Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Makes It ORGANIC?

by Daisy Villa

I remember when a friend came over a few years ago to borrow some ketchup. Of course the bottle I gave her was organic. A week later she came over to give me a bottle of ketchup to replace the bottle I had given to her. She was really sincere when she told me she was replacing my organic bottle of ketchup with a bottle of “natural ketchup.” I did not say anything to my friend, but I remember that day well. Since I am now an organic vegetarian I would like to clarify what is and what is not organic.

Knowing how to read labels and understanding terminology is extremely important.

As the demand for organic products increases, many companies are turning to foreign markets. So far the demand cannot be solely met by American farmers.

I would like to warn you that those foods that are marketed “imported organic” may fall short and pose hidden risks for the American consumer. Organic products from other countries do not necessarily follow the required American guidelines. Some countries have nonexistent environmental laws, virtually no organic definitions, and have substandard labor laws and practices.

Ultimately, the question of organic centers not only on pesticides, but also agricultural practices. Organic products are so vast that I am going to focus on organic foods.

Foods labeled “free range,” “cage free” or “all natural” do not necessarily meet the definition of organic. Products labeled organic and 100% organic must meet the following standards:

ORGANIC: These foods can display the USDA Organic seal. They exclude water and salt and at least 95% of content is organic by weight. The remaining ingredients must consist of National List-approved non-agricultural substances or non-organically produced agricultural produced products not commercially available in organic form.

100% ORGANIC: These foods can display the USDA Organic seal. They exclude salt and water. These products must contain only organically produced ingredients.

MADE WITH ORGANIC: These foods cannot display the USDA Organic seal. They should be at least 70 percent organic in content. The front of the product can display “Made with Organic.” This is followed by up to three specific organic ingredients.

CONTENT IS LESS THAN 70% ORGANIC: These foods cannot display the USDA Organic seal. They are only allowed to list the organic ingredients on the ingredient panel. They cannot mention the word organic on the main or front panel.

Fresh produce have labels with a five digit number. Numbers starting with “9” indicate organic and numbers starting with “4” indicate that standard farming practices were used to grow the produce. Standard farming practices include the use of pesticides. If there is no label, you could very well be looking at GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) which are so toxic and dangerous. My recommendation to avoid GMOs is not to buy fast food and processed food. I also avoid corn and soy unless indicated as organic.

For many people, buying organic is not a simple issue. Principles such as animal welfare, local economy, environmental issues, labor and social concerns reflect one’s purchases in food and other products. I include myself in this group of people.

Besides food, I like purchasing products with as much organic content as possible  including bedding, clothing, towels, home cleaning products and skin care. I am expanding to water not only purified but alkaline water which is a whole other article.
I am far from being the final word on the organic question. All I can do is my best, by continually reading, learning, researching and surrounding myself with like-minded people and supporting people and organizations that are concerned with health, wellness and the environment.

Doing your best, is all you can do. Are you doing your best?
               Non Organic Label                                 Organic Label

Friday, May 10, 2013

Essential Oils in The Bible

by Daisy Villa

As we all know, during ancient Biblical times, there were no antibiotics or other drugs. Essential oils were mankind’s first medicine. Written in Chinese manuscripts and Egyptian hieroglyphics, physicians have been using essential oils for thousands of years for embalming, cleansing of the body both physically and emotionally and for bathing purposes.

Essential oils are the volatile liquids distilled from plant parts such as bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruit and seeds. Producing the purest of oils can be very costly. It may require several hundred pounds or even several thousand pounds of plant material to extract one pound of a pure essential oil.

Today the vast majority of oils are being purchased and used in the perfume industry. But essential oils in a pure and therapeutic grade have many benefits:

* Essential oils are anti-bacterial, anti-cancerous, ant-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-infectious, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and antiseptic.

* Essential oils help transport nutrients to starting human cells

* Essential oils may detoxify the cell and blood in the body

* Essential oils have a bio-electrical frequency that is several times greater than the frequency of food, herbs and even the human body.

* Essential oils are the oxygenating, immune defense, and have regenerating properties of plants.

* Some essential oils are so small in molecular size that they can quickly penetrate the tissue of the skin.

* Essential oils are very powerful antioxidants that create an unfriendly environment for free radicals.

* Essential oils contain sesquiterpenes which pass the blood brain barrier. This enables them to be effective in alzheimers disease.

* Essential oils are aromatic and when diffused, provide air purification of metallic particles, toxins and odors, and inhibit bacterial growth.

