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castor oil packThe castor bean, also known as the Palma Christi due to its shape and healing properties, is a strong laxative if taken internally.  However, a more gentle use for the castor oil is in the form of a pack placed externally on the abdomen. The oil is absorbed into lymphatic circulation providing a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment which aids the body’s detoxification and elimination functions, enhances liver metabolism, balances the immune system, and improves lymphatic circulation.

The castor oil pack can be used for numerous symptoms and disease states. It can be used for almost all digestive disorders (such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, liver diseases, and gallstones), male and female pelvic complaints (such as uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome, and conditions of the prostate), conditions related to hormonal imbalance (such as infertility and menstrual disorders), almost all inflammatory conditions, stress management, and most importantly general detoxification.  Because of all these benefits, in addition to using it myself quite often, I recommend it to many of my clients as well. happy

Here’s what you will need:

How to make the pack:

  1. Drizzle approximately 1/4 cup of castor oil onto the flannel, and then fold it in half to saturate it.  (Some people recommend boiling the flannel first to remove any impurities).  During the first several weeks you will have to apply a tablespoon of oil about every 3-4 days. Eventually the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every couple of weeks. The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil tomake a slight oil mark on furniture as if you were going to polish it.
  2. Lie on your back and place the saturated flannel onto your abdomen.
  3. Cover the flannel with an old towel or plastic wrap (saran wrap works well), as castor oil can stain other fabrics.
  4. Place a hot water bottle filled with hot water over the castor oil pack to aid the penetration of oil into the skin.
  5. Relax for 45-60 minutes.  This is an excellent time to practice visualization or meditation, do deep breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or sleep. You can also wear the pack all night long, using an ace bandage to keep it in place.
  6. Afterwards, you can remove the oil with warm water and soap in the shower or you can allow any remaining oil to absorb into your skin.
  7. Store the pack in a large zip lock bag. Reuse it many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months). Do not wash the flannel.
  8. For maximum effectiveness it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try using the pack for at least 4 consecutive days per week. The more often you use it, the more beneficial the results.


Do not use during pregancy.  May be used during menstruation if desired but only without heat.

If you have used the castor oil pack or would like to try it, I would love to hear your feedback!  If you have any questions on how to use the castor oil pack, feel free to post them here and I will be happy to reply.

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I’ve had a few rice cookers over the years and all have worked reasonably well. There was the Cuisinart 7-Cup Rice Cooker, the Aroma 8-Cup Digital Rice Cooker and Food Steamer and the Sunbeam 16 Cup Rice Cooker. The problem I found with the Aroma digital rice cooker is that you have to set it for the type of rice you are cooking and it doesn’t always turn out the way you want it to, especially if you add any other ingredients besides rice, as I often do. The Cuisinart and Sunbeam models have a button that you push down to cook and when the water is absorbed and the rice is done, the button pops up and automatically sets the rice cooker into warming mode.  I find the button style much easier to use because it doesn’t matter what type of rice or quinoa you are using and you can stir-fry onions or other vegetables directly in the rice cooker before adding the rice and water to the pot.

The issue with the above rice cookers and most other ones on the market today is that they are Teflon coated in order to make them non-stick. Whether or not you agree that heating Teflon can be hazardous to your health as well as the environment, the fact is that after some time the Teflon will flake off and bits of it will be going into your food. Do you really want to be ingesting that? Using Teflon coated pans at low heat temperatures with an exhaust fan and not using it at all once it begins to flake off is generally accepted as “proper use” by the manufacturers; however, rice cookers are boiling your rice so the temperature cannot be considered at a low setting.

Because of this I began searching for a rice cooker that was non-digital such as the Sunbeam and the Cuisinart, but not coated with Teflon. I also wanted the ability to steam vegetables in a basket on top, which most rice cookers have, but many are made of plastic and I didn’t want that leaching into my food either.

What I found is the Stainless Steel Rice Cooker by Miracle Exclusives which has all the components I was looking for – push button, stainless steel, no Teflon, and a large stainless steel steaming basket (not shown in the picture). I’ve had it for several months now and I am extremely happy with it. The only negatives I have to say is that I wish it came in black or silver in addition to white. That being said it actually looks a lot nicer in person than it does online. The other slight negative, depending on your expectations, is that because it is stainless steel it is not 100% non-stick. Sometimes rice does stick to the bottom a bit, but you just soak it for a few minutes and it comes off quite easily without any harsh scrubbing.

