Monday, November 25, 2013


December BLOG


You think they don’t go together?  It’s possible. You need to stir while preparing chia seeds to drink; you need to buy wrappings when preparing Christmas gifts.  Sounds a bit far-fetched, granted. SUGAR is ultra important.  More later about Christmas gifts.   


   A friend of mine asked me to discuss chia seeds. Great! So the general population begins to “get nutritionally educated!” Excellent news. Schnucks, a highly populated branch of a local chain store, sells chia seeds, quinoa, and other quality foods. So does Whole Foods Market and many other grocery stores.
           Barbara Lischgi, writer/retired “health- food dietician”, shares full information on various subjects. Where chia seeds are mentioned, I have condensed her two pages to a few paragraphs. Chia seeds contain soluble fiber. It makes them a good diet food for they are digested slowly, giving us more energy. The Aztecs called them “running food” because messengers ran all day on just a handful.
        Barbara Lischgi’s reference came from THE MAGIC OF CHIA by James Scheer. Chia seeds date back to the Aztecs, Mayans, and Tehuantapecs, were cultivated throughout the Aztec empire. They are one of the most nutritionally dense foods we have.
           Good source of B vitamins (all), calcium – containing 18% of your daily value, which is three times more than skim milk, possibly alleviating arthritis. Contains boron, which helps our brains. Boron keeps us more alert. It helps our memory. Chia seeds are a good source of protein, superior to all other grains, including soy. Good for preventing macular degeneration. Chia seeds have more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.
          Believe it or not, chia seeds are tasteless; all you do is mix them with water. Stir 5-10 minutes to form a gel, refrigerate to use each day, 2 tablespoons into any liquid, juice or water. Barbara uses 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of water, although many prefer 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of water. You can add the “chia gel” to any juice or food.

      The real scoop came from Raymond Francis who wrote, NEVER FEEL OLD AGAIN (Health Communications, Inc.). On page xiii, in the Foreword, SUGAR is described. I have never seen SUGAR described so starkly. Direct quote:

 “Here’s another example of how doctors fail to put two and two together. It has long been proven that cancer cells thrive on sugar as their primary food source. That’s why PET scans are able to detect cancerous tumors. As they scan the body, any areas that show tumors light up on the scan because of their higher concentrations of sugar. But do oncologists and other doctors educate their patients about the dangers of sugars? Very rarely, if ever. Instead, many oncologist offices today offer sugar-laden lollipops to child patients, and cookies to other patients. In short, they don’t think. If they did, they’d be telling all of their patients that not only do cancer cells survive on sugar, but when cancer patients consume sugar, it is the equivalent of putting gasoline on a fire.”

          In one of my former books, THE ABCS OF REAL HEALTH, I quote from writer/actor Marilu Henner. She called sugar “kiddy cocaine.” For those who have a “sweet tooth,” especially on holidays, believe me, you can still bake delicious cakes, cookies, nut bars, etc. Use a 21st century sugar substitute! Xylitol and Stevia are your best options, in my estimation (among other substitutes available).

          Christmas happens to be the warmest, most friendly time to exchange gifts. Many people actually enjoy shopping their way through the holidays. Good for them. It certainly boosts America’s economy.
           Personally, I prefer simple gifts. Examples:

1) Pick out a print of a dear friend your camera snapped. On a white (unadorned) Christmas-tree ball, put the snap in place of fancy trimmings, cover the balance of the ball with small jewelry and fancy ribbons, end with a hook to hang on to the tree.

2) Give a bouquet of colorful tissue paper made up like fresh flowers. They will last forever. Instructions:     

3) Knit or crochet a hat or scarf for special people.

          Nothing, in my opinion, beats a hand-crafted gift.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Blog

For November, we come to HOLIDAYS!  My favorite subject.

In 2008, Libraries Unlimited published HOLIDAY STORIES ALL YEAR ROUND, Audience Participation Stories and More, which I compiled, using my “school name” Violet, using the rest of a pen name for books published, “Teresa deBarba-Miller.” It was only by unlimited assistance from the editors at Libraries Unlimited that it finally became publishable.
          Amazon gave the book 5 stars. It deserved every one of that 5-star rating. This book contains not only excellent stories about all of America’s legal holidays but many on celebrated international holidays, including a hilarious folktale for Japan’s New Year by Cathy Spagnoli.

The country’s most renowned and beloved storytellers wrote original audience participation stories. They shared instructions -- for how to get your audience involved while you are telling the story -- also activity ideas and plenty of information regarding each holiday’s importance, the how-and-why each holiday rates this annual celebration.
          In November-December, right now, we get to celebrate not only Thanksgiving and Christmas, but a plethora of religious events. I keep wishing that one of the imaginative minds of the contributors will see the value of creating a video to accompany their story, much as Linda Marchisio did. Linda created a video showing her demonstrating “The Constitution Jive” for Constitution Day. Incidentally, she considers this holiday more important than the Fourth of July. I see that. On July 4th, most people use the barbeque grill, shoot up in the air fireworks, etc. As Marchisio explains, Constitution Day actually teaches as well as entertains people.
          HOLIDAY STORIES ALL YEAR ROUND, Audience Participation Stories and More is a wonderful resource for enhancing learning units, relaxing its audience. Most of all, it gives you some great ways to share important times together. This collection will help educators, librarians, and storytellers create holiday-based story programs from January to December.
          Minor Note: Trivia data – “Violet” was the name chosen by my first grade teacher who was confused by my birth certificate which says my name was “Iolanda Letijne DiBarba.” I remember her asking what it meant in English. Told it meant something akin to “viola” which did not appeal to her, she instructed me to use the name “Violet” when I signed school papers. A name which did not appeal to me! However, being always obedient, I went ahead and did so. It did not appeal to my family, either.  They continued to call me “Chubby” until high school days. Thus, my memoir CHUBBY’S STORY; 87 years of living an improbable life. Anyone wishing more information, email me at