Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hooked on Iced Tea? Brew It Up Yourself

Hello June! Did you know this month is declared National Iced Tea Month? Well, now you do. So, is there an art to making iced tea? Sort of. On the South Shore I’ve become a master of tea—hot and iced. After all, two summers ago, I did write a book on tea—all kinds. I’m talking black, white, herbal and more.

During the writing of the book it was the summertime. I have a confession to make. One day I was too lazy and hot to brew tea bags so I hit the grocery store. I found a popular bottled iced tea. One six pack later—I was hooked. I wrote love notes about it!  “It is sweet and tangy. I can’t stay away. I need another fix.” I brought home another carton (okay, two) of the forbidden brew. And then my affair grew serious with bottled iced tea. I had a two pack a week habit.” And then began the analytical process to discover why my addiction was spinning out of control. It was a super pricey habit.

Yes, the 16-ounce bottled iced tea did give me refreshment and energy, too. Why? Uh, the caffeine and loads of sugar. I’m talking more than two dozen grams of sugar. After a while, I realized it provided calories—lots of calories that can add unwanted girth during our warm weather days and nights. After a month or two (remember, I was in love) I tapered and ditched the sugary tea habit. I found my replacement…
 Homemade tea entered my life. The cool thing is, I could choose my favorite tea or tisane, and control the amount of sugar or honey. Can we spell “healthier”? Oh yeah. So here you go. It gets easier as you get used to the switch.

DIY Lemon Iced Tea
2 cups water
5 tea bags, orange pekoe, white, green or chamomile
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
Honey to taste, preferably local (or try Carson City’s beekeepers); you can also use white granulated sugar, but use less than more
Cinnamon sticks
Mint sprigs (optional)
Lime slices
Ice (bag of ice cubes)
            Bring fresh cold water to a boil and pour 2 cups over tea bags. Cover and brew 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add 2 cups cold water. Stir. Pour into chilled, ice-filled tea mugs or glasses. Add honey to taste. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, citrus, and mint. Serves 4.

Do I ever miss the bottled iced tea? Uh, yeah. Will I cave this month and during this summer? I might once or twice grab a ready to drink bottle because once you try it, it’s heavenly. It’s mixed, chilled, and tastes so sweet. But my homemade recipe (which you can tweak with an endless variety of flavored teas and tisanes, fruits and herbs) is better for your mind and belly.

Speaking of weight, next time you’re at your local Safeway grab a container of Killer Salsa (it’s full of fat-burning herbs!) and a bag of whole grain tortilla chips. Salsa is low-cal and chips are well, fun food. Moderation is key! Pair it up and sip your custom-tailored tea. You’ll get that super kick of just-do-it caffeine and nature’s sweet honey buzz for summer days and nights. Bottoms up!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Lose 5 Pounds in 3 Days--Yikes! Did You Gain Weight? Dump It Fast!

Vinegar Semi-Fasts to Lose Weight Fast

As a former diet and nutrition columnist for Woman's World magazine (touting the latest zany weight loss fad diet for the week--often the big cover story), I can tell you both millions of women (and men)--and popular celebs--want to lose pounds and body fat super fast--and whittle their waistline. Yep, we all want that flat tummy. So, can taking the ACV cure do it alone? 
Nope. While ACV does work wonders and can help you lose weight, I know that on this planet it takes more than one magic bullet to shrink your tummy. Here, take a look at some tips to team with that tablespoon of ACV (I prefer Bragg Organic brand) in water a couple of times a day (lemon and raw honey can improve the tart taste), which can help to suppress your appetite. Psst! It's the acetic acid that may boost your metabolism and help to dissolve unhealthy body fat. (I discuss this topic with a nutritional expert in Chapter 16 "Fat-Burning Vinegar" in The Healing Powers of Vinegar.)

* Graze: Eating smaller, more frequent meals is key to a trimmer tummy. (I even feed my pooches their premium dog food in smaller meals. And they've always had lean and lanky, elegant bodies--no belly fat which can lead to heart woes to diabetes 2 for both pets and humans. No kidding.)

