Monthly Archives: April 2013

How To Eat Yourself Happier by Dorthe Enger

I’ve had an intense love affair with sugar all my life and had no plans of loosing my beloved sweet tooth, until I met the fabulous Digestive Divas. They taught me how cutting out “white death” as my mother-in-law so sweetly calls sugar, can truly increase your quality of life, and how fabulously easy it is.

Every Wednesday on the Fabulous Female Network, the Digestive Divas from Back to Basic Wellness, Kitchen Coach & Natural Foods Chef
Ellen L. Harnett and Holistic Nutrition Coach
Kathy D’Agati will share advice, recipes and knowledge on how YOU can eat yourself happier.

Who are the Digestive Divas?

Kathy and Ellen are 2 sassy women who have been friends for a very long time. Together they have experienced most of the challenges that life can bring. They combine their wisdom and their passion for nourishing food and healthy living to bring a fresh perspective to women who are struggling to care for themselves and their families

What inspired you to start your company?

We went to school together to learn how to stop the endless cycle of losing and gaining weight. What we learned in the process ignited a passion that grows with every passing day. We discovered that the weight was just a symptom of a much bigger problem.

As a nation we are suffering from more chronic disease than at any other tine in our history and the ones that are suffering the most are our babies. As devoted grandmothers, that was just unacceptable – especially since the solution was so very simple.

We made it our goal to create a simple, affordable program that would be available to anyone in the world who wanted to learn how to nourish themselves back to being healthy, clear headed, serene, focused and full of energy. The weight loss is a beautiful side effect.

How can the right choice of food make you happy?

That’s a very interesting question that goes right to the heart of why the work we do is so fascinating.

Did you know that 90% of your serotonin is created in your gut? Many researchers believe that an imbalance in serotonin levels leads to depression. It’s not likely you will have sufficient levels if your gut isn’t healthy.

Eating the right foods for your body will make a big difference in your mood and in your ability to think clearly and problem solve.

You are also much happier when you are not suffering aches and pains all day. Your gut is the home of your immune system. When it is unhealthy, you will experience some type of autoimmune response like eczema and skin rashes, sinus headaches, congestion, body aches and pains, fatigue, gas, bloating and constipation

What kind of food is often guilty of making people feel sick?

There are some “foods” that will cause sickness for everyone. The worst of them all is sugar, followed closely by artificial sweeteners, chemicals, food dyes, trans fats and all highly processed foods.

Unfortunately that list gets a lot longer for the majority of people who are suffering from intestinal problems. Foods that we used to think of as “healthy” are now causing all kinds of health problem. Two of the biggest food culprits are gluten (the protein found in many whole grains) and casein (the protein in milk). Soy is also highly problematic for many.

What are the most common misconceptions people have about food?

People believe that their food intake should just be measured in calories and that all calories are created equal. That is simply not true. Your body won’t respond to a 100-calorie snack made with all artificial ingredients the same way it responds to an apple. Your body needs the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you can only get from eating whole foods. It is the low fat, no fat, zero calorie chemical foods we eat today that are actually contributing to the obesity epidemic. They also play a significant role in the big increase we are seeing in the number of people with diabetes.

What makes your program different from others?

We have spent years creating a system that could help anyone, anywhere get the help they need at a very affordable price. We are the only on-line weight loss system that deals with food intolerances. Our program eliminates all gluten, dairy and sugar. These foods are the cause of many of the chronic symptoms we suffer from in this country. Very few people are aware of the significant role food intolerances play in their inability to lose weight and function at their best.

We also know that change isn’t easy and it takes time. When you try to change too much at once, you get overwhelmed and quit before you reach your goal.

We have created a 12-week program that takes you step by step through the changes you need to make. Our daily emails provide just enough information, encouragement and direction for you to continually make small changes that quickly add up to big results.

Our program also provides the benefit of working with 2 coaches for the price of one. We have combined the expertise of a Holistic Nutrition Coach and a Natural Food Chef to give you the best of both of us. You receive lots of loving support and accountability when you participate in our laser phone coaching sessions.

Who is your program designed for?

Our program is for the smart, busy woman who wants to live life to its fullest every day. She has a life she loves and wants a food plan that fits into her hectic schedule. She wants to lose some weight but she figured out a long time ago that diets don’t work. She isn’t willing to starve herself to fit into a smaller size but she is starting to have some health problems and that’s not okay. She doesn’t want a lifetime of prescription drugs.

