Category: Blogging

Mushroom Forager Finds Bounty Year Round: Health Benefits of Mushrooms are an Added Incentive of Foraging

“You can’t make firm rules about mushrooms,” says the 40-year-old naturalist, interviewed recently at his cottage surrounded by woods in New York’s Catskill Mountains. “Mushrooms defy any kind of generalization. They are much more mysterious and hard to pin down than almost anything else in this world.”

Mushrooms Can Be Foraged Anywhere Forests Exist

Wherever there are forests, there will be mushrooms, notes Guy, who has foraged in areas such as the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and Hillsborough State Park, north of Tampa, Fla. Any type of old-growth forests will have the greatest diversity of mushrooms, he explains. Tasty, edible mushrooms can also spring up in fields, pastures and unsprayed lawns. “They are found anywhere in the world; the dryer regions would have much less.” Some types of shelf mushrooms (those that grow on trees) don’t even need rain, he says. They take moisture out of the trees.
The best time to look for mushrooms is a few days after it rains, especially if it has been raining for many days. Those that pop out immediately, dry out just as quickly and are not the type one would want to eat, adds Guy. “They are made almost entirely of water and will disappear. Mushrooms that people like to eat take a little longer to grow because they have more substance to them.”
“Mushrooms add an extra dimension, a flavor enhancing quality to food,” he says. Among his favorites are porcini mushrooms, wonderful in soups and stews. The porcini is easily identifiable because its under section is characterized by a spongy texture rather than gills.

Health Benefits from Mushrooms

On the medicinal end, Guy eats hen of the woods mushrooms when he feels sick. They stimulate the immune system, he says, noting that research has shown mushrooms also have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. “This is well known for thousands of years in Chinese and Japanese medicine.” Rich in minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins C, D and B, mushrooms provide additional health benefits including anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-oxidant qualities.
As to their other properties, mushrooms are usually seasonal, although some grow throughout the year, even into winter, Guy says. “I’ve sometimes found oyster mushrooms that will be frozen, ready to be picked and eaten.” Now, approaching spring, people begin looking for morels that grow almost exclusively at this time of year. Chanterelles and porcini mushrooms are typically found mid to late summer, while hen of the woods and chicken mushrooms are more available in fall and winter. But, again, he reminds us, these are all generalizations.
Although foraging on private property is usually prohibited, “It doesn’t stop me,” says Guy, whose foraging was inspired by his interest in “everything in this world, particularly the wild and mysterious things out there.”

Deadly Mushrooms

Guy says he has likely eaten more than 50 varieties of edible mushrooms found near his home. “I learned about them by reading about their characteristics. Some mushrooms are tricky, they’ll look like others, and some are deadly.” Before embarking on a foraging adventure, it’s important to know the few deadly ones, he says. They include the death cap and destroying angel, both closely related. Superficially, they can be confused with store-bought white mushrooms. “To me they have an almost ghostly appearance.” He says they grow out of what looks like an egg casing below the ground. The easiest way to identify them is to dig at their base and look for the egg-like form from which they emerged. “They really kind of hatch.”
Another deadly mushroom is the orange-colored lawn Galerina that grows on suburban lawns. Guy recommends a good guide, such as the “Audubon Field Guide for Mushrooms,” to familiarize oneself with the poisonous mushrooms. An alternate option, he suggests, is to forage with someone expert on this topic.
Despite his knowledge of mushrooms, Guy admits the identification of mushrooms is an elusive and impossible art to master. “If I had no idea what it was, I wouldn’t eat it,” he says. “There is a huge diversity of mushrooms, and they refuse to follow any type of rule. Most of them haven’t been studied well; their whole life cycle is unknown to science.”
Still, except for a very small number, mushrooms contain healthful properties for humans and add to the health of forests, says Guy. “They serve as pathways for water and nutrients to flow between all the parts of the forest, uniting it together beneath the soil.”
Note: Originally, the photo identifying the poisonous Fly Agaric mushroom was inadvertently mislabeled as yellow/gold chanterelle mushroom. This mistake has since been rectified.

Why The Popularity Of Matcha Green Tea Is Increasing In South Africa

If you are a tea drinker located in South Africa, there is a good chance that you have heard about Matcha green tea. This finely milled green tea was once only utilized in traditional Japanese tea drinking ceremonies during the 12th century, but it has since spread throughout the world, including South Africa. So, why all this Matcha Green Tea South Africa Buzz?

