Printer Runs on Used Coffee Grinds, No Electricity

I can’t wait until this bad boy comes out. I’m getting my hands on one of these immediately. The thought of using old coffee and tea grinds to print my next paper gives a whole new meaning to the idea of coffee stains on your homework.

RITI PrinterThe RITI printer was invented by Korean Joen Hwan Ju, and has not yet made it to market, but word is now exploding about it. Here’s what you do: Drink a cup of coffee (not instant) and put the grinds into the ink cartridge on the top. (Drinking the coffee not required for printing.) Add some water. Move the cartridge back and forth with your hand, and watch as your document gets burned in very precisely-patterned coffee stains into a readable document with words on it. Take the cartridge out and wash it. You’re done.

You can also use tea schmutz. After an English breakfast, take your teabag, rip it open, pour the contents into the ink cartridge and do the same thing.

Advantages: Leftover coffee and tea is generally a bit cheaper than a $50 ink cartridge. No electricity means you get some forearm workout and save power. Finally, you paper smells like coffee and/or tea. Just make sure that whatever color fluid you’re using doesn’t smell too bad.

Disadvantages: It’s slow, so if you have to print up thousands of flyers, don’t use this unless you’ve got forearms of steel and about 3 weeks of free time to do nothing but move tea dregs back and forth.

Slugging = Regulated Group Hitchhiking

Here’s the unofficial explanation from :

Slugging is a term used to describe a unique form of commuting found in the Washington, DC area sometimes referred to as “Instant Carpooling” or “Casual Carpooling”. It’s unique because people commuting into the city stop to pickup other passengers even though they are total strangers! However, slugging is a very organized system with its own set of rules, proper etiquette, and specific pickup and drop-off
locations. It has thousands of vehicles at its disposal, moves thousands of commuters daily, and the best part, it’s FREE! Not only is it free, but it gets people to and from work faster than the typical bus, metro, or train.

And here’s a teaser from an article titled “Stand in line. Ride with strangers. Zip past traffic to the city.“:

Commuters started slugging in Northern Virginia more than 30 years ago, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. Commuters formed slug lines on their own, and no government agency oversees them.

With gasoline prices now averaging nearly $4 a gallon, the commuters at the Woodbridge lot said the practice is growing even more popular.

An estimated 6,500 commuters a day slug or pick up slugs, compared with 3,000 in 1999, according to Virginia Department of Transportation estimates.

Slug Line

Herbs within your reach

Natural HerbsPhoto: Culinary Herb Guide

One of the true benefits of spring is the abundance of fresh herbs. While many herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme are available at your favorite grocer or whole foods store, many herbs can be found growing wild, or even in your neighborhood. There is simply nothing more lovely as a food taste enhancer than freshly picked herbs. Basil gives a special taste addition to a variety of foods, ranging from spaghetti and other pasta, to salads, meat dishes, and soups. Along with basil, oregano is a “must have” herb for Italian cookery; and fresh oregano is much more taste enhancing than the dried variety.

Herbs such as Rosemary and Sage are actually perennial plants which can often be found in the wild as well as in private and municipal gardens. Both of these zesty herbs go well will numerous dishes, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken and fish. Chives and Mustard (either domestic or wild) are also common in the spring and add zest and flavor to numerous dishes. Though not actually an herb, Garlic (a cousin to the onion) is a must for cooking and is also grown in organic gardens to help keep insect pests away. Garlic Chives are chive-like perennial plants that resemble chives but also have a special garlic-like flavor. They are often grown in organic gardens for reasons similar to garlic.

Herbs which have a special use include varieties of Mint, Fennel, and Dill. Mint is common in many gardens and besides its use in teas and other beverages has many uses as a flavor enhancer for meat dishes, especially lamb. Fennel is both an herb and a succulent vegetable whose flowering tops are used for flavor enhancers for food and sweets, especially licorice. Fennel’s bulb-like stalks resemble celery and can be cooked into many delicious vegetable and meat dishes. Dill is a common pickling herb as well as a taste enhancer in breads such as rye bread.

