Fall and Winter Greetings!
I hope you enjoyed the beautiful fall colors and weather we were blessed with, albeit all too short. I’m looking out my window at the blanket of yellow-gold leaves covering the back yard. They are so beautiful and I’m enjoying this while I can. I admit that I love the first weeks of cooler weather. It feels so good to put on the heavy sweaters and scarfs and walk in the fresh, crisp air… build fires, make hearty soups and stews, and snuggle in to watch a good movie. And I love the feeling that’s in the air all of December. It’s magical. Now’s a great time to reflect back on all of the gifts summer brought us and to be grateful for the bounty that is being harvested now. As the hours of daylight become progressively shorter, look forward to going within more as we allow ourselves to rest and reflect back on this past year, and start looking forward to new opportunities going forward.
This will be the last newsletter until the beginning of 2015. I’ve included a couple of my favorite cold weather dishes, both from the Food Network; Baked Beans with Swiss Chard and Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola, and Herbs. Both are healthy, versatile, and easy to prepare.
I wish you all a joyous Chanukah, Christmas, and Celebration of Life, and a new year filled with unconditional love, health, abundance in all things you want, and much happiness.
I found these two recipes on the Organic Infusions (www.organicinfusions.com) website. When they call for “Infused Massage Oil” in the recipe, know that regular massage oil, or carrier oil, will work fine as well.
Fall Blend III
Hay Fever / Colds & Flu
Body Aches & Pains
8 oz Infused Massage Oil
8 oz Rosehip Seed Oil
40 drops Eucalyptus
30 drops Lemon
20 drops Peppermint
10 drops Fennel
Apply to neck and chest for colds and flu. Apply to any area with aches & pains.
Instant Relief / Sinus Congestion
Bring two cups of water to almost boiling and then pour into a glass bowl. Place 1-3 drops of the above blend, without the Infused Massage Oil and Rosehip Seed Oil, into the bowl and place a towel over your head. Take deep breaths through your nose. Have tissues ready before you begin, as you will need them as your nose will begin to drain and become unclogged. Be sure to keep your eyes closed so not to irritate them as the essential oils rise with the steam.
Use this method as often as needed for sinus congestion. Use the blend with massage oil for chest and neck or any other application that is applied to the skin.
Baked Beans with Swiss Chard
I love this recipe. It’s packed with protein and tastes delicious. It’s also very versatile. You can change the beans up and use whatever’s in your pantry. I don’t add any meat, but I do add a few shakes of red pepper flakes to the vegetable mixture while it’s sautéing (I like some heat). If the mixture seems like it’s getting to dry, add a small amount of vegetable broth. This is perfect as a main dish served with a salad and some warm crusty bread, or as a hearty side dish. Enjoy!
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 1 hr
Yield: 6 servings
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small bunch Swiss chard or mustard greens, stems removed, leaves chopped
1/2 cup diced smoked turkey or lean ham (about 2 ounces)
1 15 -ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 15 -ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 -ounce can navy beans, undrained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 7 minutes.
Add the chard, turkey and 1/4 cup water to the skillet; cook, stirring, until the chard wilts slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, increase the heat to medium high and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the pinto beans, then add the navy beans and their liquid. Add the parsley, thyme and oregano and return to a simmer.
Coarsely mash about one-quarter of the beans in the skillet with a potato masher or fork to thicken the mixture; season with salt. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and bake 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes.I love this recipe. It’s packed with protein and tastes delicious. It’s also very versatile. You can change the beans up and use whatever’s in your pantry. I don’t add any meat, but I do add a few shakes of red pepper flakes to the vegetable mixture while it’s sautéing (I like some heat). If the mixture seems like it’s getting to dry, add a small amount of vegetable broth. This is perfect as a main dish served with a salad and some warm crusty bread, or as a hearty side dish. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic, Gorgonzola, and Herbs
This recipe is elegant enough to put on the holiday table, yet so quick and easy. How perfect is that! No need for summer tomatoes. When you roast any tomato it brings out a wonderful depth in flavor, so you can enjoy tomato dishes all year. I use Panko crumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs, and I’ve used parmesan cheese on occasion and love it. Be careful not to overcook or the tomatoes can get mushy. Check them 3-4 minutes before the suggested time and gauge from there. Let me know what you think on our Facebook page. Bon Appetit!
