Saturday, September 29, 2018

TEA Leaf Reading Gone Wrong!

Tearooms to specialty teas amid the rise of tea trends are growing in popularity within all age groups of people. During one of my trips to British Columbia, I visited Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver for a traditional afternoon tea. I ordered a pot of chamomile tea and the house apricot and current scones. When the tea server clad in a cheongsam arrived to my table, I was intimidated. In hindsight, perhaps a high pour of the teapot (like “A Lot Like Love” film Oliver does for show in the restaurant scene with Chinese flue music playing in the background) would have impressed her. She left the Blue Willow China tea pot at my table. I didn’t know I was supposed to strain the tea.  Oops. 
Looking down at the wilted leaves in my cup of I sulked: I thought: “How can I drink this? The leaves will get stuck in my teeth.” And, the leaves steeped too long so it was a dark yellow tea. When the server walked past my table, like a child I pointed to the flawed brew. (But at least I didn’t pick up my saucer with the cup.)  She replaced the full tea cup with wilted tea leaves floating like dead goldfish. I felt my face warm up and turn red from embarrassment because I failed tea etiquette. I asked for a doggy bag for the pricey scones, and walked out like a pup with its tail between its legs. I should have laughed at my gaffe, and offered a tea leaf reading. But remember, I am a just a health author, not a tea master.  What did I know?
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea (Kensington Books, 2018). All rights are reserved.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Autumn is Time for Super Smoothies!

By Cal Orey

When I first moved to Lake Tahoe I was infatuated with the town, feeling like I landed in heaven. During the first fall I recall walking amid the towering pine trees and trails was my favorite mode of exercise. 
One afternoon after walking to the Lake, down to the casinos, and along Highway 50 I stopped at McDonalds. I ordered a chocolate shake with vanilla soft serve ice cream and chocolate syrup. (The calories I burned gave me permission to indulge, I rationalized.) When I left sipping the cold, creamy beverage, I started analyzing (blame it on the sugar high) the sweet shake. My health-oriented food cop inner voice said, “Uh, exercise negated by fast food. Hello? Can you hear me?" But I tuned out the voice of reason and continued this ritual walk-for-a-sugar shake phase.

As the seasons passed, I weaned myself off the fast food faux milkshakes--home-style is best. I time traveled back to the sixties and seventies--two decades when smoothies lured health-nut hippies. I’d whip up a superfood drink or buy one at a health food store. But then, I moved on to eating not drinking fruits and vegetables--and even buying frozen cobblers and casseroles for the quick fix. Then, I, like many folks including busy millennials and boomers, have discovered wholesome and scrumptious smoothie--umpteen varieties--for nutrition and convenience.
So, this week I celebrated the changes we see, smell, and feel. I put together a group of fall fruit, warm spices, local honey, and some chill ingredients. Here, take a look at the Lake Tahoe-inspired recipe for smoothies with autumn stuff.
Fall fruit and Spice smoothie
¼ cup pear, chopped
¼ cup Honeycrisp or Fuji apple, chopped
½ banana, sliced
¼ cup orange juice, fresh squeezed or fortified juiced
½ cup vanilla bean gelato
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup ice cubes
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Basil or mint sprigs for garnish
In a blender put in fruit, juice, gelato, honey, and ice. Whip or blend (a Smoothie button is ideal) until thick and creamy. Pour into a glass mug. Serve with a straw. Serves one.
Serve with local honey and fresh herbs. Using premium gelato and fresh ice will make your smoothie creamy. The pear apple combination with warming spices is a nice touch for the beginning of a new season. And sipping the comforting mix is a super welcome to all the autumn changes we’re going to experience in the upcoming days and nights. Enjoy this fall harvest smoothie day or night for its nature’s goodness is good any time.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is

Un-beelievable Honey Bee Secrets

Did You Know?  

The honey bee (apis mellifera) is one of nature’s greatest gifts.