People who live near wooded or marshy areas can find many of these herbs growing wild during the spring and summer months. By picking them wild and consuming them immediately, you gain the benefit of using truly organic herbs. The alternative to picking them wild is growing them in you own organic garden, which can even be on your apartment balcony if you are a city dweller. Plant and garden nurseries provide special trough-like planters for growing herbs as well as special soil and other needed materials. You can also buy fresh organic herbs at whole food centers and other similar establishments, including public markets.

Cinnamon and Honey for Good Health

Honey BeesMany people may not know that taking a daily mixture of two common household food items, honey and cinnamon, they can not only improve their health but even help cure a number of diseases and debilitating health conditions. In an article published several years ago in a Canadian magazine, Weekly World News, the value of honey as a medicine is shown to be even more effective if combined with cinnamon. A common household spice. Just a few of the suggested uses for this “miracle health duo” are noted as follows.

Arthritis: This common affliction that strikes many people over age 40 can be treated by drinking twice daily a cup of hot water with two tablespoons on honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. In a study conducted at Copenhagen University medical school, it was found that out of 200 patients who tried this treatment 75 were virtually without pain after one month, and many others were able to walk and do other body movements again with much reduced pain.

Common Colds: Taking one table spoonful of honey and a quarter teaspoonful of cinnamon with warm water gives great relief for the sinus and bronchial sufferings of common colds after 3 days. This also holds true for those suffering from influenza symptoms as well.

Indigestion and upset stomach: taking at least two spoonfuls of honey mixed with cinnamon removes the acid and bloated feelings of indigestion and reduces stomach pain and nausea associated with upset stomach. The combination is also said to be good in treating conditions such as stomach ulcers.

Heart diseases: Eating a mixture of honey and cinnamon daily at breakfast time, instead of butter and jelly, helps keep arteries clear and reduces the chance of having heart attacks. Those who already have had an attack, have less chance of having another one. It also reduces the level of blood cholesterol, which causes fat deposits to build up in arteries.

Cancer: Many kinds of cancer, including stomach and bone cancer, can be treated with good results by taking one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoonful of cinnamon by mouth three times per day.

Longevity and aging: Due to being high in anti-oxidants, drinking a tea-like mixture of 4 tablespoons of honey and 1 spoonful of cinnamon powder mixed with warm water helps reduce the aging process, and even adds years to one’s life.

Before embarking on this kind of cure, be sure to use a good quality natural honey and not one mixed with sugar and other substances, such as corn syrup. It is also advisable to make sure you are not allergic to taking large doses of honey (many people are and aren’t aware of it). With this advice in mind, using these two ingredients is a good idea for maintaining good health.

Ring in Chinese New Year with Herbs and Remedies

Although the 2008 Chinese New Year is still several weeks away (February 7), it’s never too early to begin ‘celebrating’ the Year of the Rat by using medicinal remedies and treatments that have been proven effective for hundreds of years. The Chinese people rely on a myriad of natural herbal remedies to cure virtually all types of physical complaints and diseases ranging from allergies and skin conditions to problems associated with aging and sexual dysfunction.

Regarding remedies involving herbs and other natural plant products, some of the most common ones are those many people use on an almost everyday basis. These include cinnamon bark and powder, ginger root, ginseng (which is actually three different kinds of roots), garlic, and of course a number of medicinal teas. Ginseng roots in particular are used in wide variety of remedies ranging from capsules, teas, ointments, and other forms. The most common variety is what is known as panax ginseng radix or Oriental ginseng is very much in demand in Chinese medicine. It is a favorite among athletes and others needing remedies to increase physical endurance. Due to its being a natural product, it is accepted by international authorities monitoring athletic competitions. Oriental ginseng is also effective in nourishing the spleen (one of the body’s main supplier of blood cells), the lung, and in replenishing vital body fluids.

Another common Chinese herb, ginger root, called Gan Jiang in Chinese, is used to treat a number of conditions including nausea, motion and morning sickness, flatulence (bloated feeling connected with overeating and constipation), and for upper respiratory infections including coughs and bronchitis. It is especially effective for cancer patients who suffer from nausea when undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Ginger can be drank in medicinal teas, taken in capsule form, or simply eaten raw. Ginger is also an important spice and taste additive in Chinese and other types of foods.

Cinnamon is a common spice that is also widely used in Oriental medicine. Cinnamon bark and powder is used to warm the body and stimulate the kidneys as well as reproductive organs. It is widely drunk in teas and is easily prepared by simply boiling pieces of cinnamon bark in water.

