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Ten Thousand Villages August 31, 2008

Filed under: My favorite things! — aprasek @ 12:05 am

Ten Thousand Villages is my favorite store of the moment. It’s a fabulous shop that houses tons of handmade, fair trade products- everything from food to jewelry. Mom just got me a beautiful necklace from 10,000 to celebrate my graduation (back in December). It was made by some amazing artisans in Burkina Faso. It feels so awesome to have a piece of jewelry that was made with love and to know that the money will go back to support those artisans. Thankfully, if you don’t live in St. Paul, MN, you can check out the online store to find some great gifts. 

Happy shopping!






Locavore Nation August 30, 2008

Filed under: Environmental Wellness,Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 6:22 pm

Locavore Nation is a pretty cool little experiment hosted by American Public Media. Fifteen individuals from across the country have been challenged to eat 80% of their diet from local, organic and seasonal sources. The participants are sharing their experiences during this year-long adventure. You can check out their blogs here. The website has a great tool that allows you to select the region you live in and see how some of these participants are eating closer to home (your home). They share some great insights and recipes- check it out!


Breathe in, Peace out…





Creating My Reality August 29, 2008

Filed under: Healthy Mind,Spiritual Wellness — aprasek @ 10:39 am

I’ve begun to realize that the things I focus on and bring judgment to in my life become “bigger”. When I focus on my financial frustrations, they become more monumental, more annoying and more gripping in my life. When I focus on my hurts or “flaws”, my perceptions become a distorted mirror- sending a reflection of my life full of the unjust, unattractive and depressing.

If you have a few minutes, I’ve posted an animated video that I really love and hope you find thought-provoking as well. For me, it’s a reminder that life will meet my expectations and perceptions. If I perceive the world to be an unjust place, solely out to get me, the world will respond as so. But, when I transform those perceptions into acceptance, love, gratitude, etc., life seems to open up to me in new and exciting ways. Things begin to operate more smoothly and synchronistic, my self-confidence heightens and that empty space inside me begins to fill.  I love the quote from Norman Vincent Peale (at the begining of the video), “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 


Breathe in, Peace out…




Up Next: Fried Air August 28, 2008

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 9:50 am

I continue to be amazed by the new fried foods that make their way to the state fairs around the country. Fried Coke was one that caught my attention this year.

The concoction is made up of a Coke-flavored batter that is deep fried. The fried bits are doused in Coca-Cola syrup and then topped with whipped cream, cinnamon-sugar and a cherry. The inventor, Abel Gonzales Jr., has said that since the dessert’s inception in 2006, he has been able to alter the recipe enough so that he can pack significantly more Coke syrup in the batter. Essentially, he has perfected the recipe of stuffing sugar with sugar. 

 The State Fair of Texas recently released their list of foods competing for the Big Tex Choice Awards– here they are:

  • Fernie’s All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Yup, you guessed it. It’s the traditional grilled cheese, battered and then finished off with a long soak in the deep fryer. To complete the all-American meal, the sandwich is served with shoestring potato sticks, tomato soup dipping sauce and a pickle.
  • Chicken Fried Bacon. Oh dear. This is serious- it’s like dipping a stick of butter in ghee… in this case, it’s actually bacon, seasoned and double-dipped in batter then deep fried. It comes with a few dipping choices- ranch or honey mustard.
  • Fried Banana Split. This treat starts with honey flavored peanut butter and banana rolled into balls, battered and then… yeah, deep-fried. It’s presented with a dusting of powdered sugar, drizzles of caramel and chocolate, some extra peanuts, loads of whipped cream, banana split-flavored ice cream bites and… drumroll please… a cherry on top.
  • Texas Fried Jelly Bellys. The poor lil beans. They’ve been rolled in funnel cake batter and deep-fried. So these must be the “bean curds” at the fair. Say goodbye to tofu and cheese curds.
  • Deep Fried S’mores. Take a smore, dip it in batter, deep fry and dust with powdered sugar. Maybe it’s late and I’m having cravings, but this sounds good… really good…
  • Fire & Ice. Okay this is weird: An unsuspecting pineapple ring gets battered and deep-fried. Then the ring is “topped with banana-flavored whipped cream that’s been frozen in liquid nitrogen”- that would mean that the whip cream smokes. I guess this could qualify as fried air…
  • Fried Chocolate Truffles. Dark chocolate truffle that’s battered, fried and dusted with cinnamon, sugar and cocoa powder. 
  • Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls. Take a chocolate-covered strawberry, dip it in waffle batter, fry it and dust with powdered sugar. And oh yes, this treat is served on the only fair-approved utensil- a stick. 

