31 October 2012

( an ode to oils )

by jennifer hetrick
after having a more rushed and stressful life for years and meaning well but still seeing a lot of frustration, leslie sacks of douglassville began to glimpse the shape of her days changing once she started delving into a more natural type of energy through her efforts.
sacks now works daily with young living essential oils, or yleo, which is based out of lehi, utah. as a massage therapist today, aiming toward certification to use her expertise with wholesome essential oils in the field of oncology through the american holistic nurses’ association, she plans to do what she can to help cancer patients with her growing skill-set.
she has learned the continual blossoming benefits of using yleo versus ones sometimes found even in organic or natural food stores, as national regulations with wording and content of what must be on labels is not strict enough that the most pure and non-diluted or minimally chemically-altered ingredients are required with those who bottle the liquids. and yet they can appear as though they’re organic or completely pure, with how the bottles’ labels are handled. but a call to the companies to clarify this would likely lead to an only so clear answer.
“after a crippling injury in his early adult years that nearly cost him his life, [d.] gary young dedicated his life to researching essential oils and natural ways to combat disease, preserve health, and promote natural and healthy lifestyles,” reads his website, mentioning that he grew up on a farm in idaho but moved to canada and worked in logging and ranching, suffering a nearly devastating logging accident. “he has since earned a degree in nutrition, a doctorate in naturopathy, and has gone on to become one of the foremost authorities on essential oils and their therapeutic value in the world.”
originally hearing that he wouldn’t walk again after the logging accident, “young had tried to commit suicide three times but failed. in time, he began to research old societies and ones where people lived into old age,” sacks says to explain more about the founder’s circumstances that inspired him to lead the life he now calls his own and shares with so many others.
young understood the importance of having the most far from adulterated essential oils around for their impeccable healing uses, and unlike many distributors, ensures that he sees the curious liquids pressed from plants raised from seed-start to flourishing-finish on his own farms. with other suppliers of essential oils, those managing the bottling are unlikely to be able to say they know where the original plants were raised and how they were tended to in the growing process.
on top of that, sometimes lesser reputably bottled oils can have negative reactions on skin, while pure and potent oils are a lot safer and not nearly as problematic for health.
the caringly raised plants that lead to young’s final essential oils stem literally from farms in st. maries, idaho; mona, utah; and naples, idaho, inside the u.s.
for plants that grow more fittingly in other climates outside of his home country, young has farms in simiane-la-rotonde, france; guayaquil, ecuador; and salalah, oman.
“i believe very strongly in the oils,” sacks admits. “it’s all about helping others.”
while yleo has many straight essential oils, it also has a few blends to bring out the best characteristics in combination for when the light lure hits epidermis.
“essential oils are a very complex molecule,” sacks notes. “when you mix two oils together, you change the molecular composition and how it affects the body.”
she points out that oils stay in the body for about 24 hours.
“cancer does not grow in certain environments,” she adds, with oils and their naturally healing properties as a curious and historical proponent of a good life sometimes forgotten and less known about nowadays because of the advent of prescription drugs and modern medicinal methods.
“you have 20 percent more pores in your feet than in other parts of your body,” sacks says. this means it can help better with absorption happening faster when specific healing characteristics are called for as some kind of illness strikes.
a blend of oils called valor, which incorporates spruce, blue tansy, rosewood, and frankincense, is one sacks highly advocates.
“valor is huge for self-esteem and depression,” she says. “it also helps with alignment. essential oils are really tools for the body—we were designed to heal ourselves.”
assisting in emotional strength, valor works with the body’s electrical system, she says.
back and joint pain, injuries related to those problems, jaw pain and disorders, sciatica, anxiety, sleep apnea, stiff neck, and spinal adjustment are just a few examples of how valor can ease difficult bodily anguish and struggles.
“peppermint for headaches is fabulous, but every once in a while, it doesn’t work for someone,” she elaborates. it can help to drop body temperature, too, so sacks gives her children peppermint oil instead of aspirin. dilating capillaries, the oil increases circulation and is worth attention with bruises, sore muscles, and even broken bones.
but applying it to the belly during an upset stomach is one of its great perks, too. plus, it’s good to sniff periodically to keep awake well away from coffee when sleepy moments sweep into the picture, as it aids with alertness.
you can inhale oils, apply them directly to a spot of skin, or mingle them into spritzers or lemonade, she says.
spraying lavender on sunburn is helpful, too, especially because it calms whatever it touches and has a natural sedative effect. it’s good for alleviating high cholesterol, sacks says, and it reinforces cell regeneration. it’s also great for cuts.