The Key Pollinators… “The honey bee pollinates about one-third of the food we eat,” says Reno-based agriculturists-beekeeper Leonard Joy of Joy’s Honey Ranch. The honey bee—an insect—pollinates more than 90 crops, including apples, blueberries, citrus fruit, and nuts. Simply put, honey bee colonies (50,000 to 60,000 per hive that include workers, drones, and one queen) are vital to our planet.
            “Honey bees are woven into our food chain. Pet foods containing animal proteins rely partly on bees for pollination of pasture plants to complete the circle of life,” explains Hidden Valley Honey’s beekeeper Chris Foster of Reno. “Without honey bees, the whole food chain would be diminished in diversity and quantity for both us and our pets.”

… And Honey Makers: Beekeepers such as Joy, Foster and Dan Baily of Sparks know that honey bees provide another service; they produce honey. Known as “nectar of the gods,” honey has been used for its medicinal powers for 5000 years. Local beekeepers such as the Bailys sell honey to locals and retail outlets for use in treating allergies. It’s believed that raw local honey contains pollen that cause allergies—repeated us might help to build up immunity to the annoying ailment. You’ll find local honey (including comb honey, beeswax, candles, and soap) around town and at farmers’ markets.


Swarming in Your Home: Beekeepers (who tend to honey bees in layered wooden boxes) such as the Baileys will tell you that a honey bee’s instinct is to nest. They will seek a hole inside or outside a house or building—often creating a nuisance.

Stinging People and Pets: Although honey bees are gentle, if provoked, their survival instinct to protect their queen will kick in and they might strike. Some pets can have mild symptoms to a sting, just as humans can. If anaphylaxis (a severe allergic response) occurs, this can be life-threatening. Contact your doctor or vet ASAP.

Bottom line: Do not attempt to get rid of bees by yourself. Call a beekeeper to help you safely remove swarms (10,000 to 15,000 bees) or colonies.

            Meanwhile, mankind is buzzing about Colony Collapse Disorder—a die-off of honey bees with an unknown cause. As researchers around the globe probe the mystery of the alarming decline, beekeepers work to keep the beloved honey bee—nature’s workhorse—alive and well.

Sweet Honey Trivia

A hive of bees fly more than 55,000 miles to bring you one pound of honey.
Honey bees must tap about two million flowers to make one pound of honey.
Each honey bee has four wings.
Honey bees communicate by “dancing.”
There are an estimated 150,000 hobby beekeepers in the U.S.
(Source: National Honey Board)

Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington Books, 2018 mass market) by Cal Orey. All rights reserved.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Fall into the Best Tea(s) with Your Honey

Tea(s) with Your Honey

   For centuries, people all around the world have enjoyed the simple, soothing pleasures of a good cup of tea with a good teaspoon of honey, and nowadays there is more reason to so do. Tea(s)—all kinds--especially with honey, but together they pack a punch of nutritional and health benefits.
            Medical doctors, nutritionists, scientists and beekeepers are now confirming what healers have been saying for since biblical times—teas and honeys have a variety of healing powers.
             Here are my favorite tea and honey marriages—but there are infinite combinations for both you and me to try. There is no right or wrong combination and what’s sweet to you makes honey-tea beverages a sweet sip.