Total Time: 45 min
Prep: 5 min
Inactive: 15 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
12 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3/4 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola or grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and Gorgonzola cheese.
Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the bread crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.
Arrange the cooked tomatoes on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis, 2008
By Joan Clark
What is Behind that Cough?
Kennel cough seems to be one of the most common conditions that we have been dealing with lately here at the Pet*Alchemist. Kennel Cough is a common name for a deep, honking canine cough. If your dog is hacking, followed by gagging, he/she may be suffering from kennel cough.
If you wonder how your pet could have picked up kennel cough you may want to think back to where your pet has been over the last few days or week. Has you pet been to a dog park, groomer, obedience class, or playground where sick dogs may have visited?
Kennel cough is highly contagious and can be transferred from pet to pet, so being aware of where your pet has been and what other animals your pet has been around is very important. Most dogs are usually very social and like to commune with other dogs. This is why germs can spread quickly from dog to dog. They sniff everything they come in contact with, and just this act alone can cause your dog to pick up germs and viruses from other dogs that may be ill.
Dogs will drink out of the same bowls other dogs drink from, will carry balls they find that have been in the mouths of other dogs, and will play with toys that other dogs play with. All of these things can place your dog at risk for contracting kennel cough.
Here is the good news - kennel cough is not a serious problem on its own if it is caught early and treated. However, it can become serious if it is not attended to in its early stages - which may result in other health issues.
Normally if a cough suppressant is given to the pet that is experiencing coughing along with plenty of fresh water and good food the symptoms will move away within a week. However, if the cough suppressant does not help, and your pet is not eating or drinking water, then seeking expert advice from your veterinarian is highly recommended.
If kennel cough is left unattended it can move into the lungs and cause bronchitis, or pneumonia. Antibiotics would probably be recommended at that point.
At the Pet*Alchemist we recommend a natural way to care for kennel cough, which includes an immune system mist to be massaged into the coat of the pet along with an elderberry syrup mixed with some liquid vitamin C to help suppress the cough and pump up the immune system.
We also recommend using our Eucalyptus Environmental Mist to help keep the environment germ-free and assist the pet’s respiratory system.
Here at the Pet*Alchemist we believe a strong immune system is the best defense for keeping your pets strong and healthy, and that is why we truly believe in the importance of establishing an aromatic lifestyle that nurtures and supports your pets health daily with natural pet products.
So when should you see a vet for kennel cough?
If your pet’s cough lasts more than a week or it worsens.
If your pet seems extra tired.
If your pet has a fever.
If your pet is not eating or drinking.
If your pet has other health challenges.
We believe in the power of nature to help assist our pets in staying strong and healthy.
We hope you will too.
All the above products are available via the Pet*Alchemist.
Have you ever heard the saying, "When life hands you lemons - make lemonade?" Obviously, this is simply telling us to make the best of a hard situation - and I believe it's true! It's important for us to look at each difficulty we face with a "lemonade" attitude. Although, sometimes, the sourness of the "lemon" we've been handed can confound us - and it's tough trying to figure out how exactly to turn it into "lemonade!" So, I've written down the recipe for us to remember!
3 lemons - about 1 cup juice
5 cups of water
1/4 - 1 cup of sugar (depending on taste)
So, how easy is that? Now, let's translate this into real life!
Lemons are handed to us when, in the cycle of life, we face something that is difficult, sour, nasty, awful, hurtful, scary, etc. So, when we've got the lemons, in order to make the lemonade we need to first squeeze the juice from them. In other words, look at the whole "lemony" issue we have and break it down to its simplest form. What is the center of the problem we are facing? What exactly IS the problem? Oftentimes, we tend to project into the future what 'might' happen. Sometimes, we think about things that have happened to us in the past and we become afraid... we may even worry about what others will say about the lemon we've been given. Almost always, we move into fear and shut down our capacity to think it through. So, when given lemons - look at what that lemon actually IS - not what it meant in the past - not what can happen in the future - not what others will say or think - just calm ourselves enough to see what the actual "lemon" is - staying in the present moment.