If she is feeling pretty good herself, she has a loved one that concerns her. She is the heart of the home and she wants to nourish and nurture her family. She knows that the food she brings into the home plays a critical role in her family’s health but figuring out what to buy and how to cook it is just too overwhelming.

She needs someone to help her figure it all out and make it simple.

How can I expect to feel when I have finished your program?

That’s the best part.

Most people start our program because they would like to lose a few pounds. They have no idea how much better they are capable of feeling.

It is easy to underestimate the power of food. When you eat the foods your body loves, everything changes. Your energy soars, your skin clears up, you sleep better at night, you are clear-headed and focused, you experience a sense of calm that allows you to handle stress more effectively and you look and feel better than you have in a very long time. And yes, you do lose weight too.

How to join your program?

That’s easy.

Go to http://backtobasicwellness.com/our-services/ 
This page describes the 3 levels of program we offer. Choose the one that works best for you and click the “add to cart” button.

If you have any questions, you can write to us at [email protected] or call 866.222.6490.

While you are there we invite you to read our testimonials. The terrific people we get to work with are a continuing source of inspiration. We know you will love their stories too.

Want to Serve on a Corporate Board? Here’s How!

If you have thought about serving on a corporate board and enjoying all the perks and benefits including money, read on.

The corporate board is still very much a men’s club, according to Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, author of The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors (Angel City Press, $25, http://winningtheboardgame.com/)

I recently interviewed Betsy about her well-researched and interesting book. It features stories about 58 female directors—plus advice and strategies for landing a board seat.

JA: What inspired you to write this book aimed specifically at women when there are other books out there on how to land a seat on a corporate board?

 BBC: As owner of a retained executive search firm, I hear this question more than any other from women:  “How do I get on corporate boards?”   So I wanted to inform women how to make strategic choices at all stages of their careers in order to position themselves to be considered–because waiting until one retires from work is not the time to look for boards.

Boards want directors who have active and robust networks of current business contacts–not directors who are already retired, unless they are former CEOs. Executive women are realizing that serving on boards is another way to earn money in their later careers, and women executives have developed valuable expertise to help companies of all sizes–public, private and pre-IPO.

Getting on one’s first board is the toughest hurdle for a woman–once she has served on one board, she becomes in a sense “pre-approved” to serve on others.  So my book describes the landscape, the new rules of the game, and the stories of 58 current women directors who reveal how they made it to their first corporate boards.

JA: Do you think more companies today are open to having female directors?

 BBC: It’s a business issue now–ever since Credit Suisse announced its research results last summer (Aug. 2012) The six-year global study revealed that companies with women on their boards out-perform those that don’t have women.  (Change is) also fueled by the research that Catalyst and other respected organizations have done for years showing shareholders and institutional investors are now pressuring corporate boards to perform well.

Having more women on boards is now seen as critical to better performance. So for the first time, I think companies with no women on their boards may become targeted by their investors who will see them as not enlightened and not forward-thinking–and ultimately an unwise investment choice.

JA: What prevents companies from having more female directors? Sexism? Lack of experience?

BCC: Lack of open seats is the primary limiting factor.  As retirement age for every board member approaches, boards should be insisting that women candidates be required to succeed outgoing directors. And the lack of term limits is another key factor that allows aging board members to serve decade after decade–some as many as 40 years or more.  Many serve beyond board retirement age of 72, up to age 75.

There’s a lack of succession planning on boards.  These are all symptoms of inertia, and doing things the traditional way–when the long-term corporate leaders (mostly men) named their friends to lucrative board positions.  The pipeline is now bursting with women executives who have essential experience to add value to corporate boards.

JA: Do you think the ‘old boys’ network’ deliberately prevents boards from inviting more women to serve?

BBC: Yes, I think the ‘old boys’ network is bolstered by preferring the comfortable status quo of having only men on board.  Men want to name their friends to corporate boards, because they know and trust them, and because they want their friends to benefit from the annual director compensation of cash and stock.  However, many women in my book point out that once men actually experience having women on boards, they find out it’s not so bad.  Women bring added value and perspective, and are willing to ask the uncomfortable questions when perhaps men don’t want to appear to challenge the CEO.

JA: What’s the best advice you have for a woman who wants to serve on a board?

BBC: Dedicate yourself to a career-long pursuit to get on to corporate boards in your mid-career 50′s.  With that goal in mind, make the career choices along the way that will build your experience and perspective needed to guide companies wisely.

Throughout your career, become involved with nonprofit organizations where other board members serve on corporate boards–and impress those board members with your expertise.  Throughout your career, become more visible–internally at the company where you work; externally on city, county and state appointments to commissions; get on university and hospital boards, and develop visibility through your trade associations and trade media.