1. Black Tea:  The first tea I was introduced to was basic black tea—which does contain caffeine—and I have enjoyed it plain but realized it did need a sweet flavor boost to it.  Also, Earl Grey and English breakfast teas (perfect for an Irish breakfast, complete with fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and scones) are part of the Black Tea group.
Best Honey Matches:  Basswood has a distinct flavor that I’ve used in plain yogurt for a rich flavor and it can give black tea a kick, too. Sourwood boasts a caramel taste that can make a common black tea come to life with taste. Earl Grey teams well with avocado, blueberry, and eucalyptus honeys, too. It’s more exotic and exciting than just a simple all-purpose clover honey that comes without pleasant surprises.  
2. Green Tea:  Touted for its wide array of health virtues, this Asian tea does contain caffeine, like black tea, but not as much. It’s an acquired taste and that’s where honey comes into play so you can get the best of taste and nutritional benefits. 
Best Honey Matches:  Blueberry honey has a fruity taste which can give a nice kick to green tea, not the most flavorful tea.  Sage honey is mild, a California favorite of mine that brings out the best of green tea.
3.  Fruit Tea—Welcome to lemon, orange, rose hips, and apple teas. These fruity teas are sweet and sometimes tart, which call for a honey sidekick.
Best Honey Matches:  Mild flavored honeys such as sage and alfalfa brings out the best in fruit teas because it doesn’t overpower the fruity taste but maintains the integrity of the fruit flavor.
4. Herbal Tea—Herbal teas come from a variety of plants other than the tea plant. They are made from the leaves, berries, flowers, fruits and bark of herbs and spices.
Although most herbal teas do not contain the antioxidant properties of real tea, they do possess other good-for-you compounds that can enhance your health and well-being. There is a wide range of herbal teas, including ginseng, cinnamon, licorice, and mint.
Rooibos (roy-boss) is the “new” herbal tea on the block—that is often called “Red Tea.” Like green and black teas, this tea contains antioxidants that make it heart-healthy and immune-enhancing—and it’s caffeine free.
Best Honey Matches: Teaming earthy and warm herbal teas go well with a mild alfalfa, clover, orange blossom, and sage honeys—common honeys that complement distinct herbal flavors. 
5. Oolong Tea—This tea, popular in Asian countries, contains health perks of both black and green teas. A robust flavored-tea that can have a sweet taste lends to different honeys. 
Best Honey Matches: Oolong, not a tea familiar to me, was easy to try with a friendly California orange blossom honey with its citrusy sweet taste. Another oolong mate is tupelo honey its light amber color and herbal, fruity flavors.
6. White Tea—And last but not least welcome to this pale tea. Found in China it is believed to rank number one for its antioxidants. It’s a bit sweet and mellow. It’s the new tea on the block for tea lovers.
Best Honey Matches:  Fireweed honey is light colored and smooth, like white tea—the two complement each other. Wildflower, one of my favorite mild honeys also goes nicely with white tea.
            As a devout tea drinker, I believe your choice of honey and tea is a personal choice—like pairing dark chocolate with different fruits, herbs and spices. The selection also depends on the season to your mood. But popular and friendly honeys, such as clover and orange blossom are suitable any time, any place because they are not too strong and will not overpower teas—all types—and you can’t go wrong for yourself or if you’re serving other people.
Excerpt: From The Healing Powers of Honey by Cal Orey, published by Kensington Books, mass market format 2018. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Why I Wrote the Book on the Forbidden Food: Chocolate