There are 188 references to essential oils in the Bible. The 14 principal oils of the Bible are listed below in the order of the most frequently mentioned: Myrrh, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Cassia, Calamus, Galbanum, Onycha, Spikenard (nard), Hyssop, Myrtle, Sandalwood (aloes), Cypress and Rose of Sharon.

Frankincense and Myrrh are the best known essential oils in the Bible because they were gifts for the Baby Jesus from two of the Three Kings or Wise Men.

Frankincense has a sweet, warm, balsamic aroma that is stimulating and elevating to the mind. Useful for visualizing, improving one’s spiritual connection and centering, it has comforting properties that help focus the mind and overcomes stress and despair.

Frankincense is considered the holy anointing oil in the Middle East, where it has been used in religious ceremonies for thousand of years More recently it has been used in European and American hospitals and is the subject of substantial research.

Frankincense is also a valuable ingredient in skin care products for aging and dry skin. The ancient Egyptians used it in rejuvenation face masks.

Myrrh has a rich, smoky, balsamic aroma that is purifying, restorative, revitalizing and uplifting. It is a helpful aid to meditation, having one of the highest levels of sesquiterpenes available. Sesquiterpenes are a class of compounds that have a direct effect on the hypothalamus, pituitary and amygdala, the seat of our emotions.

Myrrh is referenced throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Arabian people believed it helped wrinkled, chapped and cracked skin. Today Myrrh is widely used in oral hygiene products.

During Biblical times, essential oils were used for anointing. In Exodus, the Lord gave the following recipe to Moses for an anointing oil:

Myrrh: Approximately 1 gallon

Sweet Cinnamon: Approximately fi gallon

Sweet Calamus: Approximately fi gallon

Cassia: Approximately 1 gallon

Olive Oil: Approximately 1 1/3 gallons

Essential oils are the life-enhancing gifts from the plant kingdom revered for centuries for their restorative properties to mind, body and spirit. May we always be mindful of the treasure of knowledge found in the Bible.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eating RAW

I remember years ago when I heard that there were people who ate a plant based diet but it was also totally raw. As someone who loves fruits and vegetables raw, I still thought that a totally raw diet was extreme and I could not imagine that it could be tasty and seemed dull and boring. Today as a vegetarian on the verge of being a vegan, I now realize that meat eaters look at me as extreme, somone out of the ordinary and of course I must be eating boring and unexciting food.

I thought it was time for me to know and understand eating raw. I called raw foodist and expert, Michele Marie Jeppson, the founder and editor of Super Raw Life Magazine. Michele is not some crazy extremist. She lives and works in Utah with her husband and children. Other than having a raw diet, she is just like many American women.

Michele had no intention to become a raw foodist. In 2009, she joined Strength From Within, a 21 day raw food healing and cleanse retreat. After the 21 days, she felt so good. She was able to lose a drastic amount of weight, the pounds literally dropped away. Since that time,Michele has maintained over 100 pound weight loss utilizing the raw vegan lifestyle.

Michele, Before and After …. WOW !!!

Benefits of Eating RAW

Weight Loss and Enzymes -Raw food is considered food that is eaten without being cooked or heated at temperatures over 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Raw foods contain enzymes which are destroyed when cooked at temperatures over 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Enzymes are crucial in the body and help with digestion. Enzymes help you body take the nutrients out of food before it passes out of your system. You can survive without enzymes but you won't get the maximum nutritional potential from your food. You will have to eat more food to get the same amount of nutrients with cooked food than eating it raw.

Focus - Eating raw helps focus on the things that are important and make you more emotionally in tune with yourself and others. You will feel like a wall of fog has been removed in your mind. It’s easier to think clearly and focus for longer periods of time

Eat All You Want -.You never get that uncomfortable full feeling eating raw. You can eat as much as you want. You will feel full but you don’t feel tired or weighed down.

Less Cleanup -There are few dishes, utensils and no pots and pans to wash when you eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

Less Trash - Eating raw means less packaging.This means less trash in landfills.

More Regularity -You should naturally have around two to three bowel movements a day. If you’re going less than that, it probably means your intestines are unhealthily clogged. A raw diet gives you enough fiber to keep you regular.

Connect with Nature - Eating fresh food just makes you feel different. You feel more connected to the earth and nature. Eating lots of processed foods — frozen, canned or from a box creates more of a gap and leaves you feeling disconnected from the earth that sustains you.

You don’t have to go 100% raw to see the benefits of eating this way. You can transition to a raw diet. Start eating vegetarian style and then eliminate dairy slowly.. Any increase in raw foods in your diet will give you noticeable and immediate results.

