Honey and the Black Aronia Berry: A beach trip-turned-lesson on natural healing

Pop quiz— what’s a beach bum’s favorite fruit? Why, the beach plum of course! Daily double– What’s the berry with the highest antioxidants on the planet (yes, even higher than the elderberry and blueberry) Answer: The black aronia berry! (Aka the black chokeberry!)

There’s a good chance you never heard of either of those fruits until now.Well, I hadn’t heard of them either, until a very spontaneous and very fun trip to Ocean City, NJ! 

Originally the plan was to spend the day at Stone Harbor, but after a few hours on the beach there and remembering signs of Ocean City, we decided to do a “beach crawl”  and drive over. (You gotta show those out-of-towners the ropes afterall!) After Jake and I walked on the boardwalk we came upon a flower show that was themed after great literary minds. There were flower displays of authors from Huckleberry Finn’s Tom Sawyer to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter, and the creations were quite fun.

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As we exited the room and noticed a charming display about beach plums and black aronia berries.

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It was there that we met Alma, the director of the operation, who allowed us to taste test multiple flavors of her raw, local honey and learn all about her life’s work– the harvest and cultivation of the beach plum and the aronia berry.

Alma  co-owns Jalma farms of Cape May ( the “J” we learned comes from her husband John) where she grows and harvests the fruit with the help of her hardworking pollinators, her honeybees! Because her farm has so many hardworking pollinators, she also reaps the benefits of their honey, and makes delicious varieties and flavors. We tried two different kinds– lemon, which she told us is simply a lemon slice inside honey– the aromas and flavors combine over time– and habanero. As I like heat, the habanero pepper honey was especially yummy to me, and gives me such inspiration for culinary creations I could make in the future. Of course, the sweetness and consistency of the honey quells the initial pain your tongue might endure, so fear not.

As we were very interested customers, Jalma told us the many benefits of honey and made sure we knew that store bought honey is absolutely not the real thing. I was beginning to like Jalma more and more with her philosophies on nature as nature intended. It is scientific fact that unpasteurized, raw honey, as opposed to store-bought pasteurized honey, is best for health because pasteurizing anything (a process that requires heat) removes a large amount of nutritional benefits from the product. Jalma gave us a brochure with all the fun facts:

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Fun facts about honey (if RAW and LOCAL):
  • Prevents cancer and heart disease (honey contains flavanoids, antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
  • Reduces ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders
  • Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal “All honey is antibacterial because bees add an enzyme that makes hydrogen peroxide” says Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato in New Zealand
  • Increase athletic performance. Ancient Olympic athletes would eat honey and dried figs to enhance their performance. This has been verified with modern studies, showing that it is superior in maintaining glycogen levels and improving recovery time than other sweeteners
  • Reduce cough and throat irritation
  • Balances the five elements. Honey has been used in ayurvedic medicine in India for at least 4000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body’s primitive material imbalances positively. It is also said to be useful in improving eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence and premature ejaculation, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea, and nausea.
  • [Like honey in your tea? Added bonus!] When honey is used with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations and also helps them reach the deeper tissues.
  • Blood sugar regulation. Even though honey contains simple sugars, it is NOT the same as white sugar or artificial sweeteners.
  • Heals wounds and burns. External application of honey has been shown to be as effective as conventional treatment with silver sulfadiazene. [Man I wish I had known that when I got my staph infection last summer– I could’ve saved some bucks!]. It is speculated that the drying effect of the simple sugars and honey’s antibacterial nature combine to create this effect.
  • Probiotic: Some varieties of honey posses large amounts of friendly bacteria. This includes up to 6 species of lactobacilli and 4 species of bifidobacteria. This may explain many of the “mysterious therapeutic properties of honey”.
  • Beautiful skin: It’s antibacterial qualities are particularly useful for the skin, and, when used with the other ingredients, can also be moisturizing and nourishing. (JalmaFarms)

According to my handy dandy brochure, Jalma farms is a 130 ace farm, where farming has been continued for 300 years.

By 2010 they had grown “2000 beach plums and 500 aronia berries planted orchard style”– the largest cultivation of such fruit on the East Coast!

