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SEPTEMBER 2018,  ISSUE  # 06

THE "HOW TO" OF NUTRITION & HEALTH YOUR SOURCE OF COMPLEX INFORMATION MADE EASY

BY DESPINA VARAKLAS


Let's talk about "Sustainability" So what is sustainability, sustainable agriculture and sustainable food? Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. Sustainable food isn’t just about the food itself, it’s a combination of factors including how it’s produced, how it’s distributed and how it’s consumed. Starting this issue, we will be going to places finding rare and precious natural riches and following their stories of how they grow and how they are distributed. Our starter story comes from a small Greek island. I am grateful to our sponsors who decided to support this effort and get the amazing benefits that this magazine has to offer. I would like to extend the invitation to more people from different sectors to join in and be part of this wonderful group. It's a new season, and new challenges are ahead.

Despina


September 2018 4

Dates The miracle of the desert

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Miracles of Nature on the Island of Kea Wild herbs and bitter almond

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Grape Leaves

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The Power of the "HUG"

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Happening in September

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Happening in October

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DATES - The Gems of the Desert Dates are an exceptional food item that enters the markets in August and September. It grows mainly in very hot and dry areas, usually desert areas, since the palm trees need sandy soil to grow. Dates come in different varieties, some smaller others bigger, some juicier and others more chewy, but the fact does remain that they are very easy to include in our diet as ingredients in a dish, as snacks, as fruit, as sweeteners, and more. Coming mainly from the desert countries of Arabia, dates may be a bit high in calories, but they are also high in fiber; their health benefits include the following: * Fight disease through the anti-oxidants. Flavonoids, carotenoids, and fenolic acid help in reducing inflammation, risk for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and ocular degeneration in the eyes. 4


* Promote brain health From improving memory to reducing anxiety related behavior. * May promote natural labor Eating these fruits throughout the last few weeks of pregnancy may promote cervical dilation and lower the need for induced labor. They may also be helpful for reducing labor time. * Help treat intestinal disorders The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake helps inhibit the growth of the pathological organisms and thus, help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. * Help treat Anemia their impressive levels of iron make them a perfect dietary supplement for people suffering from anemia. 5


* Cure Allergies such as SAR One of the most interesting facets of dates is the presence of organic sulfur in them. This is not a very common element to find in foods, but it does have a worthwhile amount of health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies.


Mallow


Miracles of Nature that Grow Without Irrigation on the Island of KEA in Greece. Talk About Sustainability


By request of producer, Contact goes to: despina@despinavaraklas.com +30 6976 490430:


On a small island in Greece, not far from Athens, on virgin soil, up in the mountains, nature generously gives some exceptionally unique gifts of amazing value.

WILD BITTER ALMONDS and WILD HERBS are what we are talking about here. They are gathered, cleaned, packaged, and sold, but they are wild because they are left to grow as nature intended for them, they are not plowed, not irrigated, so they are not watered, and of course not sprayed, so they are completely organic. They grow in their natural environment untouched, the water they receive is either from the falling rain, from deep down in the soil which is dampened by the sea, and from the humidity that comes with the breeze also from the sea. The smell, the taste, and the nutritional value of these products are all priceless. The Herbs When I met the producer of these gems, I was offered some wild oregano; two batches, one regular, and one spicy, yes, naturally spicy.


I took the oregano home, and for several days I had to leave the windows open because the smell was fabulous, but so terribly strong. I was informed that this amazing strong smell is not only because the oregano is pure, wild, and natural, but also because the blossom on the herb is not gathered like is done in regular fields where oregano is grown for mass commercial purposes; it is left on the bush so the herb absorbs more of the aroma and what the blossom has to give. The plethora of butterflies that graze above the herbs is proof that the bushes have not been sprayed. Part of the blossoms are left for the bee hives, but also for pollination. When the herbs are gathered, they are put in bundles with long stems to show that they are wild, and to show part of the blossom that stays on them.

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St. John's Wort

Cleaning the Wild Bitter Almond

Blossomed Oregano

St Joh's Wort (yellow) and Savory (purple) growing out of the rocks in the mountains


The herbs are not limited to oregano of course. Thyme, mallow, valerian, savory, marjoram, St. John’s wort, mint, chamomile, rosemary, and sage, are also worth mentioning. The herbs are dried for hours in shady areas, and next moved to a dry but well ventilated space where they are left for several days to dry completely. Finally, they are packaged for sale. The nutritional value of these herbs is far above the regular. Wild Bitter Almond As for the wild bitter almonds, the trees go back several decades, they grow on mountain slides, between rocks, and on streams. Their taste is compared to nothing that exists in the market. The almonds are gathered one by one by hand.