( lavender essential oil applied to the temples can help to calm & also soothe headaches

photos courtesy of  leslie sacks
lavender oil mixed with a high-quality vegetable can actually act as a natural sunblock for skin, too, as a preventative measure. but fortunately, in general, lavender oil is very good for stressed skin, sacks adds.
in oncology units in children’s hospitals outside of pennsylvania, sacks notes that small cups of essential oils like lavender are given to kids for them to smell in small whiffs when they feel nauseous or nervous, sacks says. unfortunately, our state is not usually as progressive in these natural approaches.
“frankincense is probably one of the most powerful oils you’ll ever experience,” she says. it stimulates the limbic system and is excellent for nudging injuries to heal.
concentration, immune system, blisters, insect bites, depression, brittle nails, stretch marks, cysts, skin health, warts, breast health, and general health maintenance are just a few areas where frankincense can offer a natural assistance in repairing and improving the body.
sacks is laboring to introduce educational workshops around the region with regard to the healing benefits and uses of essential oils in addressing different crucial topics of today. one location of her workshops is at beaufort’s run sanctuary in upper pottsgrove. to find out more, visit www.beaufortsrun.com or reach her directly at 610.207.1919 or leslie@healingthyme.com.

07 October 2012

( holy crêpe ! )

by gillian slater

tired of your usual noxious fast food options ?  looking for something more tantalizing for mouth-ways ?  steve asztalos has just what you’re looking for !  crêpes !
steve provides these delectable delights at his café, taste of crêpes, which now boasts of two berks county locations. steve and his wife, ildiko, came all the way from budapest, hungary, sharing lightly pancakesque palate pleasers with america.
why america ? well the answer, according to steve, is simple, “it’s the united states. america ! america ! it’s beautiful !” and it deserves beautifully done food a bit out of the american norm just as well.

steve and ildiko ventured to america several decades ago, marrying in 1990. before diving into the world of crêpes within this american scenery, they labored as a postal worker and a beautician, respectively. but it wasn’t until ildiko became laid off that they considered starting their own business and becoming restaurateurs.
so in may of 2009, the happy couple opened their first location in west reading. their second location, tucked into the heart of kutztown, joined the southeastern pennsylvania food landscape this past june. kutztown served as the obvious choice for steve because he wants to offer a healthy alternative to a good variety of people but also college students—all in the form of a thin pancake you can dazzle with batter whippings, joining in whatever sweet treats or savory slices you want.

“today’s big thing is greasy food, and often fried, whereas crêpes are a healthier choice,” steve says. “we can make a fresh crêpe in three-and-a-half to four minutes.”
all that’s required to cook crêpes, aside from batter and contents, is a little oil to prevent the crêpes from sticking to their brief home on a flat-topped circular electric grill. for an even healthier alternative to their usual crêpe batter, buckwheat goes nicely with savory crêpes.
crêpes are a natural choice to this wife and husband duo, with ildiko running the west reading restaurant, while steve operates the kutztown eatery. the asztalos’ grew up on the freshly prepared crêpes crafted by their grandmothers back when they were growing up in hungary.
crêpes, as it turns out, are not limited to their strongest association, france. in fact, they can be found scattered affectionately all over europe and asia. crêpes were originally made in frying pans as a childhood treat with lemon, jam, or melted butter and sugar, at least according to the history of steve’s youngest days.
in fact, despite the amazing variety that taste of crêpes has to offer, steve confesses that his favorites are the crêpes reminiscent of the ones cooked and put together lovingly by his grandmother.
the most popularly enjoyed crêpes on their menu are chicken monterey, artichoke and spinach, and apple pie.  and a little tip—if you ever get the bananas foster one, ask for nutella. steve revises the menus once a year and is thinking about expanding upon the amazing selection that they already have to offer.
not only that, but he has considered joining crêpe-making classes to the eatery and potential discounted specials for students.
in the three-and-a-half years during which their west reading location has been open, steve estimated that his kitchens have produced an average of sixty to seventy crêpes per day. that’s roughly 80,000 crêpes in just three-and-a-half years. holy math, and yes, holy crêpe.
“it’s the uniqueness. it’s original. european,” steve says about why he and ildiko opened taste of crêpes in berks county, of all places. “there’s nothing else like this; the closest crêpe restaurant i can think of is in lancaster.”

