Monday, November 30, 2020

Vinegar Book Has Hit Amazon Best Seller List: #1 A Lot! Pre-Winter Sale 1.99

 BCal Orey

Many days ago, my long-time popular book The Healing Powers of Vinegar (published by Kensington Books) surprised me again. When looking at the author sales rank numbers via amazon's Author Central spot, the chart looked different. That line like in the stocks chart showed a huge spike--it was at the top--#1. Words above read: Author Best Seller. I was in shock like when my dog died but this time my book lived and was thriving! My hardworking brainstorm baby hit number one in the Kindle Store ebooks! A 21st century feat my 20th century professors in SFSU grad school Creative Writing classes never told us could happen because the Internet changed the author's game in sales. But it did. (And yeah, I do weave informative creative non-fiction stories throughout the text in VINEGAR to make it a fun read.)

Turns out my first book of the Healing Powers series--The Healing Powers of Vinegar--is offered at a sale price via Kindle on amazon. Turns out many genres picked it up. That means the  book hit #1 in many categories, including Healthy Cooking,  and Health, Diet, Fitness.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Mediterranean Diet is heart healthy,
staves off cancers, obesity
Actually, while this event is still eye-opening I shouldn't be too wowed. After all, VINEGAR has been my number one "child" in the Healing Powers series. When I was assigned this book project back in 1999, I didn't know it would be such a competitive wonder.  I fell into theMediterranean Diet --an underlying theme in this book and the collection) (also very popular as I type). While doing research on the link between health perks of red wine vinegar and red wine--studies and scientists took me to olive oil (a key superfood in the healthful Old world European-style diet and lifestyle), and my second book (also available in 2nd edition--2 minute fun-to-watch trailer; due out in gift size mass market December 29 and can be on your doorstep).

So, as I continue to enjoy these two books gain attention, I do recall VINEGAR has been translated in more than a dozen languages, a story including the book graced the cover of Woman's World Magazine (I used to be the diet and nutrition columnist for this publication attracting millions of readers), Newsmax still touts the book (in online newsletters and their online store), and it was a best seller in South Korea. Plus, book clubs picked up both VINEGAR and OLIVE OIL for their readers... (HONEY, CHOCOLATE, AND COFFEE books in the series were also formerly featured in the club, including Good Cook and Literary Guild.) And not to forget VINEGAR is popular at Walmart stores--physical and online (page 1) Not only has VINEGAR been released in 1st and 2nd editions, the 3rd edition will be released this summer (new Mediterranean-style rustic recipes from me and renowned spa chefs, new research, new stories)--both books are keepers; dozens of current edition's recipes will be found only in the 2nd edition. And I still peek at the winning title of amazon kindle best seller in Healthy Cooking ... My mother, an awesome cook/bakeress would be proud of her daughter who didn't follow recipe directions as a kid in the kitchen; a teen who rebelled and went her own way in diet and health.
Meanwhile, folks who want lose pounds during the holidays and through the New Year can find vinegar diets, superfoods, and how it works to blast fat  in this kindle edition. And there is so much more to put to work... 

  • Discover the healing powers of apple cider vinegar--now widely recognized as a valuable weight loss tool and a potent elixir.
   • Find out how vinegar's curative powers can also help prevent age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease, and bone loss. 
   • Learn how red wine vinegar contains the same important antioxidants as red wine--without the alcohol. 
   • Put dozens more home remedies to work for treating allergies, arthritis, toothache, sunburn, swimmer's ear, sore throat, and other pesky ailments.
You'll also find a wealth of natural beauty treatments and environment-friendly household hints--from making kitchen countertops sparkle to cleaning up kids and pets. 

Incorporating the latest scientific evidence, plus Mediterranean-style heart-healthy "fisheterian" recipes, The Healing Powers of Vinegar is a must-have, invaluable resource that will show you how to make the most of this proven powerful healer! 

"Wonderfully useful for everyone interested in health." --Elson Haas, M.D., author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

On the Streets Then and Now

 By Cal Orey

On the road in my 20s I always traveled with a
canine companion
…A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity, and in poverty, in health, and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and snow drives fiercely, if only he may be by his master’s side... 