Because of the fact that these trees are not irrigated, the concentration of nutrients is much higher as you understand; 13


this is incredibly unique when it comes to nutrients that fight cancer for example that are definitely found in the white bitter almond. Since the effort here is to maintain these products as natural as possible and in their natural environment untouched and as protected as possible, it is clear and easy to understand that the quantities produced are not massive. Of course the term "sustainability" comes to mind. A great effort to respect nature, its products, and the serenity with which it functions. These products became items of interest for producers, scientists, and private growers from around the world from the US, to Germany, to Sweden, and even Thailand. The producers here are inviting all those who put love in their work, appreciate and respect nature and these products, and appreciate the efforts of sustainability to build the bridge of communication and join this effort. 15


The Amazing Thyme

The Wild Almond Trees


Grape leaves Alongside the wonderful grapes that we can have in the late Summer, we also have the grape leaves. In some countries like Greece, and middle eastern countries, grape leaves are an edible delicatessen. They are cooked in different ways, but perhaps stuffed grapes leaves is the most known form in which they are served. This dish is bit of a hassle to prepare, since every grape leaf needs to be stuffed separately in a very distinct manner, but the final taste is very rewarding. The stuffing is usually made up of rice, olive oil and a variety of herbs and spices, but meat may also be included. To some people's surprise, the grape leaf is very nutritious. Other than the high fiber of course and very low in calories, these leaves contain carbohydrates, fat, and protein. They are high in Manganese, Vitamin A and K. They contain Iron, Copper, Calcium, Folate and many other nutrients. 20


Grape leaves may be purchased or picked in the Summer, but can be stored to have throughout the entire year. They can be either slightly blanched and then either stored in a jar in brine, or layered and stored in the freezer in aluminum foil. Grape leaves are not consumed raw because they are quite fibrous and tough especially if they are big leaves. They are consumed cooked and not raw, so we don't usually see them in salads.

Your tips to take * Try to have grape leaves at home. They are usually available in middle eastern food stores. If you don't want to cook stuffed grape leaves, you can use them when cooking other dishes like stew. Just put them at the bottom of the cooking pot, and they will give a special flavor and aroma.

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* If you can find small grape leaves that are a lot more tender, they can be served boiled together with other boiled vegetables. Their sowery flavor adds a lot to the whole.


JERICHO DATES Unique and Strictly Organic despina@despinavaraklas.com +30 6976 490430


THE POWER OF THE "HUG" SUPPORTED BY THE WWYP APPROACH


It turns out that hugging is proven to make us healthier and happier. According to scientists, the benefits of hugging go beyond that warm feeling you get when you hold someone in your arms. You might say, that a hug a day keeps the doctor away. 1. Hugs reduce stress by showing support. In fact, not only does it resduce the stress of the person being hugged, but it can even reduce the stress of the person doing the comforting. 2. Hugs may protect against illness. The stress-reducing effects of hugging might also work to keep you healthier. In a study of over 400 adults, researchers found that hugging may reduce the chance a person will get sick. The participants with a greater support system were less likely to get sick. And those with the greater support system who did get sick had less severe symptoms than those with little or no support system.


3. Hugs may boost your heart health Hugging can be good for your heart health. It reduces blood pressure levels and heart rate. According to studies, an affectionate relationship may be good for you heart health. 4. Hugs can make you happier. Oxytocin is a chemical in our bodies that scientists sometimes call the “cuddle hormone.� This is because its levels rise when we hug, touch, or sit close to someone else. Oxytocin is associated with happiness and less stress. 5. Hugs increase self esteem. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. 6. Hugs can boost immunity. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University


found out in a study, that individuals who had greater social support and more frequent hugs during conflicts were less likely to “catch” a cold after they were exposed to the virus. The hugs, researchers said, were responsible for about one-third of the protective effect. 7. Hugs help reduce fears Scientists have found that touch can reduce anxiety in people with low self-esteem. Touch can also keep people from isolating themselves when reminded of their mortality. They found that even touching an inanimate object — in this case a teddy bear — helped reduce people’s fears about their existence. 8. Hugs may help reduce pain. In one study, people with fibromyalgia had six therapeutic touch treatments. Each treatment involved light touching on the skin. The participants reported an increase in quality of life and reduced pain. Hugging is another form of touch that may help reduce pain.


How many hugs do we need? Family therapist Virginia Satir once said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.� While that may sound like a lot of hugs, it seems that many hugs are better than not enough. Science proves that regular hugs with those closest to you, even if brief, can have especially positive effects on your brain and body.


HAPPENING IN SEPTEMBER


World Heart Day - September 29th In 1978 the International Society of Cardiology merged with the International Cardiology Federation (which had been founded in 1970) to form the International Society and Federation of Cardiology. This body changed its name in 1998 to the World Heart Federation, a nongovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. "World Heart Day" was founded in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death. This year, World Heart Day is on September 29th, and the request is to make a promise: A promise to eat more healthily, to get more active, and to say no to smoking.

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HAPPENING IN OCTOBER


World Sight Day - This year on October 11th  Observed annually on the second Thursday of October, it is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment. It was originally initiated by the SightFirstCampaign of Lions Club International Foundation in 2000. It has since been integrated into VISION 2020 and is coordinated by IAPB in cooperation with the World Health Organization. "Universal Eye Health: A global action plan 2014–2019" – the WHO Global Action Plan was unanimously adopted by Member States at the World Health Assembly held in Geneva in 2013. The Vision of the Plan is "a world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care services".


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The "How To" of Nutrition and Health  

Issue #6, September 2018

The "How To" of Nutrition and Health  

Issue #6, September 2018

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