* Fill Up On Fiber: High fiber diets can help you. Low-fat, fiber rich foods provide bulk, which is filling and promotes regularity. Both add up to a flatter stomach. This is oh-so true year-round.

* Eat High-Potassium Foods: Potassium-rich foods help decrease unwanted water retention--and flatten your tummy. Apples, bananas, cantaloupe, dried apricots, vegetables, salads (paired with lean protein, olive oil and red wine vinegar, fat-burning herbs), and watermelon are high in bloat-busting potassium. They act as natural diuretics, which may reduce what looks like a kangeroo's pouch-type tummy. (Recently, I bought a $4 seedless watermelon and it is so sweet, juicy, and it's amazing. Forget the kind I grew up with with those pesky black seeds! Check out the link above to learn all about this watermelon treasure.)

* Shake The Salt Habit: Salt can cause water retention, which may cause the stomach to look and feel bloated. Read food labels and if you see a food item is too high is sodium, forego eating it.

* Eat Natural Foods: Foods full of chemicals and high in refined sugars are calorie-dense and can pack on abdominal fat.

* Lose The Soda: Carbonated beverages can add to that bloated feeling. Instead, turn to water--it's a natural diuretic, so it'll help you shed bloat. As a past Diet Coke fan, I have learned to stock the fridge and pantry with Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water. You can do it--and you won't want to go back. And, get a move on--drinking water, too, to stay hydrated. Aerobic activity, like these other fat-blasting secrets of the stars, will help you to melt belly fat. It takes 15 or 20 minutes before you start to burn fat. Try a half-hour of walking or swimming.

* Do not eat after 7 PM...Drink water, herbal tea and give your body a break until breakfast.

Note: (Both 2 day and 7 day diet plans are in the book to zap 7 lbs+ in 1 wk! Then, onto the top ranked heart-healthy, ranked #3 diet plan in the U.S. Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle...The Healing Powers of Vinegar is available at Walmart, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and #2 at in naturopathy and other online bookstores.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Superfoods from Farm-to-Table and Tea for Summertime Weight Loss

Superfoods from Farm-to-Table

2019 Released
32 Color Photos!
#7 Healing Powers Series
* June is National Iced Tea Month! Grab a copy of The Healing Powers of Tea and Superfoods for the Summer! Lose weight, gain energy!

Did you know the keys to a long life and vibrant good health can be found on the shelves of your local supermarket?

If you haven’t heard by now, listen up. Your health—mind, body, and spirit—may depend on it. Chances are, you like me, already have superfoods in your kitchen fridge, cupboards, and on the countertops. I’m talking about whole foods—good, clean, edible fare—most processed junk with ingredients you can’t pronounce or define.
The verdict is in, and it has been evident since the ancient caveman and hunter-gatherer days. Eating a whole foods, natural, plant-based diet is the path to good health and well-being. The best superfoods can and do vary, but despite controversy between the food of the week in the media and scientific nutritional studies backing them, superfoods are functional foods—not a gimmick to sell products or a brand despite what some medical doctors believe. Yes, superfoods are real food with super nutrients that provide super healing powers.
Graze with Mediterranean Cheese Plates
Infuse Water to Detox and Energize
Lose Unwanted Weight
The top U.S. ranked heart-healthy Mediterranean diet includes all of my top favorite picks! In an A-Z order, common foods of the groups include: cheese and yogurt, fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables, and water—an overlooked superfood for survival. Here, take a look at Mother Nature’s favorite functional foods.

