If you have any thoughts on subject matters you would like to see featured in the future, or if you would like to write an article to be included as a handout or would like to be part of the ministry, please contact Nancy Mahoney-Rajs

Fruits & Foods to Improve Your Immune System

So, you want to know what is the best food you can eat to naturally improve your immune system? There are a lot of ways to improve the function of your body’s immune system, such as having a positive outlook on life, exercising & reducing your stress. The simplest ways to improve immunity is by eating the right foods to boost your immune system.

Immune boosting foods contain good quantities of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and omega-3 fatty acids. By eating such foods, you may find increased energy levels, and a decreased number of colds & flus caught over the course of the year.

Yogurt contains the famous lactobacillus acidophilus.  This & other good bacteria’s that come from fermented foods help digestion by producing lactic acid which breaks down food in the intestines, aiding in the absorb food of nutrients. Probiotics are essential to ward off diseases. It is important to buy a good homemade type of yogurt, some of the Greek yogurt are fine.  Buy ones that do not have fruit or other type of sugary added ingrediencies.  When they add the fruit, as the container sits on the shelf, the fruit breaks down to add more sugar into the yogurt.  So instead buy it plain and add fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and 100% Vanilla Extract

Kiwi is one of the best ways to get abundant amounts of Vitamin C. Two medium kiwis should give over 240% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) value for Vitamin C. Bananas are packed with potassium, however two medium kiwis have the same amount of potassium, plus four grams of fiber.

Oranges & Grapefruit are well known for their content of the immune boosting Vitamin C. They are another way to get your daily RDA from one medium-sized orange or just half of a grapefruit, provided that the fruit was allowed to ripen on the tree. Two oranges also provide the same amount of potassium as a banana.

Strawberries The Vitamin C content is dependent on light, temperature & variety.  A cup of strawberries usually has more vitamin C than a ripe orange. Strawberries are not “berries” or even a fruit, but a part of the Rose family. Eaten alone or mashed into a sauce or jelly, strawberries are enjoyed in millions of different ways…strawberries in yogurt, strawberry smoothie, strawberries on cereal & on & on & on…!

Cantaloupe provides a high level of both Vitamin C & Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports healthy skin – your first line of defense against illness & infection. A quarter of a cantaloupe melon provides 80% of the daily RDA of Vitamin C & 120% of the RDA of Vitamin A.

Blueberries are the packed with antioxidants to give the immune system a good punch. They also contain Vitamin B, another natural immune system booster.  Fresh, in salads or jams, on cereal or yogurt, there are many ways to enjoy blueberries.

Other Immune System boost foods…

Spinach was not only Poppie’s super food, but because it is naturally high in antioxidants it is   important for immune function. Always remember to steam & not boil the leaves.  This will preserve the loss of its’ nutritional value. Put it in a sandwich, raw salad, or soup for an extra punch of health.

Oysters are rich in zinc, which supports white blood cells & other antibodies to produce a quick & act more robust fight against infections. Zinc is vital for cell growth & accelerates enzymes to facilitate the body’s chemical reactions.

Astragals root is a popular Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment because of its’ age-reversal effect in the immune system.  It is often found in immune boosting soups & teas recipes. When buying this herb, it is important to buy American organic astragals. Astragalus can be bought in Asian markets, as Huang qi.  Buy the root and not the powder.

Garlic has three ingredients used in immune system functioning: allicin, ajoene & thiosulfates, all have to be found to have anti-infection & anti-fungal properties. Much has been documented on the importance to take good quantities of garlic when you first catch a cold, to reduced duration & severity of symptoms.   It is best to eat freshly-crushed garlic.  The active ingredient allicin is released during the crushing process. The allicin, anjoene & thiosulfates in garlic will degrade in potency over time, so you are best off using fresh garlic, over what is sold in the jars.

Carrots are loaded with beta carotene, a phytonutrient that supports the body in building Natural Killer T cells (NKT cells). These cells are accountable for killing off microbes in the body. Carrots have another beneficial component called falcarinol that may have a protective effect against certain types of cancer.

Falcarinol is a natural pesticide and fatty alcohol found in carrots, red ginseng, Panax ginseng and ivy. It protects roots from fungal diseases.  Normal consumption of carrots doesn’t cause any toxic effect in humans.

Carrots are best eaten raw, fresh & certified organic to ensure the best nutrient punch. Half a cup a day is recommended for the best effects in boosting your immune system.