Guard your image and reputation judiciously–make sure Facebook, Linked in, and other social media only have your best photos and career achievements.  Learn the dynamics of serving on a board—from committee structure to Robert’s Rules of Order and the covenants of serving on boards–because boards want new members who already understand board dynamics and will not need on-the-job training.  Attend corporate board training programs like Stanford, Kellogg, UCLA and USC, and “On Board Bootcamps” with Susan Stautberg, founder of the global network called Women Corporate Directors.

To order The Board Game, call: 855.966.3694. 

 Originally posted on SmallBizDaily.com

Family-Friendly Workplace Pays Off

How would you like to work for a company that has a mandatory five-week vacation policy? How about no meetings on Wednesdays and flexible work schedules?

“We want our employees to recalibrate their lives and their souls,” said Pamela O’Hara, CEO and founder of Batchbook.com, a cloud-based software platform for small business owners

Batchbook is described as a “social customer relationship management” platform that helps business owners keep track of customers, orders, vendors and everyone else they deal with—all in one place. It also has a social media aspect and is available by subscription, starting at $20 a month.

O’Hara said workplace flexibility is critical because she’s a busy mother of three kids trying to achieve a balance between work and family.

“The more I have on my plate, the more I can handle,” she said. “But, of course, some days the whole thing blows up.”

Plus, she believes that requiring staffers to take one week of vacation every quarter and then a floating fifth week whenever they choose, creates an energized and enthusiastic workforce. She also pairs employees up with partners to share knowledge and skills, which benefits everyone, especially when people are out of the office.

Before founding Batchbook, she had developed other software applications and was interested in helping small business owners succeed. O’Hara, who also trained as a graphic designer, said she related to the many challenges faced by small business owners because when she was growing up, she worked in her uncle’s pizza shop in Rome, Georgia.

While launching another software company, she started looking for a high-powered contact management system and couldn’t find one she liked.

“I wanted to create an electronic Rolodex® to keep track of everyone all in one spot,” said O’Hara, who explains how Batchbook works in a video posted on the company’s website.

That electronic Rolodex concept was the inspiration for Batchbook, now a privately-held company with 22 employees. The company is based in a tech incubator in downtown Providence, Rhode Island.

Big on collaboration, O’Hara said she’s teamed up with other software companies, including Mail Chimp and Fresh Books, which both provide cloud-based services to small business owners.

“Mail Chimp was the first to open up and give other people access to their data,” said O’Hara. “Once we integrated our platforms, we saw a huge uptick in our customer base.”

She said the same customers who use Mail Chimp newsletters to build their customer base are receptive to purchasing another service like Batchbook to help them manage their overall business operations. For more information and a free 30-day trial, visit: http://www.batchbook.com.

“We do a lot of co-marketing and have a directory of other companies on our app,” said O’Hara, adding that Batchbook is collaborating with about 20 to 25 other companies. “Anyone who can integrate with Google docs, calendar, etc. can be in our marketplace.”

When asked about their competition, O’Hara said it is actually Excel®, Microsoft’s spreadsheet program. (But, Excel is not exactly a user-friendly program if you use it).

Being a tech company based in Rhode Island versus Silicon Valley or Boston also poses challenges, but O’Hara said she and her family enjoy a great quality of life. She has three kids, six, nine and 11—all are very involved in sports, school and events. Her husband works for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is on the road much of the time.

Like all working mothers, she tries hard to balance work and a home life.

“It’s definitely one day at a time,” she admits. “There’s a lot of scheduling with schedules taped on the refrigerator noting who needs to be where and when. I could not do it without my husband and sitter, plus other moms and a grandmother living nearby. It takes a village and lots of prioritizing.”

O’Hara said she used to read professional development and social media books, but that was not relaxing. “Now, I read reading fiction and fantasy books, often written by my customers.” Reading fiction is gives her a “brain break.” Spending time together as a family in their home in Maine is also a way for her to take a break from the business.

What’s next for Batchbook?

“We are about to roll out a new feature, a sales tool,” she said. “And, we are looking at the international market.”

Right now, half the company’s sales are outside the U.S., in the English-speaking countries of Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Once they figure out a better ways to provide customer service in multiple languages, they will cater to more foreign users.

Her advice to women in business? Engage your family in your business.

“I bring my kids to work,” she said. “They understand and use the product and when they see cool businesses, they tell me they should become customers.”