Flowers are also widely used in Chinese medicine, with the chrysanthemum flower (the national flower of Japan) being widely used to cure sinus congestion and to aid digestion, especially after eating heavy, greasy foods. It is often made into a tea and is a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Virtually all kinds of plants and animal products, including fungus, bones and deer antlers, and marine plant and animal products are used in Chinese medicine. Due to their usage for more than 3,000 years, one can find a Chinese medicinal remedy for virtually any type illness.

Health & Organic Tea

Organic TeaMore and more people are discovering the benefits of drinking various types of organic tea. Whether it be green tea, Chinese medicinal teas, herbal teas, or specially blended “weight loss” tea, those seeking the maximum “cleansing” benefit of these special kinds of tea are choosing the “organic way” to insure receiving the utmost health benefits without danger of pesticides and other chemicals that may possibly be found on regular, commercially grown and processed tea.

Green tea, for example, is derived from the plant species known as camellia sinensis , which also is made into a number of other teas, including black, oolong, pu-reh or medicinal tea, and white tea. The final type depends on when the tea is picked and processed afterwards. Green tea is known to many for its high levels of anti-oxidants, as well at it’s successes in preventing and treating various forms of heart disease and cancers. Many green tea drinkers in oriental countries consume as many as eight cups of tea per day; the result being a mush lower incidence of prostate and other cancers than by people living in western countries. The high anti-oxidant levels found in green, together with a diet consisting of more fish and vegetables and less meat a dairy fats account for this trend for less cancers and heart disease among Orientals.

Pu-erh tea is also derived from the same plant as green tea, but is processed differently to give a different taste. Being a darker tea, it is claimed by many to be al alternative to drinking coffee, yet maintains many of the same benefits of green tea. Pu-erh tea has much less caffeine than coffee; and is often aged in caves to give it a strong, natural flavor. It is recommended to drink at least one glass of pu-erh tea with every meal, especially the main meal.

Oo-long or wu-long tea undergoes a special fermentation process to give is a special light, sweet taste resembling flowers. Oo-long is often served in fine Chinese restaurants as a desert tea to cleanse to palate following a meat of fish meal. Organic brands of Oo-long tea are supposed to be free of any chemicals that might be used in the fermentation process. This tea is often recommended as an aid to digestion, and many drink at lest four cups of tea daily.

Other types of tea derived from the camellia sinensis tea plant include Baozhong tea, a cross between green and Oo-long tea, and white or yellow teas. Baozhong tea is reputed to undergo less oxidation in processing and is said to contain the same beneficial anti-oxydents as green tea with the medicinal qualities of Oo-long tea. White tea is actually derived from a sub-species of the camellia sinensis plant and is dried and steamed immediately after picking. It is known to be high in anti-oxidents. As it comes from only one province of China, it is not as well known as other types of tea.

As with all types of organic food and beverage products, true organic teas must bear the proper organic label. Those sold in the U.S.A. and are at least 95% organic must be labeled UDSA Organic; and those which are 100% organic must state this fact accordingly. The most beneficial value of all of these teas results from drinking several cups or glasses per day, combined with a diet high in whole grains, vegetables and fish.

Two Beverages That Can Prolong Your Life – Red Wine & Green Tea

Benefits of Red WineTwo common beverages that many drink frequently may actually prolong your life. These beverages, green tea and wine fermented from red grapes are both rich and antioxidants as well as highly effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Green tea, containing an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG for short) has been found highly beneficial in preventing and treating a number of cancers as well as reducing blood cholesterol levels. Persons who drink at least 4 to five cups of green per day, after allowing the tea to ‘steep’ for at lest 3 minutes, have obtained health benefits far exceeding those who drink ordinary and ‘black’ teas. And caffeine levels are much lower as well. Drinking green teas is relatively new to Western cultures; but Asian people, such as the Chinese, have known of the benefits of drinking green tea for hundreds of years. This may explain why many Asian cultures have higher longevity rates than Western counterparts, as well as much rates of cancer and cardio-vascular disease.