Good Nutrition = Healthy Immune System Function

The Best Way To Clean Mushrooms Is To Not Wash Them At All

Excess moisture is the enemy. If you’ve ever had disappointing ‘shrooms (read: slimy, mushy, or gray), it might be because you introduced too much liquid too early on. Because mushrooms are porous, they tend to soak up liquid like a sponge. And once they get to this state, it’s hard to make them crispy or flavorful—they’re just too water-logged.

But if they need to be kept away from water, then what’s the best way to clean mushrooms? The emphasis is on “clean”—which isn’t the same as “wash.” We recommend starting with a quick inspection before you get anywhere near the faucet. If you’re buying boxed mushrooms from the grocery store, you’re most likely going to get a squeaky-clean box. After all, most mushrooms are grown in indoor farms, not harvested from the wild. Unless you see any glaring bits of dirt, you’re ready to get cooking.

In the worst of cases—you know, the A&E-primetime-special-worthy horrors—give them a fast swish-swish in lukewarm water, then drain in a colander and immediately blot with a towel. Now cook them right away—washed mushrooms don’t keep well.  

Article from Bon Appetit by J. Sparks October 22, 2019

Truth About Plastic Bottles of Water

When preparing for this period of caution and taking good care of ourselves and families, did you notice all those empty shelves where bottled water sat.  People think this is a good way to drink water, but is it really better than using what comes from the tap at home?

What is the truth about tap water and bottled water? 

Unfortunately, our tap water exposes us to things like microbes, pesticides, plastics, prescription meds, metals, and chlorine.  All this stuff adds up and can cause some serious health challenges. 

Plastic water bottles may seem like a better choice, but in fact, are sometimes worse. They contain particles of things like BPA which has been linked to reproductive challenges, obesity, heart disease, and breast cancer.  And, get this, the NRDC estimates that 25% of all bottled water is just tap water!

So what can we do to get the best quality water?  A good option is to investigate on installing a good water filter in your house or kitchen faucet.  If this is not possible you can purchase a filtered water pitcher like a Britta.  This can be a little overwhelming when you are searching what can be the best to buy.

There is a large range you can chose from, starting with a pitcher filter down to a 4-stage filtration system that removes 20x more contaminants than other water filter. To help make your choice, research on reliable consumer report websites.

When buying water bottles over time adds up to a significant amount, maybe it makes more sense to put that money into being able to access clean drinking water from our home.  Remember water is a foundation of good health! 

Tired, Strained Eyes? Here Are 6 Eye Yoga Exercises You Need NOW

They say your eyes are the window to your soul. Well then, shouldn’t we give them a little TLC? If you stare at a computer screen all day, like the majority of Americans, then this article is for you. Here’s how to do eye yoga to reduce eyestrain, keep eye muscles sharp, promote better eyesight and more.


Our eyes are used to staring at lights all the time.  From the moment we wake up, we’re taking in the blue light emission on our phone, artificial lights in our office and blinking lights in traffic. That’s a lot of stimulation for the eyes!  This simple palming exercise can give them a rest, any time of day.

Rub your palms together to create some heat in your hands, then gently set them over your eyes in a “cupping” position.  Allow your eyes to rest in the darkness.  Relax and breathe here for a few minutes, enjoying the peace and solitude this brings.


Blinking helps to nourish the eyes while relaxing the muscles and preventing dryness. Ideally, we would all blink 25 times per minute. However, when we’re intensely focused on something — like a detailed Excel spreadsheet, we may blink less.  Here is an exercise to help you balance out intense staring sessions.

In your comfortable seated position, relax and breathe deeply using your diaphragm.  Now loosen your jaw, separating your lips from one another, releasing any tension in your face or forehead. Find a point of focus, then blink rapidly 10 times in a row.  Close your eyes for 20 seconds, then repeat this exercise three more times.


Make sure to relax and check in with your breath again.  Next, imagine a clock in front of you. Shift your gaze up towards 12:00 then down towards 6:00.  Be careful not to move your neck; this exercise is for your eyes only.  Do this up-and-down eye stretch 10 times, slowly back and forth.  Once done, try the same exercise looking left to right.


Think of this as flexibility training for your eyes.  Yoga International recommends moving your eye gaze around in as big a circle as possible, without using any help from your neck or spine. Start by remembering to breathe deeply.  Send your eye gaze up towards the ceiling, and slowly work your way around in a clockwise circle.  Try to squeeze in at least three deep breaths per circle.  When you’ve reached the top, rest your eyes with the “palming” method.  Try the same sequence again, moving counterclockwise this time.

Shifting Your Focus

We’re not meant to look at up-close materials all the time, and yet we do! This simple exercise of shifting your focus will help retrain your eyes to see detail at different perspectives.

