The Healthiest Drink


Recipe for Hibiscus Tea:

Recipe recipe for Hibiscus Tea:
8 cups water.
4 bags of tea where “hibiscus” is the first ingredient
juice of one lemon
sweeten with date sugar

Put in fridge overnight. For additional health boost — green foam, place a cup of tea and mint leaves in your high power blender (Vitamix) and Vola! you will be sending a steady stream of the good guys (antioxidants) into your body throughout the day.


Black Bean Burger

*Six of the Daily Dozen (beans, other vegetables, flaxseeds, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, whole grains).

While my high hopes for the Mac & Cheese didn’t pan out, this recipe is a keeper. Using a Vitamix to grind and blend the ingredients was quick, and just as the recipe said, they freeze fine.  A good way to get protein in your diet. AND no salt, sugar, or fat.

From the The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease

Makes 4 servings.
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
=== finely grind the above together

1/2 cup copped red onion
1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
1 15-ounce can salt-free black beans, well rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
=== pulse into the rolled oats mixture, but don’t overdo it😄

1 tablespoon Bragg Organic Yeast Seasoning-4.5 oz
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons white miso paste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (recipe called for smoked paprika which I didn’t have)
**1 teaspoon Savory Spice Blend (seasoning blend often used in this cookbook)
=== pulse into mixture but not too much. The mushrooms, parsley, etc. should be recognizable.

Preheat over to 375 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange burgers on it. Bake until hot and lightly browned, turning once, about 25 minutes.


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**Savory Blend (adds flavor without using salt)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Mac & Cheese

*Five of the Daily Dozen✔︎ (cruciferous vegetables, other vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, whole grains)

I had high hopes for this recipe.  According to the book, the difficulty level is “easy.” Not so. Making sauce with eight ingredients while cooking the pasta and steaming the broccoli is medium difficulty at least.

It tasted okay, sated nicely, and my stomach was happy.  However, my grandkids may never taste it and Kraft is back on the table for them next time they ask for Mac & Cheese. 😏

Then Tim announced that he would not be eating the leftovers so this recipe ends here.

Mac & Cheese

Fudgy No-Bake Brownies

*Two of the Daily Dozen ✔︎ (Other Fruits and Nuts and Seeds)

Having women over in the mid-afternoon, what snack or treat to serve. Of course, it depends on why we are getting together. For current events, wine might be a good choice. This week, I was having a small knitting group over to share and work out pattern issues, so forget the wine.

The thought of serving something full of sugar or fat did not appeal to me. With hours to spare, my solution was a five ingredient recipe that was 100% whole food and healthy. No fat, sugar, or salt. Fat in nuts and sugar content in dates don’t count. They come along with other ingredients that together make them healthy. Dates are touted as the “richest source of dietary minerals.” Like other dried fruit, they are calorie dense.

How did the Fudgy No-Bake Brownies taste to my knitting sisters? Susan D. said it tasted great and then reached for a second piece. Beth declared, “It’s like heaven. I could eat every piece left on the plate.” Finally, Barbara A., a self-declared sweet toother, said it was so sweet that eating one piece more than satisfied her urge for a sweet treat. Then two  took home a piece for hubby.


1 cup walnuts

1 1/3cups pitted dates

1/2 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup crushed pecans


Grind walnuts and dates in a food processor until finely ground. Add almond butter and process until well mixed. Add cocoa powder and pulse to mix well.

Transfer the brownie mixture to an 8 inch square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove brownies from pan. Use your fingers to press the mixture evenly into the pan. With brownies firmly pressed into the pan, sprinkle the top evenly with crushed pecans. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into squares or triangles, or small clouds. ⛅️


Super Green Smoothie

*Six of the Daily Dozen ✔︎ (Greens, Other Vegetables, Other Fruits, Nuts and Seeds, Herbs and Spices, Beverages)


2 cups packed fresh baby spinach

1 large apple

1/2 avocado (peeled and pitted)

1 cup diced pineapple

3 soft pitted dates

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2/3 mint leaves (I skipped it thinking it would be too minty)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

**2 teaspoons blended and peeled lemon or lime

2/3 cup water

Ice cubes optional.


Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender.

Personal experience suggest to sip it leisurely. Slow intake sates better and longer.

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*Michael Greger (author of How Not to Die), nutrition researcher and medical doctor, spends his working hours learning about foods’ special nutrients and studies that show the benefit or lack of. Putting what he learned to practice, he’d keep a daily list of what the research said to eat. Long story shrunk, he created a list of “Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen” turned into an app of what to eat daily.

Why am I telling you this: When I list a recipe, it will include how many of the daily dozen foods you ate.

**Cooking with lemon or lime juice, you miss out on the fiber and all the nutrition attached to it. Time Saver: Peel and blend a whole lemon(s) and then freeze in 1-teaspoon portions using a small silicone ice cube tray. Then just pop it out of the tray, each square equals a teaspoon.

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The measuring spoon container’s cameo appearance–hm.

Green Smoothie1

Clearly, I have some work to do with my photos. Anyhow, each square holds a teaspoon of lemon. My squares, as if it needs pointing out😄, are not full. So, my estimate is that those two lemons delivered 12 teaspoons of lemon. Michael Greger’s recipes often include teaspoons of lemon.