1 CHEESE:  Cheese can be upgraded into superfood status by using the right kind and right amount and pairing it with whole-grain bread, nuts, and berries. Grilled cheese sandwiches were common kid food in the twentieth century, and they were budget friendly during the Great Depression. But some nutritionists do not believe cheese—any kind—deserves to be included on the healthiest-foods list, let along tagged a superfood, because of its high fat and high sodium content.
“Cheese is a ‘good’ food!” I find myself saying. Cheese is a super source of calcium, which is good for calming your nervous system and for your teeth and bones. Past medical research shows that people who get an adequate amount of calcium by eating a moderate amount of dairy, which includes cheese, may be likely to keep their blood pressure numbers in check—lowering their risk of heart disease and stroke.
2 GREEK YOGURT: The popularity of yogurt grew in the 1950s and 1960s, but it made it mark at health food stores. In twenty-first-century supermarkets, there are an array of brands and types of yogurt, including low-fat and fat-free varieties. But it’s Greek yogurt that is gaining popularity—and for good reason.
Homemade Granola with Greek Yogurt
Like cheese, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are superfoods—and taste great drizzled with raw honey or mixed with fresh fruit. In moderation, this dairy staple is touted for its heart-healthy powers, bone-boosting merits, and immune-enhancing perks thanks to its probiotics. Plain Greek yogurt is also rich in the mineral potassium. Both calcium and potassium may help you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in check.
3 MAPLE SYRUP: By the 1900s, maple syrup was used throughout the United States, mostly as a topping for pancakes and waffles. These days, maple syrup is pair with other superfoods, such as homemade granola, all-natural ice cream, whole grain oatmeal, smoothies, and sweet potatoes.
Antioxidant-rich Maple Syrup, 
egg-y whole-grain bread, berries
While honey is touted as one of nature’s top superfood sweeteners, premium antioxidant-rich maple syrup is getting more recognition for its nutritional benefits. One-fourth cup of premium maple syrup contains fewer calories than high-fructose syrup, corn syrup, or brown sugar. It boasts more calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin and zine than most sweeteners. And maple syrup has more disease-fighting antioxidants than raw cabbage—also a superfood.
4 PIZZA (with Toppings): Food historians will share with you that in Naples during the 1700s and 1800s, pizza was a food popular with money-challenged folks. The food was called “flat breads,” and it had toppings such as cheese and tomatoes—two superfoods on the top 20 list.
Greek Pizza--Thin Whole-Grain Crust,
Tomatoes, Spinach
Feta Cheese--Moderation! Scientists give a 

thumbs up to sauce
Yes, a slice of pizza.  But it is whole-grain crust and superfood toppings that make it a healthful food. The crust gives you lost of energy and a dose of good-for-you nutrients. Choose superfood cheeses, such as goat cheese, feta, that provide you extra protein benefits. Not to forget a tomato-based (or basil-rich pesto) sauce.
5 POTATOES (RUSSET/SWEET):  As the story goes, the first potato reached Spain in the sixteenth century. Back in 1578, Sir Francis Drake introduced potatoes in his around-the-word adventures. Later, in 1662, it is believed that the British Royal Society sponsored growing potatoes, and by the early 1700s, potatoes were embraced by people in the United States.
Sweet Potatoes are a Superfood!
In the southern United States, folks love their sweet potatoes (whether it’s sweet potato fries or sweet potato pie), and it’s not just the super taste they’re getting. This potato has a whopping amount of vitamin A, which can enhance your immune system to stave off colds, flu, and even cancer. Medical researchers believe the carotene in them can guard again some types of cancers, perhaps because it can boost white blood cell activity in the body.
            So now you’re in the know about which superfoods are super for you—whether you live on the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, or in the Deep South. Despite changes to Earth due to man’s tampering and nature’s wrath, we still can enjoy nature’s healthiest foods. But sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get the real deal.

