents of honey tell me that your immune system will get used to the local pollen in it (it should be within a 50-mile radius from where you live).
By taking the honey cure, you may lose your allergy symptoms. It’s worth the effort and is less pricey than a visit to the doctor or allergist. Also, honey is a natural remedy and doesn’t come with unknown side effects linked to allergy medications or shots. One summer day, I looked outside and the Tahoe pollen was everywhere—on cars, trees and the ground. I started putting alfalfa honey (from Reno 50 miles away) in my tea and yogurt. A while later my misery was history. Whether it was coincidence or a honey cure doesn’t matter. It worked.

Why You’ll Bee Happy
If you have respiratory problems, from allergies to asthma, honey may enhance the immune system to build up a better arsenal against airborne allergens—and help you breathe easier. Honey enthusiasts like the Vermont Country doctor D.C. Jarvis, M.D., believe honeycomb is excellent for treating certain breathing problems. The honey prescription, according to him, was chewing honeycomb, which may line the entire breathing tract.
Also, eating honey on a daily basis was recommended. “As far as I have been able to learn, Vermont folk medicine uses honeycomb as a desensitizing agent; from the results obtained by its use it appears to be anti-allergic to its action,” Dr. Jarvis says giving kudos to the honey bees.
Beekeepers tell me that honey may help allergies linked to trees and ragweed—the culprit in hay fever and its irritating symptoms during spring months and often right before. As beekeepers are busy at work selling local honey to allergy sufferers, more research is needed to prove that the honey bee’s gift works.
Meanwhile, I’m not going to wait for scientists to go to their lab rats for a go-ahead. More honey, please. But while honey may be a sweet home cure for seasonal allergies, another bigger problem is, in the future honey may be scarce due to our vanishing honey bees.

Honey Bees and the Pesticides Peril
It’s no secret.  Beekeepers across America, continue to witness mysterious die-offs of bee colonies.  This condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), is a condition that causes honey bees to vanish without a trace—and recently research is pointing the finger at pesticides…

In 2013, researchers with European Food Safety Authority announced they had discovered peril to honey bees, pinpointing neonicotinoids. What’s more, some countries abroad have banned using neocnicotinod insecticides.  Despite the scientists’ findings, two pesticide producers Sygenta and Bayer Crop Science beg to differ their products are the culprit. But note, the controversy continues…
Says Honey: The Gourmet Medicine author Joe Traynor, “The beekeeping community is split on whether or not the "new" neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of current bee problems, mainly CCD. Bayer is a major manufacturer of necnicotinoid pesticides and has been bearing the brunt of the criticism from beekeepers who believe that neonics are indeed a major problem. A smoking gun, however has yet to be found.”
The honey bee guru who runs a pollination (bee rental) and agricultural consulting service in California’s San Joaquin Valley adds, “There are about a million acres of canola (aka rape seed) in North Dakota, almost all of it grown from seed treated with neonics, yet bees do quite well on canola--no apparent problems. It is believed that the systemic neonics are diluted enough by the time canola flowers appear (or they dissipate in the plant) so that there is no bee hazard.”
Honey bee experts like Traynor will tell you that America’s bee scientists that have studied CCD include a variety of  causes--varroa, viruses, nosema, malnutrition--to be the major contributing factors to CCD. He concludes “They do not exonerate neonics and still think they might be a factor in CCD-- they just haven't seen any proof (yet).”

Northern California researcher Randy Oliver (www.ScientificBeekeeping.com) adds his point of view on the honey bee and its demise. He says, “Some pesticides can result in delayed colony collapse--this has been documented for decades.  Some have suggested a link between the new neonicotinoid insecticides and CCD, but no research has ever been able to establish such a link.”
Oliver also points out, “Every field study ever done has indicated that the neonics, when applied as seed treatments, do not cause colony losses.  For the prime crops that are treated with neonic seed treatments (maize, soy, canola), the vast majority of beekeepers tell me that they do see problems, and that their colonies thrive around those crops year after year.  So I'd have to say that neither scientific experiments nor beekeeper field experience support the hypothesis that the neonics are the cause of CCD.”

So, while researchers in the U.S. and Europe disagree about CCD and pesticides, the busy honey bee is vanishing. If the honeymoon is over, it will affect the honey industry, one third of our crops due to lack of pollination, and, of course, honey will be more scarce and pricey to help relieve springtime allergies.


Healing Honey Flavors Around the Nation
·        Alfalfa: The nectar source is a legume with blue flowers, and alfalfa is noted as the most popular in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and the rest of the West. It is known as a versatile honey, and its proponents claim it is used to stave off allergies.
·        Lemon:  This tree grows in California, Florida, and Texas. It is nice paired with chamomile tea which can help soothe coughs and sore throats.

·        Orange Blossom:  Like other Californian honeys, this citrus favorite is found in Arizona, Florida, and Texas. Its nectar comes from a variety of citrus sources—all chock-full of immune-boosting vitamin C.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why I Wrote a Book on Joe