By Cal Orey, The Healing Powers author
One summer morning, I woke up and had chocolate on the brain. I did brew a cup of fresh Italian Roast coffee splashed with organic chocolate milk and paired it with a warm dark chocolate muffin. And then, my creative juices were in high-octane gear. I got a craving to e-mail a query to my book editor. I wanted to write a new book on the healing powers of chocolate. But I hesitated and thought, “This is a crazy idea. Chocolate is a decadent food.”
Later that day I pondered the topic like I would scrutinize a truffle. After all, I had gone to Vinegar World and Olive Land in my two books The Healing Powers of Vinegar and The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. Would my publisher at Kensington really be interested in sending me to Chocolate Nirvana? Or was my idea just a sweet pipe dream of a self-professed chocoholic?
I decided I had nothing to lose, so I sat down in my study and wrote a quick query regarding writing a book on chocolate. A few hours later, I received a response from my editor, Richard Ember. I’d snagged his interest. Within a couple of weeks, the idea was sealed into a chocolate book deal. At last, I was given the go-ahead to write the book I had wanted to pen for more than a decade.
Back in 1999, I pitched the idea to another editorial consultant when I was writing those mini mags sold at grocery store checkout stands. My editor showed interest, but then there was a shake-up in the company and my chocolate-book idea fizzled like hot chocolate gone cold.
Ironically, in both books on disease-fighting antioxidant-rich vinegar and olive oil, I did mention chocolate (also chock-full of disease- fighting antioxidants). And, as a health-conscious Californian and self-professed chocolate lover, I have touched on the once forbidden food—chocolate—in health articles for women’s magazines including Woman’s World and Women’s Weekly. But I noted only chunks of its virtues, from how the good-for-you fatty food can boost your energy to how it can rev up your libido (maybe).
The amazing part is, I was assigned to write a book about my passion—chocolate—and this is how The Healing Powers of Chocolate became one of my favorite love affairs and was finally written by me, a health author who simply loves chocolate.
By being a San Francisco Bay Area native (a popular home of experienced chocolate makers and artisans), I was given the opportunity to share the real chocolate world through my research of famous chocolate makers (three major companies: Guittard and Ghirardelli, part of the Lindt empire; and Scharffen Berger, part of the Hershey moguls).
Also, olive oil, vinegar, and chocolate are linked to the traditional European diet and lifestyle, which continue to make headlines in research and news articles, and which I practice and preach to anyone who is interested in staying healthy and living longer by teaming health and indulgence.
I immediately began my mission and set out in the real world and cyberspace to discover the past and present standout benefits of chocolate: heart health, weight loss, home cures, beauty uses, and so much more. And never did I imagine what a wealth of information is in the wide, wide world of chocolate.
I took the holistic route to chocolate’s wonders and confirmed my instincts that chocolate is good for the body, mind, and spirit. I delved deep into the cutting-edge health benefits, original and edgy home cures, and anecdotes from both famous and everyday people, past and present. And that is why The Healing Powers of Chocolate will surprise you with its extraordinary surprises—like a box of healthful and heavenly chocolates, all natural, of course, and full of flavor.
So make yourself a cup of hot (or iced) chocolate (depending on what season it is), sit down, and grab a pencil (you’ll want to take notes!). I’ll show you, page by page, how this ancient “food of the gods” can be your best friend, too, for the end of time.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wellness in a Cup--TEA Healing Powers

Wellness in a Cup—
Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!
The Healing Powers of Tea:
A Complete Guide to Nature’s Special Remedy
It picks you up and calms you down, warms you and refreshes you. With black, white, red, green, and herbal varieties, there’s a tea for every taste, and now this time-honored superfood is trending as the drink of choice for health-conscious people of all ages and cultures. (Discover 10 Tidbits to Sweeten the Pot, page 14)
This fascinating book boils down the rich history of tea—as well as the ever-expanding list of health and weight loss benefits found in its leaves. (Learn about Milestones of Past and Present Uses of Tea, pages 26-27)
Discover how black and white teas are heating up the beverage world with antioxidants and nutrients that lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and fight off inflammation, viruses, and bacteria. (Find out more about tea-fighting perks for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, pages 51-54)
Learn how age-defying spa treatments made from tea can soothe your skin, soften your hair, and give you an all-over glow and peace of mind. (Enjoy the Beau-tea-ful Possibilities with a tea-infused spa treatments you can do at home! Pages 192-199)
Stir up over 50 home cures to give yourself more energy, less stress, treat the common cold, insomnia, and more! (A super A-Z guide for folk remedies using a combination of teas in the comfort of your home, pages pages 156-184)
Enjoy comforting and tea-licious recipes like Warm Scones with Jam and Devonshire Cream, Assorted Finger Sandwiches, Scrumptious White Tea Scallops, and Russian Tea Cookies paired with the perfect brew – hot or iced. (Love a Tea Menu-style collection of healthy recipes, pages 238-274)
Better health is just a sip away. With The Healing Powers of Tea (sweetened with lively stories) you’ll learn the hottest tips to improve your health, boost your brain power, and even clean your house! (Fill up your heart with emotions in the beginning of each chapter by reading a story that’ll warm your heart, make you laugh, cry, and feel inspired—all with the amazing powers of tea.)