Garden of Apples

During one harvest season time in California, I envisioned going to an out-of-town farm in Placerville to pick apples (another superfood) off trees. I had images of  my younger sibling and me meeting a friendly farmer who’d take us on a tractor followed by a couple of herding dogs. The autumn sunshine would warm us up while we carried baskets to fill with big, fresh apples. We’d climb on stools and pick nature’s finest fruit. Excited about the rural experience awaiting us, we drove down the winding road, off the hill, there was a glitch.
Organic Apples Are Best
I didn’t see apples on trees. Not one. A big sign read: “No apple picking.” I left and drove up the road, but the farms and small stores all had signs reading “Closed.” Locals told me, “Tourists can’t pick apples.” I ended up at a busy tourist attraction. Pumpkins and Christmas trees were visible and for sale, hot dogs and cotton candy to pricey fruit—including apples.
Disappointed I drove back up to the hill. I ended up at our local grocery store and picked up a bag of organic apples at a good price. Later, I discovered I wasn’t the only one who had endured such a wild ride at the apple haven. I was told by the apple organization that it had been a busy harvest time and we had come late in the season. There were farms, though, that did offer apple picking, but I had missed the apple boat. So my fantasy remains in my imagination until next year. Nowadays, it’s places like Apple hill, farmers’ markets, and supermarkets that all do sell organic produce and superfoods for you to enjoy.

Adapted from The Healing Powers of Superfoods: A Complete Guide To Nature’s Favorite 
Functional Foods by Cal Orey (Kensington Books, Citadel, 2019). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

TEA Book Hits #1 Best Seller for Spring!

5 Questions for Healing Powers Series Author--Tea, Superfoods, Honey...

Online Bookstores Are Showing The Healing Powers
of Tea is #1 and #2 Best Seller
in Many Categories
National Iced Tea Month is June!
5 Questions and Answers


As a California native (a state touted for its no-nonsense health nuts) author Cal Orey, M.A., is an accomplished author and journalist. She grew up in the post-hippie era. In her teens she rebelled against processed canned and frozen foods and meat. That is when she began to have an interest in health and natural living... 

Enter the Mediterranean Diet—rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, some dairy, wine, water, and exercise.  You’ll find easy and sophisticated recipes for satisfying foods like Pizza Baguettes with Garlic Oil, Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies, and Macadamia Nut Oil Cookies. Also, included: home cures that beat colds and reduce pain, beauty and household secrets, and pet care tips that really work! 

Deliciously healing surprising…

Q: Sugar or Fat? Which one does a writer need more?
Fat. I used to be a sugar junkie. These days, when I incorporate real butter (no fake stuff for me) and oil(s) with superfoods, I’m satisfied and keep lean and fit. Sugar on occasion in natural ice cream and a homemade cookie or brownie finds its way to my life, but only in moderation.

Q: Your writing resumes are impressive. Two degrees in writing, three decades of articles and book experience. How did you end up as the Healing Powers Series author?
A: Before finishing grad school at San Francisco State University, I was a published magazine writer. I used to write articles for well-known men’s mags. I spun both fiction and non-fiction. Then, I moved over to women’s mags and wrote about every romance and relationship topic imaginable. Fast forward to 1999. I got my first real book deal from Kensington, a New York publisher. (I penned dozens of diet-related mini mags found in grocery stores.)
Many moons later, I’m known as the Healing Powers author. I’ve written eight books on superfoods: vinegar, olive oil, chocolate, honey, coffee, tea, superfoods, and essential oils. (Most of these books have been embraced by major book clubs including, One Spirit, Literary Guild, Quality Paperback, and Good Cook.)

Q: Your Healing Power series has also been translated in 20 languages; Congratulations! Tell us a little about the past and new updated and revised olive oil book.
A: When I started the vinegar book, red wine vinegar was supposed to be the new twist.  During my research, however, I discovered while it does contain some good for you compounds like resveratrol (found in red wine), I needed more information to honestly tout vinegar’s health benefits. I fell into the wide world of the Mediterranean Diet and lifestyle because it includes not only red wine but healthful olive oil—and that superfood led to the first and second edition—The Healing Powers of Olive Oil, A Complete Guide to Nature’s Liquid Gold, Revised and Updated. The first edition is my second best-selling book and now the second edition has been released--three formats. Vinegar has sold more than 1/4 million copies.