Let me explain…

Matcha Slowly Spreading Through South Africa

Matcha is slowly spreading through South Africa. It is now possible to purchase this type of tea through various stores, including Lady Bonin, El Camino, Dear Me, Plant Café and Clarkes Bar and Dining Room. In Joburg and all nearby areas, you can purchase Matcha from Fruits and Roots, Leafy Greens Café, and even myMatcha.

Shops throughout South Africa are beginning to stock green tea. This is definitely a good thing for those wishing to boost their health.

Whether you’re looking for a cup or a matcha ice cream, you shouldn’t have to look too far. Matcha green tea South Africa is on the verge of becoming the latest health craze.

Antioxidants And Immune System

South Africans are quickly adopting matcha tea, because of its enormous health benefits. Two of the most notable benefits is that it is high in antioxidants and it can help strengthen the immune system. If you’ve been sick or just want to avoid getting sick, drinking a cup of matcha is a good idea. It could make a major difference in your life.

Increased Awareness

As more and more Chinese immigrants flood into South Africa, the locals are becoming more aware of their cultures. While matcha tea is believed to originate from Japan, it dates back in Chinese history to the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). Americans and Europeans were introduced to matcha tea many years ago. And, now it is classified as one of the most popular teas in these countries.

Awareness of the many health benefits of matcha tea is increasing at an alarming rate. Just like Americans and Europeans, South Africans desire to live long and healthy lives. Of course, some locals are still hesitant about incorporating the tea into their daily diet, but this has not stopped them from researching its many health benefits. As with the old saying, “curiosity killed a cat”, it will not be long before it becomes as popular in South Africa, as Europe and the United States

Matcha Tea is Visually Appealing

To start off, matcha green tea has a visual appeal that cannot be matched by any competitor on the market. If you are familiar with most teas, you probably know that once brewed they have a dull, brown appearance. Fortunately, that is not the case with matcha tea, as it gives off a vibrant green appearance. This is thanks to the chlorophyll in the leaves. When they are extracted during the brewing process they give this amazing tea its powerful looks. And, that is not the only thing chlorophyll provides this amazing tea with.

The Matcha Powder Taste Is Unlike Any Other

When you first taste matcha tea, you will truly understand why it is so popular in South Africa and why it cost so much more than other teas. Due to the extraction process of the chlorophyll in the leaves, this tea comes off with a creamy, vegetal taste that has an alluring sweetness that comes coupled with an aftertaste that really stands out.

The Mystery of Medicine Wheels

Over 70 medicine wheels in the plains states and southern Canada have been found.The most well-known medicine wheel is located on high atop a ridge of Medicine Mountain in Big Horn, Wyoming. Accessible only in the summer months, or else with snowshoes, it is built from local rock, has an 80 foot diameter with 28 spokes radiating from the center to the outer rim. There is a central cairn (pile of rocks) and six additional cairns around the outside. This ancient architecture has been dated to 700 years old.
Sky Maps

The Big Horn medicine wheel is astrologically aligned, with four of the outer cairns accurately lined up with the sun in the summer solstice and the others to major dawn-rising stars. The spokes correspond with the days of the lunar month. As an aboriginal saying goes, “As above, so below,” which provides six directions of the wheel: north, south, east, west, up, and down.
Several ancient cultures used the night sky as a model for land survey. According to Alice C. Fletcher’s study of the Pawnee of Nebraska, the tribe “geographically located their villages according to the stars in the heavens.” This method of using astronomy, a fixed and known “map” applied to the earth was used on every continent.

The county border of Perthshire, Scotland still precisely reflects the star shape of the constellation Perseus, and this was demonstrated by the shape of a megalith found there at Fowlis Wester. The Giza pyramids of Egypt were constructed in a set of three, corresponding to the position of the three stars comprising the belt in the Orion constellation. Additionally, the relative position of these pyramids to the meridian axis of the Nile River measures up with the Orion constellation and its relative position to the meridian axis of the Milky Way.
Prehistoric cultures have relied on the heavens to provide earthly landmarks and borders, whether by use of intentionally shaped megaliths like Stonehenge and Avebury and the Malta Temples or by geoliths like the medicine wheels.
Ancient Calendars

A related theory is the use of these constructions as calendars. Why was it so important for these cultures to determine the solstices and equinoxes? Archaeologists still do not know for sure, but it appears that the primary purpose was to mark the seasons to prepare for planting crops.
Sacred Circles
Medicine wheels are now protected historic sites allowing visitors. This comes as a disturbance to the tribes who continue to use the circles for sacred ceremonies, destinations for vision quests, and other rituals. New Agers flock to the old “temples” with hopes of divining increased energy emanating from the earth, uniting with spirits, or in search of personal totems.
Tribal members and visitors alike leave prayer offerings in the form of tied ribbons or necklaces on the rope fences now surrounding the wheels. The original purpose still a question, the curious medicine wheels continue to meet peoples’ spiritual needs centuries after their construction.