Drinking Red Wine is also very effective in lowering blood cholesterol and this benefit appears to come from the poly phenol Antioxidants and Flavonoids found in the skin of the grapes. In many southern European counties, including France, Spain, and Italy, where large amounts of red are consumed regularly, blood cholesterol levels in many people are much lower even though high quantities of meat and dairy foods are consumed. These Antioxidants and Flavonoids are also found to prevent premature aging and actually slow down tissue degeneration, one of the prime causes of premature aging. Drinking at least 5 ounces of red wine daily, or a good quality grape juice made from red grapes, will prevent formation of fatty plaque deposits in the blood vessels, one of the primary causes of heart attacks.

Naturally, watching what you eat along with drinking these healthful beverages is also very important. But in countries like France, where people love to eat such high cholesterol foods as goose liver, cheese, and various kinds or red meat (often consumed raw) drinking two or more glasses of red wine at meals seems to neutralize the effects of the cholesterol. Of course, everything must be done in moderation, including drinking wine, which usually contains between 10 and 12 percent alcohol.

Asian people who live in coastal areas, consume large quantities of fish, which is highly effective in preventing buildups of saturated fats. This, combines with drinking several cups of green tea daily explains why many Asians live well into their 90’s with surpassing age 100 not at .all uncommon.

In short, the secret of living longer and looking younger may be found in what you drink on a daily basis.

Green Tea – Natures “New” Health Secret

It seems that many people are now discovering the health benefits derived from drinking green tea. Known to the Chinese and other Asiatic peoples for centuries, green tea, found to contain high amounts of Catachin Polyphenols, otherwise known as anti-oxidants, not only are excellent fighters of Cardio Vascular disease, but have also been found to be effective in the treatment of many kinds of cancer.

One of the most important of these antioxidants, Epigallocatechin Gallate, usually known by the initials EGCG, appears to not only inhibit the growth of many cancer cell, but actually destroys them. In comparison with people in western cultures, Asian people who drink large amounts of green have been found to have reduced risks in contracting diseases like cancer of the esophagus by as much as 60%. In a manner very much comparable to French and other Southern Europeans who drink large amounts of red wine, green tea reduces blood cholesterol levels dramatically and helps prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries, as well as blood clots – one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.

Why is green tea much healthier than regular processed tea? The secret is found in the processing of the Camellia Sinesis plant from which the tea is made. The leaves are steamed, preventing the loss of the important EGCG anti-oxidant. While still containing caffeine, green tea retains the vital anti-oxidants that enable it to provide its beneficial health value.

Other Chinese teas, such as black and oolong tea, also contain levels of EGCG antioxidants. But their benefits as much less due to losing much of the EGCG levels during processing.

Besides fighting cardio-vascular disease and cancer, green tea is also effective against rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and impaired immune functions.

How much green tea should be drank per day to achieve the most benefits? There are many theories on the quantity of green tea consumption; but studies have found that drinking at least 10 cups of green tea per day prevents the formation of cancers for several years longer than for people drinking fewer than 5 cups per day. It has also been found that older people drinking similar quantities of green tea have less problems with rheumatoid arthritis, a common disease in old age. Japanese women who drink higher quantities of green tea are less likely to have breast cancer than those who do not.

When brewing a cup of green tea, it is recommended to let the bag steep in just boiled water for at least 3 minutes. After removing the bag, the liquid should be allowed to cool a bit before drinking. If this seems like a bit too much to do for many people in our modern, rushed society, it’s worthwhile in the end, in order to achieve the tea’s maximum benefits.

In addition to the standard or ‘classic’ version, green tea can also be purchased with flavors including, mint, lemongrass, cinnamon, apple, and other flavors.

Olive Season – The Organic Way

Olive Season - The Organic WayLike many other Mediterranean countries, Israel is blessed with the climate suitable to grow an array of fruits indigenous to the region as well as the land’s history. Olives are one of the oldest fruits known to man and have been mentioned in biblical texts all the way from the story of Noah in the Book of Geneses: “And lo, the dove returned to Noah, this time with a freshly plucked sprig of olive branch in her mouth”. Both the fruit as well as the oil are used extensively, not only in Israel, but all over the world. The benefits of using non-saturated olive oil in cooking is well known; and is gaining in popularity everywhere, despite the higher price for it, as compared to vegetable oils made from soy beans, corn, peanuts, and even canola. Olive oil was used to anoint kings in many ancient lands, and was used extensively by the ancient Greeks as both a protection against sunburn as well as to make their bodies ‘glisten’ during athletic competitions.