Today, I viewed an article about the rise of homelessness around our country during a pandemic. It brought me back to the past when I was a journalist hired by a publication to go out into the field and interview homeless pets and their people on the streets of San Francisco. The men and women I met left a "paw print" on my spirit and heart for years to come. After all, back in the Seventies, I was a hippie hitchhiker--but in reality a homeless girl with her dog-- roaming across America and Canada. And this topic is timeless around the globe.

On the Streets
Homeless Pets and Their People

There’s a memorable scene in the movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills where Nick Nolte, a homeless man, loses his little tan dog, Kerouac and soon after attempts to end his life by jumping into a wealthy businessman’s backyard swimming pool.
            In the hands of this actor, this is a very moving scene. Behind the absurd outcome, however, is the painful truth about down and out people and our society’s often cold and insensitive attitude toward the way the homeless pets and their people really feel.
            Many dog and cat owners—perhaps even you—may one day be just a paycheck or an illness away from becoming homeless. And when a story like this one shows the streets being a home to people and their sleeping bags, pets and shopping carts, you, like, like all pet people may wonder, “How do the homeless and their pets live?”
            I spent several days on the streets with the disenfranchised and my report, while sad, still serves to illustrate the patience and devotion the companion animal holds for his owner, no matter what the circumstances.
            In San Francisco during the Depression dogs kept company with the jobless and transient hobos. During the turbulent Sixties dogs freeloaded with the hippies on Haight Street and freeway ramps. And now, amid a recession, pets band together with the homeless in the Tenderloin and at Golden Gate Park. Regardless of the era or locale, it’s the pet, however, who sticks by his or her owner’s side—for better or worse.
            Statistics prove pets and their people who are homeless, ill or financially destitute are far too common on the streets of San Francisco today.  In the Bay Area, there were an estimated 46,000 homeless in 1988. How many own pets? No one knows for sure. But you can bet it’s a lot.
            Often it is the homeless person rather than society who is blamed when the inevitable doubt arises: “Did he create his plight?” And too frequently, the judgmental question is posed by the homeless themselves who more times than not, have lost their pride and self-worth.


            Reno, a homeless person, for example, owns two dogs in San Francisco.  After a painful divorce, several years ago the anguished man grabbed his guitar and pup, left Colorado, and hit the road. For over five years, Reno has been broke and struggling on the streets of San Francisco with his “two girls”—Tramp, an Australian Shepherd/Bull Terrier and Puget Sound, a black Labrador retriever from Washington state.
            Often the 38-year-old unkempt man and his two canines can be found on Market Street where they panhandle for food. Some people call the homeless with dogs, like Reno, “scam artists.” Many turn their heads. And others are losing patience and won’t spare a dime. Dog or not.
            One recent afternoon, in between tears and flashing a snap shot of three dogs, Reno said  he had lost Puget’s daughter, Bingo in an operation. He blamed the doctors for “killing his dog.” Not surprising, his anger and frustration carries over to The City’s Mayor, and the police who often harass the homeless and keep them from living at Civic Center Plaza.
            Reno’s feelings are common among homeless people. “Maybe, the only one that cares and gives support is their companion animal,” says Richard Avanzino, president of the San Francisco SPCA. “Because homeless people have this unique bond and special relationship, in many cases, the animals are better cared for than they take care of themselves. And that’s because the animal has stood by their side when society and the world and human beings have discarded them.”
            Why? Why do people (veterans, children, adults with disabilities, single parents, teenagers, part-time employees—without housing, end up on the streets?
            Experts answer that the primary reason of homelessness is lack of affordable housing. Also other societal factors such as low-paying jobs, inaccessible health care, as well as personal disasters, drug abuse and alcoholism can cause homelessness.
            Despite the growing problem of homeless people and their pets, it continues. Slowly, pet owners coping with hard times are fighting back, and rediscovering their dignity, civil rights, and freedom.