She said her kids understand how important it is for her to work “because I’m doing what I love and feel good about it.”

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Knitter Turns Hobby Into Multi-Million $ Business

By keeping an eye on the bottom line, Laura Zander has grown her tiny idea into a major success.
When Laura Zander started her yarn shop in a small town in California she was hoping to make $30,000 a year. “That would be great,” she thought back in 2002.

Laura and her husband — former software engineers who worked in San Francisco during the dot com boom-bust — sunk their modest life savings into starting Jimmy Beans Wool, a retailer of yarn and fabric.

“The business challenge that has been the most difficult has been learning how to communicate with other people.”

A little more than a decade later, Laura has parlayed her passion for knitting into an online retail business with sales forecasted at seven million dollars this year and Jimmy Beans Wool products being shipped to over 60 countries.

And she grew her business at a time when many Main Street knitting and sewing shops were closing their doors.

Read Laura’s thoughts on Finding Upsides in an Economic Downturn

Laura’s life has been challenging – she was raised by an alcoholic mother who divorced her father when Laura was three years old. So how did she manage to overcome a variety of challenges and build a company in a sector she knew virutally nothing about?

Watch Laura’s story below:

First published on The Story Exchange.
The Story Exchange is a non-profit global video project and website empowering women to achieve economic independence through entrepreneurship. We know the importance of role models and that’s what The Story Exchange is all about: it’s women inspiring women. By producing and promoting video profiles of successful entrepreneurs from all walks of life and sectors we encourage others to gain economic freedom, create the lifestyle of their choosing, and uncover their full potential.

Kids and Advertising: How Childlike Honesty Can Help Your Business

If you want an honest answer – ask kids.

Trust me, as a mom of three teenagers, I know!

I’m loving the recent AT&T commercials using kids to make simple points about universal principles that we can all believe in.

When asked the most basic of questions, kids’ stream of consciousness comments are astonishingly funny, memorable, and creative.

Kids’ self-confidence soars off the charts when asked a question or their opinion about something. They are happy to share with you what they’re really good at and are constantly telling you to “look at me.”

BBDO, the ad agency behind the currently popular “Bigger, Faster, More” ad campaign, has mastered the art of posing a simple question that warrants a simple response, all the while keeping the viewer’s attention.

There is no product pitch that ever enters into the mix.  At the same time, their unique selling proposition addresses what people want more of in their wireless internet and phone provider:  Bigger coverage, Faster Service, and just more in general.

How are you communicating to your clients?

Are you articulating your message in a simple, straightforward, yet memorable way to your target market?

Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to other small businesses and the ways they market themselves. Since they don’t have the big advertising budgets that AT&T might have, they market primarily on-line, which is often cheaper. To do so, you must get clear on a few things.

Three Things Small Businesses Are Clear On:

1. Who their ideal target market is
2. What specific results these clients will receive as a result of working with them
3. Where and when their service is useful to the customer

The one thing that consistently remains “missing” from these meetings is the “how.” Because the “how” is the trade secret that people want from you.  This is why they’re willing to pay you, sometimes handsomely, for what you offer and the results you provide.

My suggestion would to be to run your unique marketing campaign by someone under the age of 11 and see if they understand the importance of the value you bring.  Chances are, if they can understand and articulate what you do and what you deliver, your message is getting clearer.

Or at lease think of kids understanding your message as you write your campaign.

With the exception of the adult male actor and comedian, Beck Bennett, AT&T primarily uses non-actors to drive the point home that wanting better, faster, and more service isn’t “complicated.”

Why not ask some of your most satisfied customers to provide their honest opinion about what they receive by working with your business? If you market to kids, even better. You might want to let the cameras role as you get their honest opinions about you and your business.

Hmmm . . . I wonder if we could use kids to act as our own spokespeople and post to YouTube. Perhaps we should ask them to enter the boardrooms of some Fortune 500 companies, along with our own small businesses as well.

Clearly, AT&T is on to something here.

 

How to Raise Financially Fit Kids

Joline Godfrey, founder and CEO of Independent Means Inc., has been counseling parents about how to teach their children about money for more than 20 years.

Here’s my recent interview with Joline Godfrey.

JA: How did you become interested in financial literary for families and children?

JG: Years ago, I became interested in the question of how women’s lives and opportunities would be different if they had a more fundamental understanding of money and greater financial fluency. That led me to start a non-profit called An Income of Her Own, which provided financial education for girls. Over the years, it became clear that the challenge of financial fluency is a universal one. My revised and updated book, Raising Financially Fit Kids, is aimed at families with children as young as five and going well up into the 20s and 30s.