First, hold your right arm out one full length in front of you and stick the thumb straight up. Focus your eye gaze on your thumb. Slowly move your thumb towards your face until it appears blurry. Pause, then slowly move your thumb away from you back to the starting position. Repeat this a few more times, being mindful of your pace and breathing.

Trataka – Candle Staring

This meditation exercise will help sharpen the focus of your eyes and send energy to your third eye — the point between the eyes on the forehead that guides intuition. Trataka is also said to enhance concentration, improve memory and quiet the restless mind.

Set up a candle three feet away from you.  Find a comfortable seated position, where you can keep your spine erect and the flame is level with the eyes.  Next, using a fixed gaze, stare into the flame and focus only on your breathing.  Listen to the thoughts that enter your mind, without judgment.  Simply let them float by like clouds.  When your eyes begin to water, close them and rest in the darkness.  Some yoga practitioners recommend this exercise for up to 40 minutes, but do what makes sense for you.

Always give your eyes a break

In addition to doing eye yoga regularly, there are a number of things you can do to reduce eye strain. When you’re at work, make sure to follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Make sure to complete the following tips from the American Optometric Association:

  • Reduce the glare on your screen by angling your computer away from the window or adding a glare filter to your monitor.
  • Rearrange your monitor so that it is 20 to 28 inches from your face and 15 to 20 degrees below eye level. You shouldn’t have to stretch your neck like a turtle or squint your eyes to see what’s on the screen.
  • Adjust the brightness on your monitor away from factory settings, particularly if you’re working after dark. The blue light emitted from screens interrupts natural melatonin production, the hormone that lets you know it’s time to sleep. In other words, if your screen is too bright, it’ll interrupt your natural circadian rhythm and ability to get deep, healing sleep.

In yoga, there’s a stretch for just about everything — and the eyes are no exception. After all, they work just as hard as any other muscle in the body. Practice eye yoga every day to keep your eyes sharp while giving them the break they deserve.

Wellness Ministry Healthy Nuggets

#1 It probably does not come as a surprise that walking and movement are an important activity in keeping us in good health.  But “life is so busy, there is never time to squeeze it in.”  No more excuses, the answer is to take it one step at a time!  At first adding steps into your daily life may take conscious effort but before long it you will be ‘in motion’ without thinking about it.  

Start with parking the car in the back of the lot.  Park your car further away from the entrance, not closer.  Add extra steps at home by using the restroom on another floor.   When talking on the phone walk and talk.   Meet friends at a park to catch up instead of for coffee.

At work or when doing an activity that has you sitting for a long time, (including watching TV), set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move!  Find a buddy and take a stroll after eating lunch.

Whether it’s to throw another load of laundry in, or to run out, or check the mail, every step counts.  Take the scenic route and take the longer route way to get to where you’re going or walk an extra lap around the building, or take the stairs.

Squeeze in some family time after dinner by taking a walk around the neighborhood or turn on the music and dance!   Keep the good times rolling.

 #2 Treat all your family members or some friends with a pedometer.  Have a little competition with them to see who took the most steps during the week.   Keep a chart on the refrigerator to record the number of steps each person takes daily.  As an award the winner can choose a board game or activity you can all do together.  Grandma and Grandpa could record their steps too, even if they live a distance.  The more involved the better.

#3 Do you read the food labels when buying your groceries?  If not this is the time to start.  First reason to start doing so has been shown by research findings how High Fructose Corn Syrup leads to heart disease, liver problems, obesity, tooth decay, and feeds cancer cells.

It is important to know how much salt has been added or if the oils used are virgin, extra virgin, cold pressed or water pressed oil instead of unhealthy hydrogen oil.  Know the nutrients the food must make a healthy educated choice.  A good rule is if you cannot pronounce the ingredient listed or do not know what it is → do not eat it!

#4 Take a deep breath in and out, in and out.  Breathe in deeply and exhale fully.  It is a well-established fact that breathing deeply and exhaling fully can be beneficial for our lungs, heart, blood pressure, energy levels, mind, and mood.

To start your mindful breathing exercises, sit in a straight back chair or lie on the floor.  Practice breathing in deeply and exhaling fully.  Once you get into the habit of such purposeful breathing, you can employ it when caught in traffic, while waiting on line or talking to a challenging person on the phone.

#5 Grow with a better understanding on health, wellness, and self-improvement skills by listening to a podcast as you drive to work, do the dishes or just relaxing. The program can be picked up on a computer or your MP3 Player.