Monday, September 3, 2018

Ring of Fire is on a Roll--Is the West Coast Next?

What’s Shakin’?
 (Is the Big One Coming?)

So what’s shaking around the world?  Some quake wizards are saying that the recent seismic activity in the Pacific Ring of Fire—a horse-shoe shaped region surrounding the Pacific Basin—is a big warning that the West Coast may be next for the “Big One”!
In a two day period, news reports revealed more than 70 earthquakes in this ring—strong shakers--hit different areas in August. Some scientists believe when the Ring of Fire (known for 80 percent of the world’s earthquakes and volcanoes) is super active it may be a super red flag--a superquake is coming. So, experts fear because the West Coast, which has been in an extreme seismic drought—yes, it's in the Ring of Fire--may be in the line of fire, so to speak. Read on.

Is the West Coast Next Up?
Scientists to earthquake sensitives, like me, believe when the Pacific Ring of Fire acts out—like now, especially Fiji (there was an 8.2 underwater shaker in August) that California, my home state, is next up. Yep, there’s been minor tremors in the late summer, including Greater Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Lake Tahoe—and all were reported in the news and by people who felt the Earth move and reported it to the United States Geological Survey. (Personally, I got a ring from my sibling for the Tahoe shaker which I did not feel. I said, "A 3-magnitude." The 4.1 was downgraded to a 3.8--but since it was shallow, Northern California folks felt it all the way in Reno to Sacramento.)

But while these tremors rattled nerves for locals and visitors, as well as nudged seismologists—it wasn’t the Big One that everyone knows is coming. As noted in the film San Andreas, it’s not if it will happen it is when. The more the Pacific Ring of Fire continues to shake, rattle, and roll, the more folks in California will be on edge, hopefully, get prepared while wondering if the seismic drought over. Or not. True, overall, the Golden State's recent newsworthy seismic events remind us that we are the 2nd most shaky state (Alaska is number one) and it’s just a matter of time when we really shake. But there’s more…

Cascadia Subduction Zone
            Years ago, when I wrote The Man Who Predicts Earthquakes, I learned about the Juan de Fuca plate beneath the North America plate. That's where under-thrusting near seacoasts have been called subduction zones known as plate tectonics. In the Pacific Northwest earthquakes can result in shallow quakes near the Cascadia trench and deeper earthquakes which affect Washington, Oregon, and most of Northern California.
            History tells us that a 9.0 or superquake hit the Cascadia Trench off the Washington Coast hundreds of years ago. Extreme ground shaking, flooding, earth changes all happened back in 1700. Also, this movement came with a tsunami that affected Japan killing hundreds of people.
If the Big One happens in the Cascadia Subduction Zone (from Vancouver, south to Washington, and Northern California) it could be a quick happening and create a deadly big wave like it did centuries ago. So, will history repeat itself? A great earthquake could certainly happen in the Pacific Northwest (and would be nightmare-ish). But let's not exclude California.
It is more than 100 years overdue for a great earthquake; and it’s been more than 20 years since a deadly shaker like the 1989 October 17 unforgettable San Francisco quake.

Ring of Fire Trigger Effect—Fact of Fiction
     Some scientists will tell you that when the Ring of Fire earthquakes start they seem to trigger one another. Several years ago, there was a succession of major and great earthquakes in the Ring of Fire and it set off earth changes gurus, from seismologists to geologists, to predict that California could be next in line. However, nothing happened.
That said, in June 2004 we experienced several earthquakes in a short span of time, from a 7.2 Offshore Northern California shaker and then a strong Southern California earthquake—like a ping pong effect within a few days. So, yes, while volcanic activity is believed by some experts to spawn more eruptions, the same could be possible with earthquakes.
Yet the late geologist Jim Berkland noted that after the great Indian Ocean quake-tsunami on December 26, 2004, he was amazed at the lack of 6-plus magnitude quakes which almost “shut down. Rather than triggering distant quakes,” he said, “it had the opposite effect (is there such a word as ‘untriggering’?” The jury is still out on if earthquakes trigger earthquakes. 