Fun Facts About Black Aronia Berries:

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  • Black aronia berries are naturally sweet, but low in sugar, and even assist in the treatment and management of diabetes.
  • Improve blood circulation and strengthen the vessels
  • Possess anti-bacterial properties which support a healthy urinary tract
  • Their anti-inflammatory values help suppress viruses by boosting the immune system
  • Are currently being researched for their cancer-fighting abilities. Ohio University study found aronia berries to provide a natural defense in fighting colon cancer! (Jalma farms)

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After taste-testing multiple variations of honey and aronia berries, Jake and I decided they were worth purchasing. One hot pepper jam and one pure and natural honey later, we enjoyed the rest of the day at the beach. It was a great trip and after setting sail to originally spend the day at Stone Harbor, I never would’ve thought a spontaneous detour to Ocean City would give me such great fruity knowledge! : )

If you’re here because of my post on Instagram, then now you know what the aronia berry is all about. If you’re here because you follow the blog, then here’s the pic I posted on Instagram..:

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I had my udi’s gluten free bagel with some sweet cream butter and hot pepper aronia berry jam for breakfast this morning, and it was yummmmy. The jam is reduced sugar so it is mainly berries, but is naturally so sweet. The added habanero pepper gives it a nice , but not overpowering bite of heat.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these nutrishus® and delicious benefits. 🙂

Bon appetit et bonne sante,

Trish

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Introducing Teff Flour …and a Healthy PB Chunk Cookie Recipe

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Good afternoon,  have I got a treat for you!

Last night my good friend Paige, who we affectionately call “Gugs”, came over armed with a baker’s spirit and a little Athleta bag  full of ingredients. She introduced me to a gluten-free grain that I had never heard of before called “teff” .Turns out teff is a grain from Ethiopia that has many nutritional properties, and for that reason alone is worth learning about! So now, I am here introducing it to you as well.

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According to my research, teff, a North African cereal grass, is the smallest grain in the world and has been used in Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years. It has even been used to make beer!

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Teff is gluten free, high in protein, fiber, and calcium, and has 20% your DV of iron in one serving! (BobsRedMill.com)

Side note…. That reminds me, have you ever bought anything from Bob’s Red Mill? They are a great company with delicious flours perfect for baking, and seem to be run by a pretty great guy too. The video they have on their website may make you cry (not that it made me tear up…why would I do that?!) :P…. I get really inspired when I see people doing what they love and helping others. If you’re into that, check out the website’s short video intro.

Back to the teff…. so it turns out not only is this gluten free grain a nutritional powerhouse, but it also makes a pretty darn tasty cookie! Gugs adds chocolate chunks (the ones from Trader Joe’s) to her cookies, and thus I have renamed them to Gug’s Teff PB Chunk Cookies.

For those of you out there who are watching your refined sugar intake, I would say skip the chocolate chunks and use unsweetened dark chocolate instead. The only other sweetener in the recipe is maple syrup, which is processed by the body much easier. Thus, that makes a pretty darn delicious and healthy cookie! You be the judge– either way you can’t go wrong–the chunks don’t have too much sugar regardless, and hey, compared to your average cookie recipe, these might as well be called healthy round biscuits or something!

When baking your cookies, make sure not to leave them in the oven too long. I do this by checking with a fork when it seems like they look done.

Here’s that recipe for you:

Gug’s Teff PB Chunk Cookie Recipe 

(adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Teff PB Cookies)

  • 1 cup Peanut Butter (do not use freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1-1/2 cups Teff Flour
  • 1/2-2/3 cup TJ’s Chocolate Chunks (We add these to the recipe for extra fun!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside an ungreased cookie sheet.
In a large bowl combine dry ingredients, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together syrup, oil, vanilla and peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; blend well with whisk. If the dough seems too dry to shape, continue to mix.
Shape dough into walnut size balls. Place on cookie sheet and flatten gently with the tines of a fork. Bake about 13-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Makes about 20 cookies.
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Voila! 🙂

Bon appetit et bonne sante– and keep innovating!

xox,

Trish

A delish Smoothie recipe and how exercise is a Godsend.

Stress, I am beginning to realize, is more of a choice than an affliction. The more I think about how upset I am with being unemployed, and the more I think about how upset I am that I am lonely and bored, the worse I feel and the more my heart races.

The more I focus on bettering myself and my health, the better I feel.