            As a Vietnam veteran living in the Tenderloin, Ray Masterson was homeless for 20 years. With a likeness to John Steinbeck’s fictional character Pirate, a dog-loving man who owned five dogs in Tortilla Flat, he tells his story: “After I got out of the service it was hard to hold down a job, moving from one part of the country to the other. I’ve always had a dog when I’ve been without a home. It’s a fulfillment of being needed. It’s like having a family that I don’t have.”
            Ray has owned several dogs while homeless: Corky, a Coyote/Dingo; Samson, a Husky/Wolf; Toker, a Pit Bull Terrier/Great Dane; and Bear, a Pit Bull Terrier/Chow Chow. “Corky was a real good panhandler,” he says and laughs out loud. “Bear took right to freight trains. Every animal I’ve has had their own personalities and quirks. I got Bear on the rebound because Corky had been run over by a tractor trailer up in Oregon. I worked my way around for about a month and somebody gave me Bear as a pup. As he grew bigger and stronger I got tired of carrying his food and water plus mine in a backpack—so I built him a pair of donkey saddle bags. He carried his own food and water for over a year.
            “Bear and I were homeless in The City for about nine months. We slept up in the churchyard mostly, where we had permission from the church. Bear wouldn’t let anybody near me,” explains Ray. Like a proud father, he points out Bear’s distinct facial features, and adds, that as a pup his dog’s face was full of fuzzy fur resembling a California Grizzly Bear.
            These days the 37-year-old war vet who’d spend his last five dollars on his dog, receives compensation from the government for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even though Ray’s off the streets for now, he’s busy at work as a homeless advocate.
So when society turns their back on people who are down and out it’s understandable why these folks go to man’s best friend for comfort. One man’s words---attributed to Senator George Vest in 1870—from his writing “Tribute To A Dog” says it best:
“…A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity, and in poverty, in health, and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow, and snow drives fiercely, if only he may be by his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all others desert, he remains.” 

(Reprinted with permission from D The Dog Magazine, Vol. 1, N0. 7, 1991 issue.)

For my stories, pick up a copy of The Healing Powers of Honey (Kensington) and read the beginning of each chapter for more dog and human tales.  

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Chocolate Rx for Pandemic Depression

 By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

Ever wonder if chocolate can cure health ailments and cosmetic problems? It can! I'll describe 10 uses for some common woes, from A to Z, and provide amazing but different chocolate folk remedies for each Chocolate Rx--straight from The Healing Powers of Chocolate (Kensington) -- which includes dozens of chocolate home cures. So, take two chocolates (or sip a coffee mocha) and call me in the morning. (1.99 at

