Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Mighty Chia Seed!

4999199198_b080bd0dec_qYou may have been hearing recently about the health benefits of chia seeds.  Full of fiber, omega-3, essential minerals, such as magnesium, iron and calcium, chia seeds are considered a dietary powerhouse for individuals.  Related to the mint family, chia seeds are grown and cultivated to be used in an array of food groups, such as smoothies, baking, as an egg replacement for those following a began diet, as well as a thickener for soups and stews.  It also assists in digestion by binding to the intestines and flushing out the toxins from the body.  Suitable for those who follow a gluten free diet, chia seeds can be used in almost any recipe!

Information on these super seeds, as well as recipes and suggested brands can be found here.  Because of its mild, nutty flavor and versatility, chia seeds can be used in almost any dish! 

Photo by: Stacy Spensely on Flickr              License:  Creative Commons

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Flower Essence Therapy

flower essenceWhat is Flower Essence Therapy?

Flower essence therapy is vibrational healing, which treats with pure energy to generate positive changes in the energetic field of a human being or our beloved animals. Flower essence healing is an extension of herbal medicine, that can be traced back to over 60 years, successfully returning people and animals to balance and health.

Our lives are in constant motion towards peace, harmony and balance. Each individual houses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of being. Vibrational therapy is a powerful tool for affecting cellular health and optimal well-being on all these levels. Flowers, plants, and minerals are considered to have innate positive qualities or virtues, that can be therapeutic. The positive qualities can be transferred to any animal or human being in need of balance or harmony.

According to Sharon Callahan, in the book, “Healing Animals Naturally With Flower Essences and Intuitive Listening”. Sharon Callahan, states, “The understanding of matter as energy forms the basis of flower essence therapy. Our current model of this principle is known as Einsteinian or Quantum Physics. The rate of vibration of universal energy determines its expression within the world of matter. Matter, which vibrates at lower frequencies, is thought of as physical matter, while that which vibrates at higher frequencies is considered subtle matter.”

Dr. Richard Bach, pioneer in vibrational medicine, created the Bach Flower Remedies based on the principle of hidden healing capabilities expressed through the energetic life force of flowers. Dr. Bach envisioned the subtle vibrational energies of flowers as assistance in healing the body. Dr. Bach saw that the energetic patterns contained within flowers worked at the emotional, mental and physical level of living beings. These essences that Dr. Bach created release the resistance of the body by creating internal harmony and raise the energy systems of the body.

When Flower Essence Therapy is utilized for healing purposes, only the purest of flower essences should be utilized in order to obtain the best results. The importance of creating and blending is key. The process should be followed. There are qualified and dedicated professionals if you decide to search for the purest blends. Have you gazed at a beautiful flower today? Any on of the beautiful SJCNY Campuses can be a starting point. If so, just imagine… that flower just might be the key to healing.

For more information on Flower Essence Therapy, click here or here

Photo: Intercontinental License: Flickr Creative Commons

Categories: Alternative Health, Green Room | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

J is for Jicama

Rjicamaoses are red,
Violets are blue
Jicama is crunchy and sweet
But… who knew???

JICAMA (pronounced hekama) is related to the bean family of plants.  It has similar growth characteristics to the lima bean or any other bean species plant. The most distinguishing feature, however, is that it bears a globular, turnip-like edible root below the ground surface.  Unlike other starch roots like potato or sweet potato whose peel may be eaten, jicama features a thick dusty-brown inedible skin.  Jicama is grown in many parts of Central American, South Asian, Caribbean, and some Andean South American regions.

Oddly, though the aforementioned description suggests otherwise, jicama is one of those must-try intriguing oddities often overlooked at the produce stand; a first time taster will be treated to a succulent, fruity taste, much like a juicy apple.  It’s refreshing; crisp, white pulp is eaten raw or cooked in a variety of sweet and savory dishes worldwide. One added bonus is that jicama stays crisp when cooked and therefore, works well in stir-fry dishes.

In addition to its refreshing taste, there are plenty of reasons to add jicama to your repertoire of rhizomes.  Consider that jicama offers the following health benefits    (according to

  • Jicama is very low calorie root vegetables; contains only 35 calories per 100 g. However, its high quality phyto-nutrition profile comprises of dietary fiber, and     anti-oxidants, in addition to small proportions of minerals, and vitamins.
  • It is one of the finest source dietary fiber and excellent source of oligofructose inulin, a soluble dietary fiber. The root pulp provides 4.9 mg or 13% of fiber. Inulin is a zero calorie, sweet inert carbohydrate and does not metabolize in the human body, which make the root an ideal sweet snack for diabetics and dieters.
  • Like turnips, fresh yam bean tubers are rich in vitamin C; provide about 20.2 mg or 34% of DRA of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant that helps body scavenge harmful free radicals, thereby offers protection from cancers, inflammation and viral cough and cold.
  • It also contains small levels of some of valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin.
  • Further, it provides healthy amounts of some important minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and manganese.

