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Like to order a large soda to go with your Value Meal? Well how about a side order of fecal matter?

I hate to spoil your appetite, but you might want to think twice about drinking sodas from soda fountains. Yep, the same soda fountains you usually find at your favorite fast food restaurant.

Research indicates that the plastic tubing inside the soda machines may be a breeding ground for fecal bacteria.

So just how does fecal bacterial end up in the soft drink machines? Employees who do not wash their hands properly and then touch the machine, or if the water lines are not thoroughly cleaned, allowing bacteria to spread throughout the water lines and into the drinks.

Hand washing is still the simplest and cheapest way to avoid getting sick, helping to prevent the common cold, diarrhea and of course, the swine flu (H1N1), among other things.

Makes you wonder huh: Like how often are these water lines are drained out and sterilize? You might be surprise to know how long.

Although there have been no reports of illness caused by the bacteria, contaminated drinks could pose a threat to people who are already weakened by sickness. If you’re one of those people who have a weakened immune system, you just might want to skip the self-serve soda fountain.

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pot-herbsPhoto by thomas pix

It seems that our small island culture most popular flavorings are sugar, salt, ketchup and mustard. The closest thing resembling culinary herbs on our plate is the sprig of parley,which at most times is perceived as a garnish!

Yet as gardeners and most of us know that there is are lots of flavors and nutrition that come with the use of culinary herbs. Adding herbs to your food give you the best of both worlds – concentrated nutrition with a whole world of health benefits as well as a variety flavors beyond salt and pepper. There is no question that herbs bring a depth of flavor and added nutrition to almost any meal.

Just as vegetable gardening, culinary herbs can also be very rewarding. In addition to the enjoyment of a wonderful variety of flavors, making use of homegrown herbs in the kitchen is a great way to enhance your wellbeing.

I’d personally love to see fresh garden-grown herbs become a larger part of every Dominican diet, let’s go back to the diets our grandparents and their parents grew up on. Where everything was grown and produced locally. Also I’d especially love to see kids more exposed to the variety of flavors and nutrients available in culinary herbs. I know there are lots Dominican parents who teach their kids the importance of eating health; but in a society where everybody wants everything quick-to-go we’re slowly losing our kids to the fast-food menus.

Remember, it’s the little things that we do each day that keep us healthy. Adding herbs to our food regularly is a better approach than just thinking of using strong herbs when we’re sick.

Here are some culinary herbs that can be grown in the ground, in pots, or even in small containers on the windowsill that get plenty of sunshine:

Note: Some herbs should be used with caution, especially if pregnant or nursing. Please check with your healthcare practitioner before using herbs for medicinal purposes.

Thyme

Health Benefits: Used as a cough remedy; considered antifungal and antibacterial. A primary constituent, thymol, is the main active antiseptic ingredient in Listerine mouthwash.
Culinary Uses: Savory, very versatile. Used in soups and stuffings, as well as marinades for meat, fish, and poultry.

Oregano

Health Benefits: Antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic; has antioxidant effects. Traditionally used for coughs, colds, and mild fevers.
Culinary Uses: The “pizza herb.” Used in tomato sauces, and to flavor fish and meat.

Sage

Health Benefits: Has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Used traditionally for minor digestive complaints, sore throat, and headaches.
Culinary Uses: Mixes well with cheese; traditional in Italian dishes. Commonly added to stuffing, sprinkled on turkey and pork. Tasty in bread, as well as bean or pea soups.

Rosemary

Health Benefits: Used traditionally as a memory aid and to help concentration. Also for joint pain, sore muscles, and minor digestive problems. Antioxidant, antifungal. Currently being studied for its anti-cancer properties.
Culinary Uses: Herb used with roast lamb, chicken, pork, vegetables, cheese, and soups.

Hyssop

Health Benefits: Extracts of the leaves are antiviral and antimicrobial. Traditionally used for coughs, colds, and bronchitis. Added to a balm for cold sores.
Culinary Uses: Has a slightly bitter, minty taste. Can be used sparingly for salads, mixed fruits, vegetable dishes, stews, and marinades.

Dill

Health Benefits: Can aid digestion by relieving intestinal gas. Helps relieve bad breath.
Culinary Uses: Used with pickles, seafood, salads, cottage cheese, breads, soups, and vegetable dishes (cucumbers, cauliflower, beets, etc.).

Cilantro

Health Benefits: Antimicrobial. Traditionally used to treat indigestion, loss of appetite, and joint pain.
Culinary Use: Used to flavor meats, fish, vegetables, and rice. Popular in Mexican, Asian, South American, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Parsley

Health Benefits: More than a decoration on your plate! Mild diuretic. Chew on parsley for fresh breath. Supports digestion; helps relieve bloating and gas.
Culinary Uses: Sprinkle on fish and chicken. Used in vegetable dishes, soups, stews, and tomato sauce.

Basil

Health Benefits:Basil has demonstrated anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Culinary Uses:It is very versatile in the kitchen, a wonderful addition to soups, sauces, fish, chicken, vegetables, and meats.

Source:huffingtonpost.com

Readers: Are there any culinary herb gardening tips you would like to share? Favourite recipes using herbs? Please share them in the comments below. Lets inspire and encourage each other to grow and enjoy healthy, delicious food with unique flavors that can only come from herbs.

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One of the problems growing in our daily lives is that many of us rush through the day, with no time for anything – we trying to do too many things in one day… and as a result we have time to get a bite to eat, we just gobble it down. That leads to stress to on our bodies, which is unhealthy living. With one simple but powerful act of eating slower, we can begin to feel better and reverse that lifestyle immediately. How hard is it? You take smaller bites, chew each bite slower and longer and you enjoy your meal longer…that’s it!

It takes a few minutes extra each meal, and yet it can have profound effects.

If you read the Slow Food Manifesto, you’ll see that it’s not just about health — it’s about a lifestyle. And whether you want to adopt that lifestyle or not, there are some reasons you should consider the simple act of eating slower:

Lose weight. – Research have confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories — in fact, enough to lose 15 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop.

Enjoy your food. This reason is just as powerful, in my opinion. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. In fact, I think its fine to eat sinful (high cholesterol) foods, if you eat a small amount slowly. Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me.

Better digestion. If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there; the less you’ll have to do in your stomach. This can help lead to fewer digestive problems.

Less stress. Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mind exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should eat. In my opinion I believe, it will lead to a less stressful life, and long-term happiness. Try it out.

Dominica, like most of the other Caribbean Islands is slowly turning into the – Fast Life- which will eventually lead us to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. This is a lifestyle can dehumanize us, making us unhealthy, stressed out and unhappy. For those of us who rush through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without taking the time to live life or enjoy life – That’s not a good thing in my book.

Try the small act of eating slower. Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant, or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life itself.

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