Here are a few topics you may enjoy:

 Brief interviews, tips, tidbits, and insight into such topics as a variety of helpful wellness topics ranging from relaxation techniques to protecting your child go to   www.vanderbilt.edu/ HRS/wellness/hwpodcast.htm   

Alternative Health pod can be picked up on Website: http://www.docaltmed.com. This monthly podcast, given by Dr. Avery L. Jenkins discusses the latest research in native medicine, including acupuncture, nutrition, and chiropractic.

#6 Are You Creating Antibiotic Resistance In Your Home?

To clear out all the undesirable bacterial invaders that enter the home each day, millions of Americans, spray, wash and dump antibacterial soaps and cleaners onto counters, in bathrooms and down the drain without considering the personal health implications or greater environmental consequences.

If you think those antibacterial soaps and cleaners are enhancing your immunity, guess again – even the Center for Disease Control reports that any substantial data fails to support this claim. In fact, many household chemicals have actually been shown to induce respiratory illness by damaging endothelium as well as create neurological damage when inhaled.

For more information see the following articles. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/10/25/why-you-want-to-avoid-using-chemical-disinfectants.aspx http://www.naturalhealth365.com/antibiotic-resistance-household-cleaners-1168.html

4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass

Muscle is harder to build and maintain as we age. In fact, most of us start losing muscle around age 30, with a 3- to 8-percent reduction in lean muscle mass every decade thereafter.  This is due to lower testosterone levels in men and lower estrogen levels in women — both hormones that help build muscle — as well as changes

 in nerve and blood cells and the body not converting amino acids to muscle tissue as efficiently, among other factors.

But muscle loss doesn’t have to be inevitable: For adult men and women, regular resistance training exercises are key to building and keeping muscle. 

Strength Training and Health is an important piece of the fitness equation. Men and women should participate in muscle strengthening activities that work the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms) at least two times each week. Examples of strength training include lifting weights, using resistance bands and doing push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Even everyday activities such as carrying groceries, playing with your kids and gardening can strengthen muscles.

One of the best ways to support strength building is good nutrition. Protein, carbohydrates and fat play a major role, as does getting enough calories throughout the day. Read on to find out how each macronutrient can help you bulk up — and how much to eat every day.

Protein and Muscle Building:  When building muscle, the more protein the better, right? Not necessarily. While you’re working to build muscle with exercise, protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of total calories for adults. Research shows there is no benefit to eating more protein than this amount and it can be harmful.

Keeping muscle mass, on the other hand, requires a lot less protein than building new muscle. For example, the recommended dietary allowance for protein for the average adult is 0.37 grams per pound of body weight, and that equals about 56 grams of total protein for a 150-pound adult. A typical day that includes 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy plus 3 servings of protein foods (such as lean meat, poultry, fish or beans) will provide quality sources of protein to help reach that goal. Grains, especially whole grains, also provide some protein but may not be enough to meet dietary needs.

Protein gram levels of common foods:

  • 3 oz. skinless, baked chicken = 26 g.
  • 3 oz. of lean ground beef = 22 g.
  • 3 oz. grilled salmon = 21 g. 
  •  ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese =14 g.
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt = 12 g.
  • ½ cup cooked lentils = 9 g.
  • 3 oz firm tofu = 9 g.
  • 2 Tbs. peanut butter = 8 g.
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa = 8 g.
  • 1 cup low-fat milk = 8 g.
  • ½ cup cooked black beans = 7 g.
  • 1 large egg = 6 g.

Carbohydrates and Muscle Building:  Carbohydrates are an important group of foods for fueling your muscles. That’s because carbs are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in muscle to power your workouts. Men and women who are strength training at least twice a week need at least half of their calories from carbohydrates per day. That doesn’t mean you should be loading up on pizza and bagels. Try adding in good quality carbohydrates that are low in fat, such as whole-grain breads and cereals for the best strength-training boost. Low-fat milk and yogurt and fruits and vegetables also are good options and provide some carbohydrates in our diet. When planning your meals and snacks, it is recommended to stay away from higher fiber foods immediately prior to or during exercise.

Fat and Muscle Building:  Contrary to the fat-free trend, you actually need fat in your daily diet. Your body relies on fat to supply energy to muscles during activity, and how much fat a person needs can vary. As a general guideline, fat should make up 20 to 35 percent of your total calories.

For overall health and muscle strength, focus on sources of heart-healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, avocados and fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and trout.

Fat contains twice the number of calories as carbohydrates and protein, so it is important to monitor serving sizes. For example, 1 tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and 1 ounce of walnuts (about 14 nuts) has 185 calories. If possible, measure and co