To prepare jicama, wash in cool running water and dry mop as with other tubers. Peel off thick fibrous skin using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Peel and other plant parts contain rotenene, an organic poison; and therefore, should be discarded. It then can be cut into cubes, sliced, or chopped to fine sticks in a ways desired.

Selection and storage

Jicama is generally available at produce stands year round. Generally, they enter through land route and flood the USA markets from the Central American countries during spring and summer.

Choose well-formed, firm, round, medium sized tubers. Avoid soft or shriveled tubers with surface cuts, cracks and/or bruised skin.

Once at home, jicamas can be stored much like potatoes. They offer a decent shelf life when stored in a cool, dry, dark place (up to 3-4 weeks).

Here’s a refreshing recipe from Rachel Ray for one ‘heck of a jicama’ salad:

Heck of a Jicama Salad
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Prep Time:  20 min
4 servings


  • 1 medium jicama root, peeled and sliced into thick matchsticks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 hearts romaine, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, a handful of leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Place jicama in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and sugar, and add the juice of 1 lime. Let jicama stand 15 minutes. While jicama softens, work on the rest of your meal.

Arrange romaine on a serving plate. Top romaine with jicama. Juice 1 lime into a small bowl, add cilantro and cumin. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream. Pour dressing over salad and season with salt and pepper.

Written By: Michelle Frati, SJC Staff Member

Categories: Body, Green Room | 1 Comment

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

2455539098_38e6e8e9ef_qWith the devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, experts are asking individuals and families to develop an emergency plan in preparation for any type of disaster.  Although it is not easy to always predict the extent and severity of the damage, the American Red Cross believes that having a preparedness plan can prove beneficial in times of crisis.  A spokesperson for the organization recommends that families pick a room where everyone can gather, and that there are no windows should high winds be present.  Furthermore, it should be discussed where everyone will meet should individuals and/ or family members get separated. In case of power outages, cell phones and all electronic devices may not be available.  Rehearsing different evacuation routes can also help should unexpected situations arise.

In addition to having an evacuation plan, it is recommended that people stock up on non-perishable food and water, as well as an emergency kit, flashlight, batteries and a prepared backpack with clothes, medicine and items should you need to evacuate.  The American Red Cross has also provided information on how to stay safe in times of disasters, which can be found here.

Information on how to get your household ready for an emergency can also be found here.

Photo by:  BalajiB. on Flickr            License:  Creative Commons

Categories: Resource Center | 2 Comments

Free, Confidential Counseling Services for New Yorkers Affected By Hurricane Sandy

The Health Department today launched an ad campaign highlighting the free, confidential crisis counseling services available to help New Yorkers cope with the effects of Hurricane Sandy, particularly in Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Project Hope crisis counselors, going door-to-door in blue vests, provide emotional support, and help people find ways to cope with the traumatic impact the storm has had on their family and their lives. The ads will run in subway cars, on buses, and the Staten Island Ferry beginning today through the month of August.

For more information, please visit

Project HOPE (

More information can be found on

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This Space

antarctica-moonThis Space

This space,

This space right here,

Is so big that

For a moment

This long, heavy coat that

I’ve made of myself

Slid right off my shoulders

And onto the floor.

Composed By: Cindy Copp

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Aesop’s Fables: The Peacock & The Crane

A peacock bragged to a crane that its colorful plumage was far superior to the letters drab hue. To which the crane replied, that he could soar to heights, while the peacock had walk with the birds of the barnyard.


Fine feathers do not make fine birds.

Aesops Fables

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Have you made plans for the summer yet?

Have you made plans for the summer yet? I’m not talking about jobs, internships, summer school, or any of that busyness continuum. I’m talking about going to the beach, walking through the park, getting some friends together for a powwow bonfire, or even sitting out on the lawn with a nice book.


List your top ten favorite activities to do in the summer time. When September rolls along see if you were able to do all the things you listed.