Olive oil comes in many varieties, and flavors, ranging from more acidic (and bitter) natural varieties, to the more refined types which foreign households are accustomed to using.

Today, one sees olive trees all over Israel; and many parks, private homes, and apartment buildings have olive trees gracing their lawns and gardens. Olives are ‘in season’ from mid-September to late March, depending on location and type of olives picked. The most popular type of olive is the round Maraschino which is grows in most locations as ranges anywhere in size from around 1 cm to 2 1/2 cm in length. These olives are either picked green or ripe, and can either be found in cans, jars, or in barrels in many grocery stores and open air markets. My favorites are the extra large Greek olives, most of which are imported either from Greece, Turkey, or Cyprus. They have a unique taste that appears to be from secret recipes handed down from generation to generation. One of the favorite types more indigenous to Israel and the Middle East is the Syrian olive which is longer and more pointed than the Maraschino. It is often found in open air markets and is usually ‘cracked’ or partially broken during processing to enhance its flavor, together with the addition of lemon wedges and garlic cloves.

I like to process my own olives, which, if done properly, taste better than the commercially processed ones. A simple recipe involves taking about two kilograms of freshly picked olives and soaking them in water for about two weeks, changing the water daily. After this process, place the olives in clean jars with intermittent layers of salt, lemon wedges and garlic cloves. Olive leaves can be added as well for both taste enhancement and eye appeal. Fill with water until full. Before closing the jars, add a layer of olive oil on top to enhance the flavor and prevent mold from forming. Place the filled jars in a dark place like a pantry for a minimum of 2-3 months before opening. It’s a good idea to write the date when the jars were filled so as not to open them too early. Olives not stored long enough will have a bitter taste.

Olive production has been recently hampered by pests like the Med-fly, which damages and deforms the fruit. For this reason, especially if you are ‘going organic’ and want olives from unsprayed trees, you will probably have to ‘cull out’ at least 20% or more of what you pick. The results are worth it, for you will not only have the pleasure of eating home processed organic olives, but the satisfaction of partaking in a tradition that is as ancient as the Bible itself.

Find out more about Organic Foods, Organic Teas, and Organic Herbal Supplements.

Watching Your Yin and Yang – Natural Healing Through Macrobiotic Diets

Watching Your Yin and YangNatural healing, or letting one’s own body heal itself through harmony in lifestyles, diet, and other factors, is becoming more and more practiced these days. One of the world’s most authoritative persons on the subject of natural healing, Micho Kushi, wrote a very informative book on natural healing through macrobiotic diets.

Professor Kushi, of Japanese origin, and connected with the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois, became interested in macrobiotic eating and its connection with fighting diseases. Kushi theorized that a person’s health and ability to fight disease coincides with a ‘balance’ in the Yin and Yang (or right and left) hemispheres of his physical harmony. All different kinds of medical dysfunctions, including various types of cancer, were noted by Professor Kushi; as well as his macrobiotic way to treat them.

Most people have diets which have an imbalance of Yin and Yang hemispheres. Foods compatible to each hemisphere, Yin or Yang, and how they should be prepared, and even consumed, have been subjects of intense research of macro biologists like Kushi.

For example, he noted that meats and dairy products, both Yang category foods, should be avoided by persons suffering from most forms of cancer. He also noted that foods which are allowed to be eaten should be cooked rather than eaten raw; and that one should chew each mouthful between 30 and 50 times before swallowing. The reasoning for this is not only does the thorough chewing make the food more digestible but the additional saliva and other body fluids are actually beneficial to ridding the body of the malignancy; a very important part of the body’s natural healing.

In other words, as per the time-worn expression goes, “you are what you eat”; and the diet consumed is very important in regards to the macrobiotic way of life. For this reason, it’s easy to see why people living in eastern Asian countries, including men, live long lives; with average life spans into the mid 80’s being considered normal. In countries like Japan, it’s quite common to see people still alive there up to age 100!

Source: Natural Healing by Michio Kushi, pub. 1978 by East West Publications, Boston Mass.

Find out more about Organic Foods, Organic Teas, and Organic Herbal Supplements.