Small silicone ice cube tray

The Coca-Cola Story

John Pemberton, known as “Doc” was injured in the Civil War when he tried to block a bridge leading into the heart of Columbus. As he fell back in pain, a Union soldier cut a deep slash from chest to stomach leaving Pemberton near dead. Back home, his injuries left him in contact pain. Like so many soldiers, he used morphine to ease the pain. After a while, the morphine’s effectiveness and he needed more frequent doses eventually developed a full-blown addiction .

CokeDoc, who was a chemist before the war, invented drugs to ease pain. His goal was a non-addictive replacement for morphine. Finally, he created what he was looking for, a combination of wine, coca leave kola nut, and an aromatic shrub called damiana. He called it Pemberton’s French Wine Coca.

There was no FDA (Federal Drug Administration) so Pemberton was free to make claims about the tonic’s medical benefits.  From an ad he placed in the newspaper in 1885:

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.41.02 AMFrench Wine Coca is endorsed by over 20,000 of the most learned and scientific medical men in the world…French Wine Coca, infallible in curing all who are afflicted with any nerve trouble, dyspepsia, mental and physical exhaustion, all chronic…wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs and will cure seminal weakness…

Coke did not do so well in its first year and Doc Pemberton died in August 1888. He never saw the commercial success he had been seeking.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.42.18 AMAfter Pemberton’s death, a man named Asa Griggs Candler rescued the business. In 1891, he became the sole owner of Coca-Cola. He hired traveling salesmen to pass out coupons for a free coke. Chandler advertised Coca-Cola syrup, a patented medicine, on posters and in calendars, making it a national brand. His claim was that it could get rid of fatigue and headaches.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.44.50 AMIn 1898, Congress passed a tax (on all medicine) in the wake of the Spanish-American war. Now Chandler wanted Coca-Cola to be sold as a beverage. He won the court battle and from then on, Coca-Cola was considered a soda drink. Soon after, Coca-Cola vending machines covered the U.S. landscape.

Blue Zones

Blue zones, Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica), Loma Linda (California), and the Island of Ikaria (Greece) are regions of the world where people live active lives often past 100. What contributes to these pockets of people living longer and healthier lives? Funded in part by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, scientists studied these five longevity hot spots to discover the answer. They found that good genes help (20-30%), but there were other contributing factors people share that appear to play a bigger influence than your parents’ longevity.

The residents of the Italian island of Sardinia—first Blue Zone identified—are culturally isolated. Here, not only do the women reach the age of 100 at an amazing rate, but men do as well. Sardinians hunt, fish, and harvest their food. Families and friends remain close, with laughing and sharing red wine together a part of everyday life.

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The longest living women in the world are in Okinawa, Japan. According to the UN, Japan has the highest number of centenarians (85% of the world’s centenarians are female) in the world. Active and social, the Okinawans’ regular diet is fish, rice, vegetables, soy, and whole grains. Japanese centenarians rule for eating is to stop when their stomachs are 80% full. I take that to mean before they actually feel full. Sumitra writes, “Not only do they live long lives, they live very healthy and happy ones too.” An old Okinawa saying goes, “At 70 you are still a child, at 80 a young man or woman. And if at 90 someone from heaven invites you over, tell him: ‘Just go away, and come back when I am 100.’”


The centenarians in Nicoya, a peninsula in Costa Rica, say the have a “plan de vida,” a reason to get up in the morning because they feel needed. Families retain close social networks and share a strong belief in God and their daily “faith routines” which helps them relieve stress and anxiety.  Moderate daily activities include walking bicycling, cooking, and taking care of animals. Like other Blue Zone populations, their diet is primarily plant-based, especially legumes (beans, peas, and lentils).


The fourth Blue Zone was found by researchers who were studying a group of Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, a community in southern California. They discovered that the Adventists suffered a fraction of the diseases that kill most people in other parts of the U.S. “Many Seventh-Day Adventists are vegetarians, physically active, and involved in their community. In other words, their lifestyles are quite unique in an America where community has become less and less important and over one-third of the population is obese.” Adventists believe you should take care of what God has created. In the words of Pastor Randy of Loma Linda University’s Medical Center, “You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do in your body, you do it to the honor, the glory and the praise of God.” Smoking and drinking are discouraged, as is the consumption of caffeine, rich foods, and certain spices. Many celebrate the Sabbath (Saturday) by removing themselves from the larger culture.

Loma Linda

Ikaria is an island where people forget to die. They stay up late and take a siesta in the afternoon. The Ikarians experience a low stress lifestyle, maintaining their gardens, walking in nature and around the village with a view of the blue Aegean Sea. Their diet consists mainly of vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, wheat, beans, fish and drinking with with friends and family. Family ties are important to Ikarians and houses often hold multiple generations. Grandparents have an active part in the upbringing of their grandchildren and the work in the household. From the Ikarian perspective, living alone is unhealthy.

Blue sea

Conclusion? The gift of a long and healthy life may be within our control. True, some of us are cursed with misbehaving genes that take us down, but those occurrences are a low percent. These  five longevity zones suggest that a long healthy life is about simplicity of lifestyle, whole food, sense of purpose—looking forward to getting up in the morning—, daily exercise, low stress, and social interactions.

Article is based on the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

The Answer