The next step in making lemonade is to add water. If you look at the recipe, you'll notice that we need almost five times more water than juice. We must dilute the juice. Water cleanses, refreshes, dilutes and washes away. To build a "lemonade" attitude, it's necessary to dilute the "lemon juice." To my mind, the best place to start is by getting information - a lot of information about the who, what, when, where, why of the "lemony issue" we are dealing with. Talk to experts, get good advice, get lots of advice, find some information that we trust, something that makes sense to us, something that helps us build a plan and get grounded, so we can make some important choices and decisions.
To help dilute the juice even more we can rework the way we think about the lemon. Begin to turn around the shock, fear, anger, and despair, by developing a more positive outlook. After all, we haven't gotten this far in our lives without noticing that things we thought were disasters in the past turned out to actually be blessings for us! We met people we never would have met, we learned something we never would have learned, we may have even received a gift we would never would have received - if it were not for that past "lemon" in our life. Perhaps there's a silver lining we can't yet see! Anticipating that this lemon juice will become something better - believing it will bring us to a higher good is another good way to water down the sour taste.
Yet, sometimes we get ourselves into deeper problems if we "should" on ourselves a lot! It's interesting to note that the dictionary defines the word "should" as "used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions." Oftentimes, the someone we criticize is ourselves! For example, you might make the following statement to yourself: "I should do what my spouse, mother, father, daughter, sister, family, or friends want me to do about this lemon in my life." And, just saying the word "should" implies some sort of criticism. It means I ought to do this and if I don't then I'm bad... guilty... thoughtless... or something that means I'm deficient in some way! "Should" is never helpful if it implies that I am wrong and bad! Let's substitute the word "could" for the word "should," then. It makes all the difference. "I could do what my spouse, mother, father, daughter, sister, family or friends want me to about this lemon..." Could implies choice! You might say, "I could do this the way they want me to, but I believe I need to do something else!" or "I could do this the way they want me to and I like their ideas, so I will!" Can you feel the difference in using the word "could" instead of "should?" So, when diluting the juice in your life, we can give ourselves a choice - using COULD!
We have juiced the lemon, watered it down to a manageable quality and, now, let's add some sweetness! How do we sweeten up the sour juice that life has handed us? You may again notice that the recipe calls for sweetening to our taste. So, it's up to each of us! What brings sweetness into your life? If I may, I'd suggest that we can take really good care of ourselves. Starting with being kinder emotionally, by using "could" instead of "should," as I've just said. Massages are nice for releasing stress and helping to clear body, mind and spirit. Having a good cup of herbal tea. Walking in Nature. Visiting with a good friend who makes us laugh. Taking a nap. Writing in a journal. Watching a comedy on television or going to a movie! Eating a healthy dinner. Having a pedicure. Those are just a few sweet ideas! When we spend some time uplifting ourselves, it improves our thinking, our physical well-being and, most of all, it replenishes our mood. When we do something that feels peaceful or fun or good or comforting - something that helps to uplift - that's the sweetness we need to add to make lemons into lemonade.
Developing a lemonade attitude makes all the difference! It makes life worth living, it teaches us that we are strong, competent and wise. Each of us needs to make that decision - Lemonade? or Lemons? Which will you choose....?
Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Have a great Autumn!
Ingalls Cancer Clinical Trials Offer Promising Treatments
By Debra Robbins, Ingalls Memorial Hospital
At Ingalls Cancer Care, clinical trial patients are among the first anywhere to benefit from new therapies, including highly promising investigational medications not yet approved by the FDA.
Ingalls collaborates with the National Cancer Institute, the world's leading cancer treatment centers, and locally with Chicago's major university hospitals, to design and implement a wide array of clinical trials for nearly every cancer site in the body. At any given time, Ingalls has more than 60 open trials that cover prevention, treatment, maintenance, symptom management, surgery, radiation therapy and targeted therapies that attack cancer at the biological level. Ingalls offers clinical trials at every phase of investigation, from Phase I through Phase IV, and enrolls up to 100 patients on clinical trails every year.
What’s more, the Ingalls Cancer Care Research Team includes a unique group of doctors who are credentialed in cancer research. Our doctors are publishing, teaching and applying what they learn to improve care and outcomes for Ingalls' cancer patients – and for patients around the world.
As a testament to Ingalls’ deep commitment to cancer research, in June of this year, Ingalls was one of only eight community oncology programs in the United States recognized by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for its commitment to high-quality clinical trial programs.