Q:  Did you discover any real surprises while researching your books?
A: I found out that other oils, including coconut and canola, have healing perks. Combining olive oil with other oils can help fight fatigue, infections, and insomnia, and help you to fight fat and shape up! Tea? I'm still in love with chamomile (it keeps you young) and adore white tea! Superfoods? Ah, pizza, cheese, potatoes, ice cream? You betcha. The right kind in moderation, though. 

Q: What's an interesting fact about olive oil that most people don't know?
A:  Discovering the you can combine a variety of oils is becoming more commonplace in the kitchen; even seen on Food Network with its creative celeb chefs as well as every day folks are teaming these oils in entrees to desserts as well as home cures and beauty recipes.

Q: Did you learn something new that will shock readers?
A: Bring on the butter—especially the right kind and right amount. When paired with oils, this twentieth-century “forbidden” saturated fat is a new twenty-first-century health food. I’ve learned that while I was sneaking butter into my recipes and diet that I was doing the right thing. Lose the margarine!

Q. Do you have a personal favorite dish that you use two oils instead of just olive oil?
A: Chocolate! I simply adore chocolate semi-homemade brownies. It makes my kitchen smell like I’ve soared to Chocolate Heaven and the taste and crunch with nuts and chewy coconut takes me away to a happy place.

Q. Bonus Question. What's new in your book collection?
A. The Healing Powers of Vinegar, gift size 3rd edition, The Healing Powers of Superfoods, and the new book in progress! The Healing Powers of Essential Oils.

Chocolate muffins with coconut oil can work, too...
Check out The Healing Powers of Chocolate book!
Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies
* * *
Welcome to fudgy brownies with both olive oil and coconut oil. Also, dark chocolate and nuts are part of this bar—heart healthy foods—perfect for February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day. This is a classic recipe but with my own healing oils spin of semi-homemade (the brownie mix nutrition label reads no trans fats). But note, these bars are good so if you want to stave off a “muffin top” as noted in Eat Pray Love,  savor one not a whole batch like I did.

¼ cup and 2 teaspoons cup extra virgin olive oil                   ¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup water                                                                             2 organic brown eggs
1 package store-bought premium dark chocolate                  ¼ cup cake flour 
brownie mix (with no trans fats)                                             (at high altitude)
½ cup dark chocolate chips                                                    ½ cup almonds or walnuts, sliced
1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded                                       
butter for greasing dish
In a large bowl, combine oil, beaten eggs, and water. Add brownie mix and flour, stir till smooth. Fold in chips and nuts. Lightly grease (with extra virgin olive oil or butter) an 8-inch-by8-inch glass square dish, pour and spread brownie mixture. (Or pour batter into a cupcake paper lined muffin pan.) Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes. Don't over bake. While warm from the oven, sprinkle top with coconut. Makes about 12 brownies. Serve with coffee or tea. More amazing healing oils shared in dozens of new recipes.   The Healing Powers Series at all online bookstore! All formats! 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Iced Tea Month Is In June! Get Ready!

By Cal Orey
* * *

This recipe is California-inspired from when I was in my twenties and lived in Fresno, a farming region in the central state where orange groves are plentiful. During the hot summer afternoons I’d drink iced orange pekoe (pronounced PECK-oh)--a grade of orthodox black tea--to get energized so I could enjoy riding a ten speed bicycle accompanied by my soulmate with paws, a young and healthy black Labrador retriever Stone Fox, with dark brown soulful eyes and a smile to melt my heart. He’d run free through orange groves, we’d race until we were whooped. From my backpack, I’d treat me to cold tea in a thermos and let my dog drink water from a fountain to regroup.
2 cups water
5 tea bags, orange pekoe (Harney and  Sons--a blend of Assam and Ceylon)
Granulated white sugar or honey to taste
Lemon or orange slices
Fresh mint
            Bring fresh cold water to a boil and pour 2 cups over tea bags. Cover and brew 3 to 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add 2 cups cold water. Stir. Pour into chilled, ice-filled tea mugs or glasses. Add sugar or honey to taste. Garnish with lemon slices and mint. Serves 4.