Like many people, Michele is an emotional was and is an addiction. She said that eating raw one must be prepared. You must have the right equipment such as a good juicer and dehydrator do make preparing raw dishes easier, but they are not necessary to begin a raw lifestyle. Being prepared also means stocking your pantry and your refrigerator with foodsto create your raw meals and snacks.
Suggested Items To Have In Your Pantry
* Assortment of nuts and seeds, sunflower, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts,
macademia nuts, coconut flakes (large and small flakes)
* Nutritional Yeast Flakes (To give your recipes that Cheesy Flavor)
* Redmond Sea Salt
* Psyllium Husk
* Flax seeds (powdered and whole)
* Chia Seeds
* Raisins and dates
* Legumes for sprouting
* Cacao Powder and Cacao Paste
* Cacao Butter
* Coconut Oil (great for puddings, soups, to sprinkle over salads)
* Sun Dried Tomatoes and tomato powder

Suggested Items To Have In Your Refrigerator
* Miso
* Coconut aminos, Tamari(Wheat Free) or Namo Shoyu (Soy Sauce Taste)
* Assortment of fresh fruits and veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, items for juicing
cucumbers, lettuce, celery, ginger, lemons)
Michele loves mushrooms and when she finds a good deal, she will stock up and
dry them in her dehydrator.She stores the dehydrated mushroom in glass jars and uses the mushrooms in salads and other recipe5a4e6aeef7views. You can find many delicious nutrient packed recipes for free on:

Meal Examples


Make a living granola.The night before, soak sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds) 1 cup of each. Then in the morning blend them with 6-8dates and 1/2 cup of raisins, stir in 1-2 cups of
coconut flakes and fresh berries. Make your own fresh nut milk- 1 cup nuts to 4 cups water with vanilla and dates. Blend till smooth and strain.Reserve nut pulp for cookies and other recipes.Juice citrus and smoothies are great .Keep frozen fruit on hand. Green juice for breakfast is a great way to start the morning


Fruit, Crackers and Dip, Trail Mix

Lunch and Dinner

Big Salads dressed with a peanut sauce, almond butter,lime juice, coconut oil, sea salt
and ginger. And the ever popular pizza using portobello mushrooms for base of quick pizzas.

Here is the link to Michele's favorite Raw Vegan Pizza recipe:
Raw foods opened Michele’s mind and really got her creative juices flowing. She made the choice to transition out of the mortgage industry; it was a natural transition to do the magazine and focus on her photography. November 2010 was the first issue of Super Raw Life Magazine. The magazine is also a writing platform for other to share their ideas related to this RAW lifestyle. You can get a FREE digital subsciption to the magazine. Many people like the print version which is also available. Tne Fall issue will be in stores across the country and venues are opening up in Canada, Australia, Singapore, Brazil and selected countries in Europe.

Connect to Super Raw Life
Subscribe to Free Magazine Subscription
Become a Facebook FRIEND!/SuperRawLifeand **"LIKE"
Super Raw Life Magazine Page for daily tips and updates!/pages/Super-Raw-Life-Magazine/128591577194783


"Raw food is not limited it is limitless"
Michele Marie Jeppson



Thursday, February 28, 2013


Reiki—The Healing Touch of Universal Energy

By Daisy Villa
Reiki is a Japanese technique or system of healing that is administered by the “laying of hands” on the client. Reiki has been described as universal life energy. It is the fundamental energy that creates and sustains the universe. This energy is not electrical or chemical energy. Reiki energy exists on a higher dimension than the physical world. Reiki comes from a High Power and practitioners say it comes from God, the Creator, the Source.

Reiki Practitioners are conduits for this universal higher energy. These may seem like lofty words. Energy is within all of us. This healing energy comes from the transcendental part of all people and connected to an abundant and infinite supply. The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words, Rei meaning Higher Power or God’s Wisdom and Ki meaning Life’s Energy Force. Reiki is spiritually guided Life Force Energy.

Many holistic and spiritual techniques and systems are often considered religions. Reiki is spiritual in nature but it is NOT a religion. Reiki practitioners come from all walks of life. They are free to make their own decisions regarding their religious practices. This is also true for Reiki clients. While Reiki is not a religion and has no dogma, it is important to live and act in such a way that promotes peace, harmony, and good ethics with others.