Preface
One snowy winter morning, I followed my everyday ritual. I entered the kitchen and brewed a cup of steaming hot coffee. While Mr. Coffee did its job, I fed my Brittany duo and let them outdoors. Then, I poured French Vanilla Roast into a 12-ounce white mug and embraced it, bringing the java back to bed with me. My daily coffee fix is like connecting with a forever friend: reliable, exciting, comforting— always there for me.
After a sip or two of java juice, I tuned in to CNN and retrieved my e-mail. On this particular day, I got an idea. (It’s true. Coffee boosts brainpower and the creative process.) I e-mailed my book editor. My words were short and sweet: “Just thinking a tea book to go with the honey book seems like it would work well. What do you think?” His quick response: “Actually, I was thinking of a coffee book since coffee gets a bad rap. Is that a crazy idea?” I typed a one-line answer and clicked send. “Not at all. It was my second choice.” Like one coffee tree seed, this was the beginning of creating a book on coffee.
During the creation of The Healing Powers of Chocolate, I included a chapter titled “A Cuppa Coffee and Chocolat.” So, I wasn’t a stranger to coffee and its virtues, past and present-day. A while later I sent a follow-up e-mail to my editor. Blame it on the coffee and its caffeine, proven to increase alertness.
“Coffee may be hotter than tea and deserves attention,” I noted, and continued on as if I were creating the back cover of a book in progress. “Studies show it can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes; help reduce body fat and unwanted body weight—and increase longevity. Plus, coffee is used in health spa treatments and dozens of home cures and recipes. In moderation, coffee is another superfood and is teamed in cooking/baking with vinegar, olive oil, chocolate, and honey.”
As a West Coast native I felt a connection to the potential book topic. After all, I grew up during the Bohemian Beatnik era, which hit the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived; and in Seattle, Washington, a place where the coffee giant Starbucks originated, growing into a trend that swept the nation and world. These days, coffee, a new health food, is popular for its multitude of coffee roasts, flavored coffees, organic coffee, specialty coffee drinks—hot and cold—and so much more.
It was no surprise that by mid-March the news arrived. The idea of writing a book about coffee and health had come full circle. While I was enjoying my morning cup of Starbucks’ Sumatra coffee I was notified by my editor, Richard Ember, that The Healing Powers of Coffee was to be my fifth Healing Powers book. I celebrated with a second cup of java juice.
Like vinegar, olive oil, chocolate, and honey, coffee is derived from nature. All five superfoods contain powerful antioxidants and boast versatile uses. The fascinating thing about my journey into the wide world of coffee is that I discovered that coffee is the second most popular commodity in the world.
So like a coffee tree, I began to flourish. The exciting part of my journey is that I discovered that coffee is more than just a beverage to wake up to in the morning. This time around, I’m enjoying a Kona coffee, a slice of gourmet coffee cake, and I just finished a coffee facial.
In The Healing Powers of Coffee I’ll show you how and why this natural beverage from tree to cup will open your eyes to the amazing powers of the coffee tree and its treasures to make your life more complete.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring is in the Air, It's Monday

Christopher Norman's Gourmet Chocolates, My Fave
By Cal Orey

The temps are beginning to change in the Sierra pre-Easter days. Snow, what little dropped on the mountains this year has melted. We're talking high sixties this week. It's a cue that spring has sprung and off season--a time when locals enjoy Mother Nature without a hectic pace of people and traffic-- has arrived.  I saw two blue jays yesterday afternoon in my neighbor's yard. It's time to purchase bird seed to keep Zen, my indoor kitty amused as well as bird dog Simon. 

YEAR-ROUND CANINE COMPANIONS
Speaking of dogs... On Saturday Skyler, the Aussie of my life, got his dog shots--all of them. After a few words of caution from the staff about post-cues, I waited for side effects: sleepiness, subdued... No such luck. Skye has boundless energy. He is the most fun-loving canine companion I have ever known. A smile on his face--always. And ready to go do it--always.


SWIMMING IS BLISS
Before 8 a.m., I kept my vow for spring and hit the pool.  It was bliss, as usual. For the next two months, the pool and hot tub(s) will be all mine in the early morning. Then, it's to the outdoor water.  Swimming is a way to soothe the spirit and soul, clear the mind, and it does boost energy levels--"endolphins" to keep up with an energetic pooch.

ANIMALS FLEEING YELLOWSTONE
As a news segment guest on Coast to Coast AM last Friday night, I was asked to give my take as the "earthquake sensitive" on the 4.8 earthquake at Yellowstone (not to ignore the question regarding the fleeing bison and AWOL elk) as a sign of an upcoming super volcano. So now, I'm writing a piece due in a few days on the topic that has gained worldwide interest. After all, if we were to experience a volcanic event, like this one, it would change our lives as we know it. While my time was short on the radio segment, I'm glad I didn't sound like the animated character in the 2012 film when there was a mega meltdown and our Golden State fell into the Pacific Ocean. Actually, I'm on the fence about these two potential disasters.



HEALING POWERS, BOOK SERIES
So, here I sit...fielding calls for the psychic networks. I wonder about my 2nd edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil (my 2nd child out of 5.5), and where it is in production.

Last I heard the cover copy was being edited.  Marketing my books on vinegar, olive oil, honey, chocolate, even coffee isn't difficult. But I wonder why people love vinegar more than joe.  That is an interesting article topic that is a must write. I suppose if I were stranded on an island and could have one or the other, vinegar would help wounds heal, but coffee (with water which I'd need to survive) would boost my mind, body, and spirit. 

HERE  COMES EASTER
On the topic of spirit, while this time of year is a time to rejoice the comeback of the Lord (Catholic girl in me) Easter is on its way. I sit here viewing Food Network, brainstorming ways to make a healthful carrot cake, and shun making traditional edibles like ham but a coconut cake did grab my attention. It seems like everyone loves cream cheese frosting but this treat can be good without icing (on another planet). Well, maybe muffins sweetened with nature's nectar--honey and frost half, leave half plain. Tomorrow I will decide. Yesterday, craving Easter candy, I was surprised at all the junk put into grocery store packaged candy (not like gourmet chocolate I have had) so I grabbed different chocolates, including dark, and will make marbled bark candy infused with walnuts and sprinkled ever so lightly with pastel colored ice cream sprinkles to celebrate the new season.