it certainly is an original idea, which fits both the west reading and kutztown theme of eccentric little shops that offer unique finds that can’t be scooped up anywhere else.
while it’s not always easy to train new and young folks into becoming crêpe-making connoisseurs, the repeat customers and wealth of compliments make this european food venture all worthwhile. people appreciate the effort that goes into homemade food artfully created with fresh ingredients.
to learn more, visit tasteofcrêpes.com and search for taste of crêpes on facebook.

( maria mcdonnell stirs into the ♥ of berks county as its fifth poet laureate )

poetic sways of the heart have been with maria mcdonnell since the age of three when she dictated her first poem to her mother, an english teacher. in early october, mcdonnell took on the post of berks county’s fifth poet laureate.
mcdonnell earned her multiple degrees in english and writing at kutztown university of pennsylvania, having grown up in the center park historic district in the city of reading.
in fact, she even studied under the county’s third poet laureate, heather thomas. the sometimes invisible yet solidly evident poetic ties continue onward and always—thomas grew up in renowned poet wallace stevens’ former home in reading, not learning the fact until she had stepped well out of her own childhood years.
mcdonnell formerly taught at reading area community college but has been an instructor at albright college now for seven years.

 ( photo by john robert pankratz )
when her sons were young, mcdonnell visited their school classrooms as a guest, bringing the delight of poetry as a welcome change of pace to the rest of the usual lesson plans.
mcdonnell has also been a part of the countywide poetry group known as berks bards, serving as its treasurer in the past and helping to bring former u.s. poet laureate billy collins to a reading at penn state berks. collins’ laureateship for the country spanned from 2001 to 2003.
she also worked with berks bards in their poets in the schools program, seeing the incredible value of this effort, especially because contemporary poetry is so often lacking in school settings.
poetry workshops in libraries across the county are something mcdonnell says she hopes to whip together again in her new role as poet laureate.
the year 2008 marked when mcdonnell had her first book of poems published under the title first i learn my name. foothills publishing based in kanona, new york released the book. mcdonnell is working  on another collection of poems for publication in the midst of her laureateship starting, too. she’s had her poems published in a number of both online and print magazines and received a nomination for the poem “joyride” in 2009 for the pushcart prize xxxiii.
and that first poem she dictated to her mom in her toddler years still has its place in her life, tucked away into her baby book.
“it’s so easy to forget that we’re all just a bunch of humans, struggling,” mcdonnell says about how poetry is sometimes what helps others to simmer boundaries with strangers from worlds away from this one, especially with well-translated poems.
nimah ismail nawwab, a poet from saudi arabia, as a female muslim, had a strong impact on mcdonnell in this way. her 2004 book of poems, the unfurling, is an example what mcdonnell knows would help others to get out of their own shoes and into the life of another through line after heart-pulling line.
“we all want others to hear our voice and understand,” mcdonnell admits. “showing your own story or trying to give voice to someone, saying, ‘hey, this is my experience,’ pulls us together.”
to see "the year of bones" by maria mcdonnell, available in the print version of news, not blues, email us at newsnotblues@gmail.com. we can send you a PDF of the print version if you'd like.

04 October 2012

film and food-- living healthy's next film plays october 9 @ 6.30 p.m.

living healthy, a film series sponsored by the boyertown area community wellness council and frecon farms, is offering its next free movie night !

tuesday, october, 9 @ 6.30 p.m. 
at frecon's hard bean cafe 
@ 128 east philadephia avenue 
in boyertown

the 2011 documentary forks over knives will be the feature, including expert discussions of the value of whole foods being a part of regular diets, straying well from devastating diseases.