Ingalls’ Clinical Trial Enrollment Exceeds National Rates
On average, 15% of Ingalls cancer patients are participating in a clinical trial, which far exceeds the Commission on Cancer’s standard accrual rate of 6%. The reason is simple: 100% of all cancer patients at Ingalls are evaluated for possible enrollment in a clinical trial at the time of treatment. Ingalls experts educate every single cancer patient about all treatment options available to them – including clinical trials.
In addition, up to 35% of minority patients at Ingalls are enrolled in cancer clinical trials every year – more than tripling the national average. As a result, this patient population at Ingalls is benefitting from the most advanced cancer treatments available anywhere.
To encourage participation among our minority patients, Ingalls cancer research experts work very hard to educate them about the importance of clinical trials, make them aware of all treatment options available, dispel the myths and misunderstandings surrounding research studies, and show them how they personally can benefit from participation in a cancer clinical trial.
Why Choose a Clinical Trial?
Clinical trials provide more options to recently diagnosed cancer patients by connecting them to the most promising new medicines, therapies and treatments available. Clinical trials increase the breadth and quality of a patient’s treatment options, and ideally improve outcomes.
More patients enrolled in clinical trials means more patients can benefit from the latest therapies. Ingalls Cancer Care utilizes clinical trials, which are carefully regulated studies that meet or exceed the current approved standard of care, to scientifically improve how a patient’s cancer is treated.
And with cancer therapies becoming much more targeted, Ingalls cancer experts are able to offer treatments that fight cancer at the molecular level – and minimize many of the uncomfortable side effects of standard treatments.
Recent noteworthy trials available through Ingalls Cancer Care include:
- The investigative agent Anti—PD-L1 that reactivates the body’s immune system to fight cancer. This drug is currently being used in clinical trials for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and patients with bladder cancer that have experienced failure with other treatments. Initial results are promising, with patients experiencing stabilization of their cancer. In fact, at the national cancer meetings, the drugs they’re talking about as promising agents for treating cancer are the very same ones that are available and in use at Ingalls.
- The five-year MA-32 study that uses the diabetes drug metformin to prevent recurrence of cancer in early-stage breast cancer patients.
- The APHINITY study, which involves the use of two drugs – Pertuzumab and Herceptin – for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease. The combination of the drugs has shown promising results in trials.
- The M12-630 study using the targeted drug ABT-199 to treat patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This therapy attacks only the cancer cells, leaving the body’s healthy cells alone. Ingalls enrolled the very first patient in the United States on the M12-630 study.
- The M13-982 study that also uses ABT-199 to treat patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This study targets a specific enzyme on the cancer cells to stop the over-production of white blood cells, the leading cause of CLL, and allow the cells to die normally. Because it is a highly targeted therapy, patients experience few if any side effects. Ingalls is one of only two sites in the United States to offer this trial.
For more information about Cancer Clinical Trials at Ingalls, call 708.915.HOPE (4673).
Journaling to Better Health!
Letting Go of Busy
By Jessie Jury
“We need to make sure that we never get too busy with life that we don’t have time to live.” ― Daniel Willey
There have been numerous articles in the media lately calling for an end to the glorification of busy. Because, really, why is it considered a badge of honor to claim to be too busy to have any free time, grab a cup of coffee or tea with a friend, get a good night’s rest or simply take a few minutes each day to just do nothing?
In the days leading up to the new year, resolve to make simple changes to carve out a few minutes here and there for things that you would like to do - regardless of how busy you are. Use your journal to create a wish list of activities and rituals.
Some ideas for inspiration:
Is there a hobby you used to have as a child that you’d like to pick up again, or something new you’ve always wanted to try? Many hobbies can be quite meditative. My favorites include reading, writing, playing guitar, and photography. See if you can find a class, club or group to join. Knowing you have a book club each month, for example, can give you motivation to read a little bit for pleasure each night before bed.
Are there rituals you would like to create, like a nightly walk after dinner, a weekly call to a long-distance friend, or a hot bubble bath a few times a week? Although these things may seem indulgent when you have a to do list a mile long, remind yourself that self-care and nurturing are vital to your health and well-being. Start incorporating these practices to avoid facing burnout.
Write about how it feels to let go of some of your ‘busyness.’ What have you gained in return?