-Go to the beach
-Go upstate hiking
-Pitch a tent up in the back yard
-Plant a tree
-Revamp your diet with healthier foods
-Go on a family/ friendly bike ride
-Pick up an instrument
-Go to the zoo/aquarium
-Road trip with amigos/amigas
-Lay under the night sky
-Start a workout/ training regiment
-Movie marathons on rainy days
-Read a new book. Once you finish, pick up another
-Relax with good company/the good company of self

RELAX and TRANSITION into the summertime ease with the video below from DJSteaven:

Categories: Audio & Visual Clips, Relaxation Space | Leave a comment

Prevent Migraines by Changing Your Diet

8385422491_0f528f3f35_qPeople who suffer from migraines describe this type of headache as a throbbing and/ or pulsing pain that tends to be located on one side of the head, and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.  Some people even report experiencing a smell or visual aura prior to getting a migraine.  Migraines can last for a few hours to a few days, and is usually alleviated by resting in a quiet, dark place.  Although not one factor can be attributed to the cause of migraines, doctors and nutritionists believe that diet plays a significant role in causing these severe headaches, in addition to alcohol, caffeine, tyramine (found in fermented and over- ripened foods), and tannins (found in coffee, tea, red wine and apple juice).  Food additives, such as Aspartame, MSG, and nitrates have also been found to trigger migraines in some people.

By keeping a food and migraine journal, you can learn to identify which food group, chemical and/ or additive tends to trigger your migraine, and then find alternative solutions when preparing meals or eating out.  Also taking certain vitamins and herbal supplements can reduce the chance of developing a migraine, such as magnesium, feverfew, butterbur, Riboflavin (B-2) and Co-Q10.  For a complete list of which food groups, beverages and additives can possibly trigger migraines, please click here.

Photo byLife Mental Health on Flickr              License:  Creative Commons

Categories: Body, Green Room | 1 Comment

Castor Oil and Healing

Castor Oil Castor oil is derived from the Ricinus communis, or castor bean. Castor oil may be applied directly to the skin or consumed in very small amounts. The benefits of castor oil are thought to be due to the oil’s unique chemical composition. Castor oil’s main ingredient is ricinoleic acid, which is credited with the oil’s many health and beauty benefits.

Castor oil and healing date back to ancient Egypt. To date, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and Naturopathy recommend castor oil packs due to its ability to promote healing and to reduce inflammation. Castor oil packs are known to improve elimination and circulation of the lymphatic system. Castor oil packs aid with Hepatitis C, Hyperthyroidism, pelvic pain, Tendonitis, Kidney stones, Fibroids, Ovarian cysts, swollen joints, Irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders.

Castor Oil as Treatment for Skin and Hair

Castor oil benefits the skin. Castor oil is an effective moisturizer and emollient. Castor oil is commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. When applied regularly, castor oil will increase skin elasticity, make the skin appear more soft and diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Many people have also found castor oil effective in getting rid of stretch marks.

Castor oil seems to improve the quality of the hair. Castor oil applied to the hair will lock in moisture, soften the strands, add shine and protect against heat and other damage. Castor oil rubbed into the scalp, actually makes the hair grow faster. Some people even apply castor oil to their eyelashes to increase their volume and length. The many cosmetic benefits of castor oil make this oil an inexpensive, widely available and extremely healthy beauty treatment.

Castor Oil to Fight Infection

Castor oil acts as an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial when applied directly to the skin. Castor oil’s antifungal properties have made it a popular treatment for ringworm. It also works as an antifungal, many people rid themselves of warts by applying castor oil to their skin on a regular basis. Studies show that using castor oil packs can improve thymus gland function and increase the production of lymphocytes which help to fight infections.

Make a Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs are constructed with several layers of flannel and cold-pressed castor oil. When placed on the affected area, the pack acts to draw out infection, dissolve cysts, scars, and tumors.

Materials to gather:
A soft, clean, thick material like flannel, wool, or cotton (preferably organic cotton)
•Castor oil
•A glass bowl or glass jar that you can pour the castor oil in over your flannel
•A hot water bottle or heating pad
•Old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained since castor oil will stain fabric
•A plastic bag
•A large towel

1.Put on your chosen older clothes.
2.Take a piece of flannel, or organic cotton place it in your bowl or glass container, and pour enough castor oil over it to saturate and soak it.
3.Obtain your hot water bottle or heating pad ready.
4.Place your towel on a flat surface. For additional protection, put down a garbage/plastic bag so that your bed, couch or floor will not be stained from castor oil that may drip. It will drip onto the protective plastic cover.
5.Lie down and place the saturated flannel or cotton over the affected area of your body.
6.Cover the pack with plastic.
7.Place the heating pad or hot water bottle over the pack and let it sit for at least 45-60 minutes. During this time, just rest, listen to music, or read a book of your choice.
8.When the time is up, remove the pack and clean the area with water and a bit of baking soda.
9.The castor oil pack may be kept in a plastic bag in a cool place or in your refrigerator.
10. For the next session, add another tablespoon of castor oil.

Castor Oil is not without Side Effects, particularly if you ingest it. All alternative therapies must be discussed with your primary care physician or medical provider.

For more information on Castor oil and its healing properties click here or here, and here.

Photo by: pmarkham License: flickr – Creative Commons

Categories: Alternative Health, Green Room | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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