The most common reference to Reiki in today’s modern world originates from the Usui System of Healing. Its founder is Dr. Mikao Usui. Reiki practitioners of this lineage can trace their teachers back to Dr. Usui. Without learning the traditions, philosophies and techniques from a qualified Reiki teacher, you do not receive important benefits and safeguards. When a practitioner is part of the Reiki training tradition, he or she has the ability to regulate energy and is protected from clients’ issues and illnesses. The ability of Reiki is transferred to a student during an attunement given by a Reiki Master. Through this attunement, the student is able to tap into the infinite supply of the universal energy force. Reiki has been taught to thousands of people. Reiki attunement is available to everyone regardless of one’s background.

Reiki is for relaxation and stress reduction that promotes healing and self-improvement. Everyone can avail themselves to Reiki, which is natural and safe. It has shown beneficial effects on virtually every known illness and has been combined with traditional/conventional medicine as an effective healing tool.

A typical treatment is energy flowing from the practitioner’s hands to the client. The client is fully clothed and is usually lying on a Reiki/massage table. Reiki can also be administered seated or standing. The practitioner places his or her hands in several hand positions on the body starting from the head and down to the feet. Depending on the client’s needs, the hand positions are held 3 to 10 minutes. A standard session lasts from 45 minutes to even 90 minutes. Reiki can be experienced by anyone, including babies and animals and be sent to other at a distance.

During a session, experiences are different from person to person. Common experiences include:

* Drifting off to sleep

* Floating outside their bodies

* Experiencing visions

* Feeling a flowing radiance through or around the body

* Feeling deeply relaxed

* Feeling refreshed

* Having a positive outlook

Reiki is all about harmony, peace, balance and good ethics. Dr. Usui taught and offered these principles:

Just for today, I will be grateful. Just for today, I will not anger. Just for today I will not worry. Just for today, I will do my work honestly. Just for today, I will respect life.

Just for today” is a great reminder to live for today, because you cannot control the past or the future. I encourage my readers to live a harmonious peaceful and balanced life and enjoy living “Just for today.”

Blessings and Namaste to you all.


Daisy Villa is a Reiki Master Level 4

Friday, February 22, 2013

I have decided to add quick, healthy and delicious recipes. Hummus  is very popular. Instead of buying hummus, why not make your own with fresh and organic ingredients.

Make Your Own Fresh Hummus

2 cups of cooked organic chick peas either one 16 oz can (drained) or you can soak and cook your own

1/4 cup of water
3-5 tbsp fresh lemon juice ( use organic lemons )
1 1/2 tsp tahini
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tsp salt....use Himalayn Salt ( only salt that lowers high blood pressure
2 tbsp olive oil (use a high quality)

Blend in a blender and serve! Yummus!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day !!!

Chocolate - The Good and The Bad

by Daisy Villa

Valentine’s Day gives everyone the opportunity to lavish love on their favorite people through gifts like a romantic dinner, a romantic get-away, jewelry, perfume, flowers, wine, champagne and the ever-popular chocolates in the familiar heart-shaped box. Even people on diets enjoy receiving chocolates on special occasions. From the commercial chocolate bar to the expensive chocolate truffle. But how good is chocolate for your health?

The best chocolate to eat is organic dark chocolate. Small daily doses of flavonoid-rich dark chocolate eaten over a two-week period have been found to help the blood vessels to better dilate. Scientists targeted epicatechin, a flavonoid that was absorbed at high levels in the blood. This was particularly beneficial in blood vessel functions. Research has found that elevated levels of epicatechin trigger the release of active substances that increase blood flow through arteries and improve heart health.

Flavanoids, chemical compounds with antioxidant properties found in a variety of plants, have been shown to promote a number of cardiovascular benefits, including decreasing bad LDL cholesterol as well as the body’s inflammatory immune responses and inhibiting the accumulation of blood platelets which contribute to blood clots that produce heart attacks and strokes.

Even with this good news, chocolate lovers beware. Don’t go shoveling down Snickers and Hershey bars just yet. Chocolate is still a processed food and many chocolates are manufactured in such a way that much of the antioxidants are damaged during standard processing. Most consumers don’t understand that chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, which is a plant. Without adding lots of sugar, people would find the cocoa bean extremely bitter. Most chocolate manufacturers remove flavanoids from chocolate because of their natural bitter taste. This leaves only the sugar, fat and calories. Don’t forget that one ounce of dark chocolate still contains 9 grams of fat and 149 calories.

