Hello and welcome to Sustainable Health’s very first blog!  I wanted to have a forum to share information with all of you.  Please remember that information is shared in all directions – I would love to hear your thoughts and responses to my posts.
I will be sharing information and ideas such as articles on Chinese Medicine, tasty recipes, happenings around Asheville, health news, and anything I think is noteworthy and worth sharing!

For my first post I will be sharing a recipe.  I should start off by saying that I love trail mix.  Let me repeat myself:  I LOVE TRAIL MIX!!!  Yes, I love it so much that I will shout it out in this blog to the entire world.  That being said, I am usually not a fan of pre-made bulk bin trail mix.  It’s either bland or has one ingredient I don’t like in it.  (As an aside, those of us with a gluten intolerance need to be careful with trail mixes and bulk bins in general.  Trail mixes with tamari in them can have wheat, especially if the ingredients don’t specify that it’s a wheat-free tamari.)
So what’s a person to do?  Make her own trail mix of course!  The following recipe has been my favorite mix for the last month.  I have been getting the ingredients at Earth Fare, but I suspect Greenlife should have most of them as well.
You can buy as much or as little of each ingredient as you want.  I usually buy equal amounts because I don’t like any one ingredient to be the dominant taste.  You might prefer it otherwise.  And now for the ingredients….

* Brazil Nuts
* Macadamia Nuts
* Pecans
* Dried Tart Cherries
* Shredded Coconut    (I like the large unsweetened chunks from Earth Fare – they are meatier and more tasty than their smaller counterparts)
* Almonds   (Lately I have been using the blanched, slivered almonds, even though these are not as nutritious as their unblanched counterparts)

Mix the ingredients in a large bag (after you’ve paid for them separately!) by shaking well.  Your trail mix is done.  This is my favorite mid-afternoon snack.  The fat & protein in the mix really fill me up and give me sustained energy.  Plus trail mix is easily portable – perfect to grab on the go – and requires no clean-up.  My kind of snack!  This mix is also delicious added to plain yogurt or to (gluten-free) oatmeal.

Since I am a health practitioner, this blog would not be complete without speaking of the health benefits of this yummy snack.  I will be discussing both the western health benefits and benefits according to Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) theory.  All nuts contain fiber and protein.  Individual nut information to follow…

* Brazil Nuts:  Amazingly high in selenium.  Selenium is an anti-oxidant that is essential for thyroid health.  Brazil nuts are also rich in magnesium, phosphorous, copper, and manganese.  They further benefit our health with fiber, iron, thiamin, calcium, and potassium.  Lack of selenium may be linked to loss of cognitive function later in life.  In TCM, brazil nuts nourish the Liver.

* Macadamia Nuts have the highest amount of beneficial monounsaturated fats of any nut.  Monounsaturated fats have been shown to help lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and raise HDL, the beneficial form of cholesterol.  They are also high in manganese and have smaller amounts of copper, magnesium, phosphorous

* Pecans contain good amounts of manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorous.  They are also higher in fiber than most nuts.

* Dried Tart Cherries are a great source of beta-carotene.  They also contain Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fiber.  They also contain melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone.  In TCM, cherries nourish the heart.

* Shredded Coconut contains manganese, protein, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, potassium.  Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids , which may help increase insulin production and utilize blood glucose (aka lower blood sugar).  In TCM terms, coconut nourishes the Heart, extinguishes wind, and is an all-around tonic.

* Almonds are very high in Vitamin E and riboflavin, and also contain folate, thiamin, and niacin.  Almonds, like coconut, may help increase insulin production and lower blood sugar.  Almonds are used in TCM to move Lung Qi, stop coughing, transform phlegm, and moisten the intestines to help with constipation.

A TCM note: Please bear in mind that nuts can exacerbate Dampness in someone who has Dampness or Spleen Qi Vacuity.  If this is part of your Chinese Medical diagnosis, please eat sparingly.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.  Enjoy your trail mix!
In health and healing,