I’ve made quinoa, brown rice, white rice, sushi rice, and even steel cut oats in there and they all come out fluffy and delicious. For some recipes I’ve used my rice cooker with, check out:





I have used the steamer basket for all types of vegetables and even put raw eggs in the basket when cooking brown rice to make perfect “hard-boiled” eggs.

If you have this rice cooker or plan on buying one, I’d love to hear your comments below!

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I’m happy to bring to you this important upcoming class taught by a terrific instructor! See below for details.


TIME:  7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

COST: $58 CND EACH TO CERTIFY FOR THE FIRST TIME; $48 CND EACH TO RE-CERTIFY A valid Red Cross certification card must be brought to the class in order to qualify for re-certification.

If you always wanted to learn CPR but haven’t had the time OR you are in a field that requires you to re-certify your CPR training, this course is for you!

Taught by Valerie Wood, an experienced instructor from an authorized Canadian Red Cross provider (, this course will give you certification in CPR- level C/AED at the completion of the program.



Space is limited so reserve your spot early!

In order to reserve your spot, please click the PayPal link below.  Alternatively, you may email with a valid credit card number and expiry date (it will not be billed if you cancel by Dec. 26 at the latest).

Thank you for your co-operation and we look forward to having you join us!

Certification Types

weight, Rebecca Lazar - CPR CERTIFICATION CLASS

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indexWhen I first heard of Camelina oil, also known as “false flax” because of its visual similarity to regular flax, I was intrigued.  The seed oil of Camelina contains an exceptional amount (up to 45 per cent) of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a unique antioxidant complex making the oil very stable and resistant to heat and rancidity. Unlike flax oil or any other omega-3 oil, Camelina oil can be used not only as a well-balanced omega-3 supplement, but also as a health-promoting everyday cooking oil since heat does not destroy it’s chemical makeup and health benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids, essential to our health, have been almost entirely forced out of the everyday North American diet by the commercialization of our food supply. In recent years, extensive research and numerous clinical studies have confirmed that omega-3 fats are involved in vital physiological processes in our bodies, and that not consuming enough may cause or aggravate many serious medical problems and conditions, including atherosclerosis, hypertension, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, dermatitis, asthma, ADHD, and even cancer. Therefore, adding a good source of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is believed to be a good way of improving or preventing these conditions. The question of what constitutes the best source of omega-3 supplementation is, however, still being debated.  While I have always recommended fish oil and/or flax oil as dietary supplements for omega-3 fats, some people do not like taking fish oil because of the taste or the concern of the purity of the product; The problems with flax oil are that it cannot be used for cooking, it becomes rancid after a few weeks and it doesn’t taste all that good.

Camelina oil seems to be the answer to all these issues, so why not give it a try and see if you like it?  Some people describe the taste as “nutty” and others as “earthy” but when I opened my first bottle, I have to admit I was disappointed because it just smelled…..strange.  But I figured I’d give it a shot anyway so the first thing I made with it was a chicken and vegetable stir-fry.  I’m so glad I didn’t base my opinion on that first smell, because the stir-fry not only smelled delicious, it tasted great as well.

With further experimentation, I learned that Camelina oil is excellent in any type of vegetable stir fry, grilled veggies, salad, chicken or meat but I would personally avoid it for some fish and any sweet dishes or baked goods.

How does Camelina oil stack up to other oils I recommend for cooking and/or every day use, namely cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil? Camelina oil has the most balanced fatty acid ratio between Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9 and Saturated Fats.  With this favourable balance, the health benefits include lowered cholesterol, lowered blood pressure and anti-inflammatory properties.

The brand I use is by three farmers, a Canadian company based in Saskatchewan.  Their oils are GMO-free, Certified OU Kosher, and available in regular or flavored varieties.  To learn more about three farmers as well as more details about Camelina oil in general,  CLICK HERE.

Would love to hear your comments and feedback if you have tried this versatile oil!


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unhealthy ingredientsMany recipes contain ingredients that are completely unhealthy, from chemicals added as “flavor enhancers,” or preservatives to give the item a more stable shelf-life, these items are always unnecessary.  There are plenty of fresh herbs and spices that can replace those ingredients, without adversely affecting the recipe.  Here is a list of my “Top 10” offenders and their healthier substitutions:

Chicken soup mix: A totally unnecessary chemical-filled product, since the chicken you put into your chicken soup gives it plenty of flavor if you let it cook long enough.  Add Herbamare (see table salt) to taste, turmeric to give it a nice golden yellow color, and dill, parsley, fresh onions and garlic and you’ll never miss that chicken soup mix again.