Roasted Eggplant Artichoke Crostini: Oven Caramelized and Herb Marinated Vegetables Over Crisp Bread

Here is a recipe to try that is low in fat but full with flavor. Start by spooning a spread made of roasted eggplant, tomatoes and red onions over crostini and top with marinated artichokes made with a dressing of fresh lemon juice and herbs. Super easy and great for any event.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Crostini Topping

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil, for brushing or use olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 red onion, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 Roma tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 eggplant, about 1 lb., sliced about 1/2 inch thick, unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Brush oil or spray surface of two half sheet pans, or pans measuring about 13” x 18” with sides. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If not using two ovens, arrange two racks in the oven.
  2. In one pan, layer onion evenly. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar evenly over the top. Layer the tomatoes over the onions. In the second pan layer the eggplant evenly. Lightly brush olive oil over the top of the vegetables or spray the surface with olive oil spray.
  3. Place in preheated oven and bake until vegetables are browned and soft, about 30 to 40 minutes for the eggplant and 45 to 55 minutes for the onions and tomatoes.
  4. Remove and allow to cool slightly at room temperature. Using a food processor, pulse to coarsely puree the vegetables together. If chopping by hand, mince with a chef’s knife together. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and season with salt and pepper, adding any juices that have formed from the baking dish and serve.

Lemon Herb Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 2 14-oz cans of undrained artichoke bottoms
  • 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 t dried Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 t dried basil, crushed
  • Garlic powder, dash to taste

Procedure:

  1. Drain artichokes and reserve the liquid. Cut in to quarters or eighths, depending on desired size.
  2. Mix liquid from artichokes with fresh lemon juice, sugar, herbs and a pinch of garlic powder to taste.
  3. Pour over the artichokes and stir to cover. Marinate covered in the refrigerator for about 6 to 8 hours to blend flavors. Stir to ensure marinade coverage.
  4. For serving, drain marinade and transfer to a dish.

Crostini for the Eggplant and Tomato Spread and Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf thin French bread, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

Procedure

  1. Arrange single layer on a sheet pan and place under broiler until golden. Turn over and toast other side. Cool and top with Eggplant and Tomato Spread and Marinated Artichokes.

How to Lose Weight with Wii Fit Plus: Using Video Games to Become Fit and Healthy

Wii Fit Plus gives busy (or shy) people the opportunity to work out in their own homes with the aid of a virtual personal trainer. In order to work out with the Wii Fit Plus, you will need a Wii Fit Plus board and a Wii Fit Plus compatible game. The Wii Fit Plus board is slightly larger than a bathroom scale, and works in conjunction with the Wii console. There are several ways a user can use the Wii Fit Plus in order to lose weight.

Play Balance Games on the Wii Fit Plus

Balance games on the Wii Fit Plus force the user to engage their core muscles. Most people don’t use their core muscles very often, and increasing the strength and mass of the core muscles will increase metabolism and help the user lose weight.

Play Strength Training Games on the Wii Fit Plus

Strength training games on the Wii Fit Plus teach the user –with the help of a virtual trainer– to do basic exercises that use the user’s own body weight to help increase their strength. Moves include exercises for legs, thighs, arms, back, and abs. Building these muscles helps to increase one’s metabolism, which leads to weight loss.

Practice Yoga with Wii Fit Plus

The Wii Fit Plus teaches basic yoga poses. Yoga helps to relax the mind and body. Those who suffer from stress-related diseases (such as adrenal fatigue) can lose weight once they eliminate or reduce the amount of stress in their lives.

Create Your Own Workout with the Wii Fit Plus

The Wii Fit Plus can be programmed to create a personalised workout. Choose from strength training or yoga moves, and create a workout that lasts up to an hour long. The Wii Fit Plus virtual trainer will help you make your way through the workout.

Heed the Advice of the Wii Fit Plus

Wii Fit Plus will remind the user to drink water every hour or so. Messages will also pop up telling the user to slow down or reduce the intensity of the workout.

Keep Track of Time and Calories on the Wii Fit Plus

Once you set up a profile on Wii Fit Plus, you can keep track of the amount of time you have spent on the Wii Fit Balance Board. This view can be altered to check time and calories per session, day, week, or month. Keeping track of this information can help you be aware of the amount of calories you are expending.