            Going back to basic tea beverages sometimes is like embracing tradition that gets better with time. In the next chapter, “A Historical Testimony,” I’ll show you exactly how tea continues to get praise and why it’s good enough to have a well-stocked pantry for "…the best of times…the worst of times" with respect to the words of author Charles Dickens’ “The Tale of Two Cities” and all authors, including this one, who turn to tea for inspiration and to find their Zen.
[Excerpt from THE HEALING POWERS OF TEA © 2017 Cal Orey.  All Rights Reserved.  Reprinted with permission from Kensington Publishing.]

The Healing Powers of Tea (Read another excerpt on tea and beauty plus a Q and A from the author for The Daily Tea.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Salsa, Chips and Tea. Anyone?

So welcome to shoulder season around the Lake. The erratic weather messes with your body and mind. Enter food cravings. Hot food? Cold food? Yikes!  No worries. Hot salsa and warm tortilla chips are the perfect answer to work for you no matter what Mother Nature does this season.
I’ll be honest with you. I am a salsa and chip addict. On the South Shore I’ve ordered them at different Mexican restaurants. I’ve bought the “Killer” salsa in the plastic container at Safeway—it’s to live for. And there was this small dive I used to visit when running errands around town. For 1.99 I got a container of salsa to write home about and a bag of light, crispy warm chips.
One day I asked the girl at counter. “Why is this salsa so inexpensive? You should charge more.” She smiled and handed me the smooth and spicy sauce and chips in a to-go bag. Another time I stopped by to be “gifted” my salsa and chips. The girl was MIA. An older, no-nonsense man gave me my usual fare. He mumbled, “4.99.” Huh? I paid the price but blamed myself for boldly suggesting the rate increase.
So this DIY recipe is a tribute to the small eatery that made me smile (at 1.99 or 4.99). I usually make chunky salsa with summertime herbs for the thrill of it. This time around I changed it up and tried the smooth variety with a different texture as a tribute to the girl who gave me a great deal on salsa and chips.
tomato-Jalapeno SALSA AND CHIPS
2 cups tomatoes, fresh, diced (I used the Roma variety)
¼ cup onion, yellow or red, chopped
¼ cup jalapeno pepper, seeded, diced
2 teaspoons garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons cilantro, dried (fresh is better but wait until summer)
½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence (optional)
A dash of ground pepper, sea salt to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
In a blender (mine has a pulse button) or food processor combine tomatoes, onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices, lemon juice. Pulse about one dozen times. Put into container, cover. Chill in fridge at lease one hour.
The TEA book ranks #1 Best Seller on
many bookseller websites--for 3 days now!
Ebook sale 1.99!
Baked Tortilla Chips: Slice 6 wheat flour tortillas. (You can use corn or white if preferred.) Cut tortillas in half. Slice three times like a pie or pizza. Place on two cookie sheets. Drizzle with olive oil or canola oil. Sprinkle with ground pepper and sea salt. In a 350 degree oven bake about six to 10 minutes. Turn once. Remove when light brown. *You can fry tortilla slices in canola oil for crispier chip but baked is healthier and lower in saturated fat. Salas and chips serves 4-6. Yes, you can double the recipe. And don't forget to put on a kettle for tea time! Hot or iced. Both will work for the roller coaster temperatures.
Homemade salsa tastes fresh. Sure, homegrown herbs or ones you buy at the store make it even better. Right now during shoulder season dried herbs are more convenient and likely cost less in the long run. There’s nothing like going to a restaurant and being served warm chips with delicious salsa. But making this appetizer yourself at home? Yep, it’s the same and well, you’ve got total control of adding more or less of your favorite ingredients and the heat—warm or hot. Is it worth the extra time and effort? Yeah, it is from the first chip to the last. And hey, you can enjoy extra salsa and chips the day after—whatever the temperature is outdoors.