Many people call themselves chocoholics. Being a serious chocoholic is similar to other addicts. Chocoholics can feel guilt, frustration, depression, anxiety and restlessness when exposed to chocolate. All these feelings are felt by people addicted to drugs or alcohol. Of course, that is the extreme of loving chocolate. For many, chocolate has a more subtle meaning beyond the delicious taste of chocolate. It gives fleeting moments of decadent pleasure. Sometimes there is guilt, or eating chocolate can give that elusive bittersweet feeling like an unsuccessful love affair.

So is chocolate good or bad? Despite the benefits of flavanoids found in chocolate, there are healthier options like blueberries, apples, grapes, onions, greens and broccoli. According to the USDA, blueberries are the top-rated food as far as antioxidant capacity is concerned. They have anthocyanins that are more powerful than the flavanoids found in cocoa for protecting against free radical damage. Unfortunately, blueberries and other berries have a relatively short growing season. During those months when fresh berries are not available, you can purchase them frozen at your grocery store.

Chocolate is the perfect food treat for many special occasions. If you want to eat chocolate, here are three considerations: Use moderation when consuming chocolate. Instead of wolfing down chocolate, savor each bite. If you have constant cravings for sweets, you are likely not eating a correct and balanced diet. If you crave chocolate when you are upset, lonely or bored, you might find that there are underlying emotional issues which needto be resolved.

Do not eat chocolate if you have a disease and are struggling with serious health issues. Only eat chocolate if you are healthy. Dark chocolate still contains large quantities of sugar and fat.

Eat only organic (the more organic the better) dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has twice as much flavanoids as light or milk chocolate and white chocolate contains no nutrients.

I still believe in celebrating life, and chocolate can be the perfect food. Use common sense when eating chocolate. If you still feel that tinge of guilt, a good compromise would be to eat berries dipped in chocolate. Valentine’s Day comes only once a year, so go ahead and enjoy some organic dark chocolate.

Wishing you all a Healthy Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Getting Started with Yoga

by Daisy Villa

Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and is gaining worldwide popularity. People are seeking out yoga classes and buying DVDs and books about this ancient discipline and exercise. The translation of yoga is to “join,” “yoke” or “union” of mind, body and spirit. Yoga includes the postures or asanas, meditation, breathing techniques and philosophy.

What considerations should a person have when starting yoga?

It is interesting that before a person begins yoga, one thinks about physical goals, one’s physical condition and even how much time to allocate to practicing yoga. When I started yoga, I thought about these considerations. But as I began my practice, none of these things seemed important after a while because yoga became an important part of my lifestyle. I was dedicated to attend classes and before I knew it, I realized physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.

Should you have a physical exam before you start yoga?

A physical exam will give you useful information whether yoga is right for you. Once you have the peace of mind that yoga is a discipline in line with your physical condition, you can continue cultivating self-awareness and your inner self.

Make sure you make your yoga teacher aware of any physical limitations. A yoga teacher will be able to provide modifications to a student’s routine and practice. This medical information will help you to avoid any injuries.

Should you learn yoga at home or go to classes?

While DVDs and books abound about yoga, it is important to work with a good teacher. A good teacher will be able to refine postures or asanas, meditation and breathing techniques.

Nothing substitutes for human interaction. Research yoga classes that are available in your community before making a final decision.

Choosing the right yoga teacher is important. The right yoga teacher:

* Talks to you and other students with mutual respect.

* Allows students to feel at ease to ask questions.

* Does not show an air of superiority.

* Assists students with problems of alignment and posture form.

* Is able to give verbal cues during practice.

* Does not act dogmatic.

* Is not overly concerned with power, fame or money.

* Should have certified teacher training.

* Should embody qualities of compassion, peace, kindness, joy and equality. Even though we are all at various stages of our personal physical and spiritual journey, it helps to look at a teacher’s ethics and character.

* Beware of a teacher who watches the clock and just wants to get the practice done.

There are different styles and types of yoga. Hatha yoga is the most popular today. Some other types and styles that are gaining popularity are Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar and Bikram. Try different classes before deciding on the style of yoga you feel matches your needs and wants.

When choosing a yoga teacher or class, it is important to pay attention to your good judgment and intuition. Not every class or teacher will meet your needs, even if others find a teacher or class just right for them. Some teachers are more nurturing than others. Some focus more on spiritual aspects of yoga. Some perform adjustments during a practice. And some are overly zealous. It is important to listen to your body and know that not all yoga training is equal. And not all teachers are equal in all areas.

As you continue yoga, you will probably find that you may want to take from different teachers or move from your first teacher to another.

Never feel that you are disloyal if you want to expand or move on. Remember, yoga is about your personal growth.

Daisy Villa is a certified Yoga Teacher  by YogaSteps LLC