What Chocolate Rx to Use: Try eating an ounce (or two) of dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa content to lessen sugar intake) or drinking a cup of hot dark chocolate once a day during a bout of pain. Also, teaming this remedy with aerobic exercise (such as walking or swimming) can help loosen tight muscles and improve symptoms of pain. A soothing Jacuzzi is also helpful for achy muscles.
Why You'll Like It: Chocolate is rich in magnesium, a mineral that can help both muscle pain and stress. Both exercise and hydrotherpy paired with dark chocolate (it includes endorphins--natural painkillers in your body that act on the nervous system to alleviate pain).
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Try drinking a cup of hot chocolate (unsweetened cocoa with organic milk) or bar infused with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals.
Why You'll Like It: While anyone suffering from anorexia should consult a doctor, adding multivitamins, minerals, herbs, an healthy food high in complex carbs may provide help in dealing with this eating disorder. Functional foods, like dark chocolate, chock-full of healthful mood-boosting compounds, can be beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit.
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Team chocolate with other bone builders, including magnesium, manganese, and calcium-rich milk. Each day opt for a cup of chocolate milk or a chocolate shake (low-fat if you're counting calories).
Why You'll Like It: Magnesium is great for beating bone loss, as well as calcium absorption. You need manganese, another bone-boosting mineral, to maintain bone cartilage and bone collagen formation. A bonus tip: Drink your energizing chocolate shake before or afgter exercise. Weight-bearing exercise (such as lifting free weights) can also keep your bones strong.
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Try two squares of dark chocolate or exotic truffles found from chocolatiers like Lake Champlain Chocolates. Repeat as needed in moderation.
Why You'll Like It: A chocolate square (especially infused with spices, herbs, and fruit) is convenient, quick, and it works. So whether you have a test or a mental task to tend to , wouldn't it be fun to enjoy something that is good for you as well as tastes superb?
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Chocolate recipes, from breakfast muffins, cocoa pasta, fudge and lava cake, can help zap mood swings.
Why You'll Like It: Not only will youg get a serotonin boost (a hormone that may be lacking often during cold, dark winter days), but the monounsaturated fat from both chocolate and olive oil (used in baked goods with chocolate) may help lift your spirits so you'll not be such a crab.
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Try a half-cup serving of Mexican or Sicilian mole, complete with spices, such as cayenne, chili paired with antioxidant-rich, immune-boosting onions, garlic--and chocolate. Serve over whole-wheat pasta or brown rice. Note: Dark chocolate infused with chili spice is a treat that will suffice, too.
Why You'll Like It: Hot spices help unblock sinuses. Hot foods stimulate nasal secretions and loosen up unwanted muscus.
7 SLUGGISH (Athletic lack of energy)
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Drink a cup of brewed coffee mocha before you perform your physical performance.
Why You'll Like It: Athletes are all too familiar with the energetic buzz linked to the properties of quality chocolate and java. Not only does it enhance energy, but it also curbs distracting hunger pangs before participating in a physical event. And yes, brewed coffee contains caffeine (about 85 milligrams pwer 8-ounce mug), much more than chocolate (1 ounce of semi-sweet dark chocolate contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine).
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Put chocolate bars, unsweetened cocoa powders, pistoles, and enhanced healthy chocolate cookies in an airtight container, and store these chocolate lifesavers with your emergency supplies.
Why You'll Like It: If you are waiting for a tornado to hit or miss, having chocolate can uplift your spirits, calm your nerves, and keep your mind alert. If disaster hits, such as an earthquake or flood to power outage, chocolate in easy to eat form will be a godsend as you cope with the disaster or rejoice that you got through it.
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Both morning and night, drink an 8-ounce glass or cup of dark chocolate with a 70 percent cocoa content and/or try chocolate fondue with fresh fruits--strawberries and apples. Team this with drinking six to eight glasses of water, and fresh vegetables or juices. Plus, take a multivitamin mineral supplement.
Why You'll Like It: This chocolate and bloat-busting fresh produce/water cure boasts an all-natural diuretic effect. You can follow this remedy for one or two days and this will help your cells release retained water.
What Chocolate Rx to Use: Run, do not walk, to your nearest health spa and order a pampering, youth-boosting antiaging treatment, such as a chocolate bubble bath.
Why You'll Like It: Pampering your body also takes care of your spirit. Plus, the Bella Lucce Chocolate in a spa bath includes anti-aging antioxidants so your skin will feel smooth and rejuvenated to the touch. Or you can use the chocolate beauty treatment in the comfort of your home. No matter what age you are, this is a healthful and soothing trick to feed your senses and ageless soul.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Healing Powers of Tea is on Ebook Sale for Late Fall! A Cup of Wellness for Pre-Winter

  By Cal Orey

Then, it happened. The day after Thanksgiving, The Healing Powers of Tea is on a 1.99 ebook sale! 
November 11 again number 1... August 1 The Healing Powers of Tea was graced with the bestselling banner on amazon -- and today, it's edging up to #1 again!

It's a perfect read for autumn and winter...
days... (Amazon, Kindle Edition special!)

On April 29, The Healing Powers of Tea was attracting readers on a variety of online bookseller websites, including amazon, barnes and noble, walmart, kobo, apple, and google.

This book is #6 in the Healing Powers Series... 

Also, the popular, prestigious Fairmont Hotel in Victoria, B.C., Canada will be carrying both The Healing Powers of Tea and The Healing Powers of Honey in their tearoom gift shop. Foreign rights to Estonia! Publisher's Weekly Review! It's a favorite in the Healing Powers Series.  And I will never forget the wonder teas I tried, including Harney & Teas...

*The Healing Powers of Superfoods, Honey, Coffee, Vinegar, and Chocolate will also soothe you this autumn until  The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices (pre-order for December!) is released. The only seasonings book infused with TLC of the Mediterranean herbs and spices for your nose and taste buds and imagination as I whisk you away around the globe!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Spice Spike Hits America During Pandemic

 By Cal Orey

The word is, an uptick in herbs and spices has left manufacturers scrambling to fill orders for hungry and lonely consumers -- longing for excitement, travel, and flavorful fare.

What gives? Blame the surge on the stay- at- home new normal. Herbs and spices have been touted as timeless treasures. Their draw goes back centuries ago, to the days of the spice trade. Seafarers searched for pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg which were a priceless commodity. And now, during a 21st century plague, we are experiencing another spice explosion, sort of.