I’m torn on the issue of crazy fried fair foods. Often times, we say these foods will be our “once-a-year treat”. But, I’m seeing a lot of these foods on restaurant menus (e.g., cheese curds, deep-fried candy bars). If these foods are popular, restaurants will sell them. Are we setting ourselves up to have deep-fried jelly beans and Coke available 365 days a year? Are these novelties affecting the health of our society or are they just innocent, rarely eaten fair foods? (Of course, if you have some other funky-fried-fair-food stories, you’ll want to share those here too.)

Breathe in, Peace out,



Cold-Blooded Kiwis August 27, 2008

Filed under: My favorite things!,Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 1:17 pm

I’m seriously jealous of the diverse varieties of fruits that grow in the warmer climates of the world. For those of us living in the beautifully snow-blanketed landscapes (accompanied by the flippin’ freezing temperatures of winter), “exotic” fruits are just not part of the natural agriculture. If you’re trying to buy local, it can be difficult to stay within the confines of these hardy fruits. Sometimes I just get sick of the same old apples, pears and melons (I know there are lots more, I’m just whining). But, please, pass me a locally grown mango, banana, passion fruit or a pineapple. Ah, but no such luck, these yummy fruits don’t grow in the climate I live in. But, alas! I have discovered a hardy exotic fruit to be excited about- the kiwi.

This hardy variety, known as the “Artic Beauty Kiwi” can hold strong at -40 F. As you can see, they’re quite smaller than the usual ones in the grocery stores. These varieties don’t have a fuzzy coat, so you can eat the whole thing- skin and all.  You can learn how to grow your own kiwi vine by clicking here. Or, you can just find them at your farmers market or co-op. They’re ripe now and will be available through late September. How excitingly exotic!

Breathe in, Peace out…



Incense and Cancer August 26, 2008

Filed under: Personal Care Products/Cosmetics,Physical Wellness — aprasek @ 9:00 am


News is out on yet another thing that causes cancer. This time, incense is to blame. I was a little perturbed to read this since I enjoy a good stick of incense every now and again. But, the American Cancer Society has decided to rain on my smoky parade. They recently came out with an article in their journal, Cancer, regarding the aromatic sticks. The conclusion from the study was that long-term use of incense was associated with an increased rick of squamous cell carcinoma of the respiratory tract (access the journal article here). Of course,  a response to this study could also be, “Duh.” Yes, repeatedly burning things and then repeatedly breathing in the smoke of burning things can increase your risk for certain types of cancer. That seems pretty obvious, be it birch bark, charcoal, plastic, hamburgers or incense.

The term incense covers a lot of things. There are thousands of different types of incense, some of which have been used for thousands of years. They have been used for religious ceremonies, healing rituals and to “just make the house smell good” ever since recorded history. They come in many different forms, but the basic idea is to apply heat/fire to the incense to release fragrant smoke. In my opinion, incense can still be used healthfully, just use these common-sense practices:

  • Buy good incense. If you buy cheap, low-quality incense sticks, chances are they will be made of charcoal powder and artificial fragrances. So, be sure that any incense you buy (stick, paste, cone, etc.) is 100% natural. Even fruity scents like “strawberry”, “honeydew” and “shnozberry” will likely be synthetic. You need to check the label and trust who you’re buying the product from.
  • Use incense in well-ventilated areas. Keep windows open and don’t hover over the smoke or sit directly in its path so as to inhale it (just like at a campfire, nobody sits where the smoke is blowing).
  • Like anything else- use incense in moderation.


Breathe in (not the smoke), Peace out…



Transformation still in progress… August 22, 2008

Filed under: Miscellaneous — aprasek @ 12:05 am

It looks as if the website needs a bit more work. A little cleanin up to do still. Well, that and I’m going on a much needed vacation before I start school again. I’ve decided to do something pretty crazy- be without my computer for 3 days. Holy man, I can’t believe I’m even saying it. I’m going to head up north, hug some trees and come back refreshed.

In the meantime, let me know what you like and don’t like about the website (content, look of the site, post topics, anything else). Also, check out some of the old posts and email me with some new post ideas. I haven’t had very many lately… When there’s no emails, we’re all stuck with me posting about recent health claims in the news and my own little crazy interests.

I’ll be back and posting on Tuesday, Aug 26.