Stand Up

Stand up & re-energize
Stand up & re-energize

It’s been a long while, but I’m finally back to blogging.   And I’m happy to say, I’ve officially dedicated this blog to digging out, standing up, and re-energizing.    For some karmic reason, I’ve been blessed with a life that has trained me to become a professional funk-buster.

This past April brought me some deeply personalized funk, in the form of Stent #2 being implanted in my right coronary artery.  Long, complicated story short, it appears that over-grown surgical scar tissue (from my 2008 aortic valve replacement) had obstructed and closed the artery.

Stent #1, in case you’re wondering, was implanted in July 2009, by my cardiologist, Mark Blum.  He re-opened my artery, which was 99.5% closed.  I was, and still am, incredibly grateful.   I knew I had been granted new life.

Unfortunately, at the time, I was completely and totally exhausted from the ordeal.   Even more fortunately,  I was able to re-energize with the help of healing foods and herbs.

When my artery closed AGAIN this past April, I was somewhat in denial.  But I had all the symptoms – fatigue, pain in my jaw and teeth upon exertion, muscle weakness, and shortness of breath.   So, very reluctantly, I dragged myself in to see my cardiologist.  And  ZAP.  Within 5 minutes of listening to my symptoms, he ordered a cardiac catheterization.  4 days later, he placed Stent #2 inside Stent #1 (the sandwich technique), to re-open my artery,  which was 95% closed.

Again, I am extremely grateful.  I know how lucky I am.  Truthfully, I am a little un-nerved that it happened again.   I can only trust that my doubly-fortified-sandwich-stent will hold.

Of course,  I am also feeling self-righteously p.o.’d  that despite the fact that my arteries aren’t clogged with plaque, and never have been, I have been diagnosed with CAD (Coronary Artery Disease).  When I complained to my doctor, he told me I have a rare condition for which there is no diagnosis.  CAD is the only one that fits.

“Just relax,”  I tell myself,  breathing deeply,  “and let go of this wound to my healthy-all-natural-organic  ego.”

Stent #2 ,  and its accompanying funk, threw me back into dark depths.   I began to experience the symptoms which made me believe that the stents were closing again.    I thought for sure I would need surgery to correct the situation.

After a few tense visits to my cardiologist, another catheterization, and frightful thoughts of yet another open-heart surgery, we determined that I was  ‘de-conditioned’.  In other words,  completely out of shape.   Depleted from months of lack of exercise, illness,  and low energy.

No surgery.  Thank God.

So today,  I am once again re-energizing my life.  I am so grateful for having the tools to do so.   As a gesture of my gratitude,  I have decided to use this blog to share some of my best-ever funk-busting foods, herbs and techniques.

Stay tuned to De-Funk and  Re-Energize your life.

Be Well,


Warming Four Spice Tea

SpicesWe’ve had a load of snow here in New Jersey during the past few weeks.  It is beautiful, and for once the snow is sticking around for a while.  It’s the kind of weather that begs for a cozy fire, a fuzzy warm blanket, and a hot cup of tea.

I grew up in a fairly chilly house. My mother went eco-green before it was fashionable, and kept the heat down to conserve energy and save money.  Now I find I prefer a somewhat chilly house, and I keep the heat low.   My husband and daughters, of course, like it warmer than I do.   But when I’m alone I sometimes get a little overzealous and I let the heat drop to below 60.

When I need warmth, I love to make a big pot of Four Spice Tea – with Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon Stick and Star Anise.  It’s so easy to make, and you can find the ingredients in the spice aisle at most grocery stores.  I purchase my spices online from Mountain Rose Herbs.  They have a wonderful selection of reasonably-price organic products.

Here’s my recipe.  It’s delicious.  It’s warming.  It stimulates circulation and digestion, and it’s great for a cough or cold.  And, it smells wonderful!

Four Spice Tea

2-3 cinnamon sticks
4-5 pieces star anise
2 inches gingerroot, peeled and  sliced
4-5 cloves
4 – 6 cups water
Honey or maple syrup to taste.

Combine ingredients in large pot.  Bring to boil

Simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding water as necessary.

Strain into another pan or teapot.

Serve hot, sweetening with a little honey or maple syrup.


Seaweed Power


Seaweed will help you clear away the debris that's hiding the authentic you.
Seaweed will help you clear away the debris that’s hiding the authentic you.



I’ve been eating more seaweed during the past few months.  And I feel great!   I have more energy, softer skin, and healthier hair.  (I swear I even have fewer gray hairs!)

After my trip to San Diego in August, where I walked around piles of giant kelp each day, I felt an undeniable urge to bring the ocean back home.  The mineral-rich seawater powerfully soothed and relaxed my hips and muscles, and I felt the need to detoxify.  I had to have more.

So, when I got back, I began adding more seaweed into my diet.  Sometimes I  crisp a piece of Nori on the stove for a quick morning snack.   Or, I put extra Wakame in my miso soup and brown-rice stirfry.  I make a seaweed tea from kelp and arame  which I pour into my bathwater for a soothing seabath at home.  I always keep a bag of dulse or kelp around to munch on.

Seaweed can get expensive, so I buy seaweed in bulk from a small company called Maine Seaweed Company.   It’s a wonderful source for hand-harvested wild seaweed from pristine Maine waters.  To order, or learn more about the company, and its owner Larch Hanson, click here.  This site was recommended to me by my friend, Herbalist Letha Hadady.  Visit Letha  at

Commercial seaweed sources include Emerald Cove, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, and Eden, available online and at health-food stores.  If you plan to use a lot of seaweed, it’s cheaper to buy bulk.

Here’s a quick kombu stock which is so tasty and easy to make, you’ll have no excuse for avoiding seaweed.  Seaweed is mineral-rich, and is beneficial for skin, hair, energy, thyroid, detoxification, and more.  Click here for my arame-saute recipe in the September issue of my ezine, The Good Food News.

Quick Kombu (Kelp) Stock

This gingery seaweed stock is alkalizing, mineral-rich, and detoxifying.  It’s great as an afternoon pick-me-up.  It’s also perfect as a base for miso soup.

2 quarts cold water

1-2 strips kombu (kelp) seaweed, wiped clean

Handful dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed (optional)

1-2  inches ginger, peeled, and sliced

Shoyu (natural soy sauce) to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients except shoyu in a large sauce pan. Heat to a high simmer.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Strain the broth, reserving the mushrooms for another use.
  4. Season to taste with soy sauce.