Today I went to the funeral of our good family friend who passed away . He was a brilliant man, the father of 10 children, faithful, hardworking, a bit shy, and very humble. He didn’t believe in wearing his accomplishments on his sleeve, despite how successful and talented he was, especially in the fields of engineering, math, and science. He believed in creating happiness and using knowledge to fix that which had been broken.  He didn’t believe in finding all the answers, but in the importance of understanding your questions. In his son’s reading about his father, Matthew recalled a beautiful memory that exemplifies who he was as a person. One night when Matthew’s sister Christine was sleeping she woke up suddenly, swearing that she heard blades on the new ice rink that her dad had just built the day before for her and her siblings to skate on in the cold winter months. She looked out her window to find her mom and dad, alone on the ice, skating together.  Years into their marriage and the romance survived, 60+ years on earth, and more to come later. A beautiful memory of the love they had for one another that never faded and continues on eternally.

As I sat in the pew listening to that story, it gave me remarkable hope and faith. We choose the moments of peace in our lives, just as we choose the relationships. From beginning to end, Matt’s love for his wife and his children was not ostentatious, was not flamboyant, but was beautiful, real, and strong. He is an excellent example of a faithful man to look up to, and I feel so lucky to know the beautiful, loving family he created. Being with them today, even in such  circumstances, gave me comfort.

When I got back from the funeral and celebration of his life, I decided to take charge of my own destiny in the small steps I can presently. I went outside for a run/walk and promised myself that I would only come back when my heart calmed down. Exercise, it turns out, has remarkable benefits in terms of relieving stress. I’m not talking about 10 minutes of jumping jacks, or even 15 minutes of sprinting. I’m talking about walking, running, in nature, and soaking it all in. Separating yourself from all negative thoughts, working out your inner struggles and clearing your mind. A run, I find, is a remarkable miracle worker for that.

Being outside allowed me to admire the beautiful landscape that God has created. Acknowledging the animals and insects move about, the trees wave in the wind, admiring a flower that a neighbor took care to grow, making friends with a tiny snail, even dodging some geese poop along the way……each object gave me peace. It was an experience, and made me feel connected to the natural world.

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My run/walk ended up turning into a 3 hour affair, and the rewards were awesome. I got back, feeling significantly more relaxed and at the same time energized, danced around with, as I like to call her, “my little crouton” (our puppy Zuzu) and made a delicious smoothie.

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Nutrishus® Berrylicious Smoothie

  • 3 scoops vanilla flavored organic hemp protein powder (TJ’s)
  • juice of one half lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 banana
  • about 2 cups frozen organic berries (I like to go heavy on the strawberries and don’t add too many blackberries b/c of the pits)
  • handful organic tuscan kale … and voila!

It was AMAZE, seriously delish…. tart, tangy, refreshing, satisfying.

I then got in the shower, blasting the “Singing in the Shower” playlist on Spotify of course, singing “Stayin’ Alive” and Spice Girls’ “Ziga zig ahhh”. Then the song “Angels” by Robbie Williams came on which made me so excited because it brought back memories of dancing on tables in the Hoffbrau Haus in Munich while abroad. In that moment, despite how ridiculous I feel for being unemployed and bored, I was happy and goofy and fun.

Life goes on. You must have faith and choose how you handle it. Better yourself, trust in who you are and what you stand for, and you feel better. Relish in the love of the people who you know will be there forever, and hold on to the relationships that matter most to you. Faith, above all else. These are my life lessons for today.

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Wishing you a peaceful night,

xoxo,

Trish

And we’re ®egistered!

Greetings friends!

I am pleased to announce that as of June 3, 2014, thanks to the help of my Uncle Greg and his patent expertise,  Nutrishus® is officially a registered trademark, property of Patricia C. Doheny all rights reserved. 🙂 I am so excited! This gives me more motivation to start regularly updating my blog again and to get my name out there.

Stay tuned for some long overdo posts– about a delicious new jam I discovered on a recent beach trip to Ocean City, MD; one about stress (and how big of an effect it can have on your health– and how I am learning to manage it), and another about a delicious frozen custard I came to obsess over after a lovely trip to visit my boyfriend Jake’s hometown in NY.  All this and more soon!

Thank you for following me in my journey to health and happiness and sharing in my joy of finally being an official trademarked brand!

Bon appetit et bonne sante,

Trish