Crisco shortening: I can’t believe this product is still around – so unhealthy! A much better alternative is organic coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature. It works amazingly well in baking and the type of saturated fat it contains is actually good for you! If you don’t like a coconut flavor added to your baked goods then use the one that says “ideal for cooking”.  I like the Omega Nutrition brand.

Bottled lemon Juice: Most bottled lemon juice has sulphites in it – the same ingredient used in wine to keep it from going rancid.  Sulphites can cause allergies/sensitivities in many people.  Besides, bottled lemon juice tastes awful – if you don’t believe me, try to switch over for a few weeks and then try the bottled version again…..I assure you, you’ll pour it down the drain after that.  Always use fresh squeezed lemons instead.  It’s worth the extra minute it takes to squeeze the lemon juice as it adds a natural flavor to your food that you simply can’t duplicate.

Margarine and other fake butter: Are people still even buying this stuff? Yuck, nothing but hydrogenated oils, chemicals to keep it stable and unhealthy fats.  Always use pure 100% butter (organic is best, of course, but I also like Breakstone’s butter).  For a parve (non-dairy) alternative, the soy-free Earths Balance brand is your best option and does well in baking too.  While it is not as crispy for cookies and a little tricky to handle in pie crusts the end result is still delicious and well worth the slightly extra effort.

Onion soup mix: This product is unfortunately laden with chemicals and preservatives, as well as food coloring in some cases.  Although the newer versions did start omitting MSG – a highly allergenic/sensitive ingredient used to “enhance flavor” – it still isn’t a healthy option to use in your soups or any other recipe.  For some reason, we Jews love our onion soup mix and put it in everything, from soups to vegetable kugels (souffles).  Instead, for each package called for in a recipe,  substitute 1 tablespoon onion powder, 3/4-1 tsp sea salt, and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper.  My sister-in-law gave me the following option as well: 8 teaspoons dried onion flakes (make sure it does not contain Sulphites), 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Makes about 3 tablespoons and can be kept in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Spice blends: So many brands of spices make spice blends that contain a myriad of chemicals, artificial flavors and of course MSG.  Either organic brands or Pereg, an Israeli company whose spice blends only contain one thing: real spices.  And yes, you can definitely taste the difference.

Splenda: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Splenda is chlorinated chemical-laden sugar.  Use organic raw sugar, sucanat, or any other sweeteners mentioned on my blog post Oh, the Sweet Life – you’ll be glad you did!  Do you really want your baked goods to have a chemical aftertaste to save a few calories and to harm your health? It’s simply not worth it.

Table Salt: The common table salt is 99.9% sodium chloride (it’s salt that’s been chemically stripped and processed). Although, initially table salt had just sodium and chlorine as, later on, salt manufacturers started adding iodine to it to prevent people from suffering from iodine deficiency diseases. Sea salt, on the other hand, is the unrefined salt that is obtained by simply evaporating the water from the seas or oceans. While sea salt is 98% sodium chloride, the remaining 2% is made of other important minerals like iron, sulfur, magnesium and other trace elements so it’s a much better choice.  Another option, and one of my favorites, is Herbamare, a sea salt and herb blend that adds a flavorful salt substitute to your recipes and is lower in Sodium.  (Don’t use in baking, however, unless you like your desserts to have a faint hint of vegetable flavor tongue )

Vegetable bouillon cubes:  Along the same lines as onion soup mix and chicken soup mix, these vegetable bouillon cubes are generally mostly chemicals and artificial ingredients.  Even when they do contain “natural” ingredients, they are ridiculously high in sodium.  Many recipes calling for vegetable stock can be successful with water and some Herbamare added.  My preference in most cases, though, is Organic Vegetable Broth from the Imagine brand, found at most health food stores.  Not too high in sodium, it contains real vegetable ingredients and comes in a carton with no preservatives.

White vinegar:  White vinegar is devoid of any nutritional value and is very acidic to body tissues.  Substitute fresh lemon juice instead (which is alkaline, therefore healthier for your body) OR raw apple cider vinegar – I like the Bragg’s brand.  Raw apple cider vinegar has a strong taste, so don’t just randomly substitute it for white vinegar; it will work great in some recipes but not others.  And yes, those “pieces” in it are perfectly normal and very beneficial to your intestinal tract!  Some people use a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before each meal to alkalize body tissues and aid in digestion.

As you can see, there is always a healthier, better alternative — why don’t you give some of the above choices a try, I would love to have your feedback! happy

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