Will the “Big One” Affect You?
When a great earthquake happens in California as it did in 1906 in San Francisco followed by a deadly fire which was even worse, or the 1857 Southern California earthquake—it will certainly cause a chain reaction of demise for the rest of our country. The Golden State is touted for its produce (the fruits, vegetables, and nuts you love) and economics so when a great earthquake hits—America will feel a financial shake-up without a doubt.
And, if the Big One hits the Cascadia Subduction Zone it will also affect our nation because of the populated cities, including tech-savvy Seattle and San Francisco (which could be hit by effects of a tsunami).
The best-case scenario? When the “Big One” happens it would be better if the Earth shakes early in the morning or late at night so traffic on major roads is less than more. If the quake is offshore and deep it may not create a big waves which would be dodging a bullet, much like the recent 8.2 in Fiji instead of killer quake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. 
For now, we wait and we get ready (you know the drill--water stored for you, the cat, and dog to drop and cover--no running to the doorway--if the Earth moves) because living in the Ring of Fire earthquakes are inevitable. And, the Big One on the West Coast will happen but nobody knows the day or time when it will hit.

The 2018 Summer Ring of Fire
·        California, in the Ring of Fire, has been quiet but in the recent months some earthquakes up and down the state are reminders that it’s the shaky state.
·        In August, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake happened in the Pacific Ocean near Fiji but was too deep to cause a big wave like in 2004 when the quake shook the world on Boxing Day.
·        Not to ignore a 6.4-6.6 rattled Alaska, and a rare 6.2 rocked Offshore Oregon.
·        The “Big One” is not really it in Southern California or San Francisco—but will be the Cascadia Subduction Zone which could wreak havoc on California and the West Coast because a megaquake would likely include a tsunami affecting the coastal regions from Vancouver Island down to Northern California.
·        Minor earthquakes that hit Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area in late August and early September could be foreshocks for an overdue stronger earthquake by the end of October 2018 or before 2019. And as far as predicting the Pacific Northwest "Big One"--well I did forecast something like that for this year and we have four more months. The odds? Hopefully less than 10 percent.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Superfoods--It's Time to Savor Favorite Foods with a Twist!

By Cal Orey
Did you know the keys to a long life and vibrant good health can be found on the shelves of your local supermarket?
Pre-Order for Late Fall
Delivery--a Gift for all

Apples, leafy greens, shellfish, yogurt—even ice cream and pasta. The latest scientific studies reveal that many of the classic foods you’ve always loved are superfoods that can supercharge your health! Not only are they delicious, they’re affordable—plus these essential farm-to-table favorites can work with any diet plan, from the balanced Mediterranean Diet to the hunter-gatherer Paleo plan.
 With over 50 recipes for both cooked and raw dishes, including smoothies and soups, a detox juice fast and a jump-start pounds-off diet, this down-to-earth guide will show you how to get healthy and stay healthy with body-friendly superfoods.
*Boost your immune system with citrus and nutrient-dense berries, including fresh, frozen, and dried. 

*Enjoy the healthy fats in eggs and nuts, including nut butters, to fight inflammation, slow the aging process, and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

*Trade white sugar for antioxidant-rich sweeteners like maple syrup, the newest superfood!
*Create home remedies designed to ease anxiety, improve sleep, boost brainpower and enhance energy.

 *Keep your home spotless for kids and pets using eco-friendly superfood-rich formulas.
*Pamper your mind and body with the same food-based treatments that health spas use, including ingredients like seeds and seaweed. 

Now you can indulge in a Pesto Pizza or Berry Basil Smoothie, a Chicken Bone Broth or dark chocolate gelato, while chilling with an ancient-oats facial or relaxing in a warm, herb-scented bath. Infused with heartwarming stories and inspiring legends, The Healing Powers of Superfoods will take you to a world of wellness that starts at home with our favorite foods from Mother Nature—enjoyed in a new way with an exciting twist!