The Covid-19 challenge has already played a role in our food chain. Back in March, we endured bare shelves – a lack of eggs to meat -- in our grocery stores.  But spices were growing in demand, too. As months passed, and during quarantine home-cooking, using herbs and spices became hot for people around the globe.  But in 2019 nobody saw the virus coming… 


Pre-Pandemic Introduction to Seasonings

Flashback to when I began my book research for The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices: Timeless Treasures (Kensington Books -- bookstores to pre-order for Dec release), I found a big cardboard box on my doorstop—a gift. When I opened the package, I was greeted by a strong wave of different aromas. The box was filled with dozens of individual packets containing a variety of herbs and spices.  It was if they were all are saying, “Look at me! Choose me!” I took out each cellophane wrapped and labeled packet. There were rows of small packages on my dining room table. Each one was filled with powders, pods, seeds and stems--some familiar, some not. I brought out a kit of glass bottles with stick-on labels which I had ordered online and went to work filling each container with a dried herb or spice. Foolishly, I did not wear a mask. My eyes began to water, and sniffles started. I sneezed several times. I was experiencing the potent compounds in the botanical plants. But I persevered! Within a few hours, all my seasonings were inside the glass bottles and labeled. I was ready to arrange them in racks. It was time to start my personal journey into the world of herbs and spices.

Little did I know these timeless treasures would end up making a huge comeback during a pandemic stay-at-home lifestyle.

 Surge in Spices

            Why? Why did spices see a rise in growth during a pandemic? Well, there is a myriad of reasons. Here, take a look at some of the popular changes.

* As more people look to natural remedies as a way to avoid the side effects of drugs, the demand for usage of herbs and spices continues to build.

*Modor Intelligence reports that the seasonings and spices market  (think big like McCormick) has seen growth, with people wanting nutritional benefits – first and foremost.

* Celebrity chefs increasingly promote more natural, plant-based diets that include many herbs and spices for flavor, texture, health and visual appeal.

And people are having more sit-down immediate family meals like back in the fifties – and seasoned, flavorful food like we get eating out is playing role. What’s more, though the holiday season into the New Year, spice companies will likely enjoy a greater demand for favorite seasonings. Think cinnamon, cloves, garlic, sage, thyme, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. And since American households will be experiencing smaller holiday meals at home – spicing up recipes will add fun. Indeed, aromatic herbs and spices will be part of a homestyle safe haven chock-full of nostalgia from pre-pandemic times.  


Cooking Is Hot & Chillaxing

During stressful times people often turn to baking bread or cooking casseroles – familiar comfort food. While we cope with COVID-19 – losing a loved one to a job layoff, cooking connects you to a sense of normalcy. During stay-at home advisories, we cook more meals, and herbs and spices have entered our take-out and home cooking routine.

According to chefs, using herbs and spices provide different flavors and can create different cuisines, from Mediterranean to Indian – a connection to traveling which we cannot easily do right now.  It’s an escape to embracing different cultures and humanity – a way to feel connected during physical distancing.

Let’s face it. Staying well, whether with family, friends, or solo, is on our minds -- the key to vibrant health for all generations is in your kitchen… Anise, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, turmeric, and more—for thousands of years, herbs and spices have been praised for preserving and flavoring food, as well as preventing and even curing illnesses.

The latest research reveals that the seasonings already in your pantry—or easily found fresh in your supermarket or garden—can lower your risk for getting sick. Nature’s gifts including allspice, chives, fennel, oregano, pepper, tarragon, saffron, and special blends like Herbes de Provence are gifts during the holidays and year-round. And yes, herbs and spices can help guard against colds and flu, banish a hacking cough, and even ease stress and anxiety during challenging times.

Flying off the Shelves

Herbs and spices are part of a comeback and are predicted to be in demand during the pandemic fall to winter months. After all, dried herbs and spices are ideal to stock the pantry -- if we have to hunker down (again). Other good-for-you products are wanted, too. There is a scent-sational allure for aromatherapy candles and essential oils. After all, scented nature’s medicine helps keep the home cozy and calming  -- and us healthier and happier. 

And don’t forget, back in March when the pandemic came to America, cookbooks to flour, yeast, sugar and butter flew off the shelves in grocery stores. So, as we cope with a second wave, these items are popular again. Most likely, enjoying nature will help us survive during the predicted “dark winter” before we have a vaccine and can live our lives. Yes, herbs and spices and other things will get us through tough times until post-pandemic days ahead – with promise of hugging, gatherings, and traveling – the variety of spice of living.