 JA: At what age should parents start speaking to their children about money?

JG: In the womb? Seriously–just as kids learn to tie their shoes and potty train in developmental stages, so can we begin to understand basic financial language and values as young children. Those families who start kids with early messages of ‘living within one’s means; and ‘giving, saving, and spending wisely’ (and who model those values as well) avoid the much bigger challenge of trying to change teen habits after they have been already been formed.

JA: Why is it important for kids to know the financial status of the family?

JG: Understanding is a lot easier when we have context. Saying “just because” is not very helpful when it comes to understanding the importance of money. If kids understand that the phone bill last month was $200 and the budget allowed for $150, they will have greater reason to cut down their texting than if you just say, ‘no more texting.’

I’m not advocating that you open up all the family books until the kids have some basic awareness and context. Providing kids with information about utility costs, phone and internet expenses, and the cost of operating a car goes a long way to give young people a sense of what life actually costs.

JA: At what age should kids be given an allowance? Should strings be attached such as the requirement to do chores or homework?

JG:  At whatever age the parents are ready to do it. We need to think of managing an allowance as serious business. Our mantra is: An allowance is not a salary (for doing chores) or an entitlement. It’s a tool for practicing money skills. You can start kids very early with a super simple balance sheet (income=allowance and expenses=whatever the child is responsible for paying for.

JA: What are common misconceptions about money and kids?

JG: A big one is ‘they’re too young.” Little kids love feeling grown-up and nothing says grown-up like he chance to manage money. Another is that they ‘will pick up what they need to know as they get older.’ If that were true, we’d all be fluent and the 2008 economic meltdown would not have happened.  A third very big one, is that parents think they are doing kids a favor by handling their financial chores in the teen and college years.

What they are doing is withholding practice opportunities from the kids. You would not give a kid a tennis racket and then do their practicing for them while expecting them to win tournaments. Money is the same. It requires basic instruction and practice.

JA: At the beginning, Independent Means focused on middle class families. Now, you are also working with wealthy families. How did you make that transition?

JG: I guess like all good entrepreneurs, I followed the market. I was invited by a close friend to run a workshop for her family at one of their family meetings. It happened that one of the world’s top wealth consultants was also at that meeting and he saw what we were doing with this large multi-generation family (50 people in three generations). Over the next few years, we were asked to work with other families.

JA: Do all families face the same issues regarding kids and money? Do lower income families face more challenges?

JG: Honestly, I have come to realize that you can be as irresponsible and financially oblivious with a billion dollars as with $25,000. There are families who had millions just a few years ago who have lost it all and there are frugal families who started with little and manage to create a tidy safety net. The issues: managing cash flow, living within one’s means, planning ahead, and living by a budget, are universal.

JA: What tips or advice do you have for people reading this interview? How do they start the conversation about family finances?

JG: Read the business pages of the newspaper. I am amazed at how many otherwise really smart people simply avoid acquiring any financial awareness. It’s just another language and the more financial words you understand the better you will be at managing your finances.

If you have kids, big or small, pick up a copy of the most updated edition of Raising Financially Fit Kids, by Joline Godfrey (10 Speed Press).

Join the celebration! Visit Godfrey’s Facebook fan page (http://tinyurl.com/mez9v8a) for book parties across the U.S.

Originally posted on SmallBizDaily.com

Jane Applegate is the national correspondent for SmallBizDaily.com, author of four books on small business success and co-founder of the FabulousFemaleNetwork.com. The Applegate Group is a multimedia production company.

How to Eat Seasonally: Summer Squash

Summer is here in full swing.  Fourth of July has come and gone and the temperatures are sizzling!

There is nothing better for your body and soul than to eat with the seasons.  When we are in tune with Mother Nature, everything is in balance.  Digestion is smoother, energy soars, mood is calmer (making relationships more fun) and we have a general sense of well-being.

So what’s growing right now that will contribute to your vibrant health?

You simply can’t talk about summer produce without featuring summer squash.  It is in the height of its season showing off its best flavor and best prices. It is absolutely everywhere in your markets right now. With its soft shell and creamy white flesh, it takes just minutes to prepare and is a great summer addition to a truly Healthy Way of Eating.

Summer squash comes in a variety of sizes, colors and shapes and all parts of summer squash are edible: flesh, seeds, and skin.  It is healthiest when you eat all of those, so please don’t peel these beauties.  Some varieties of squash also produce edible flowers.

Summer squash are more fragile than it’s winter cousins and cannot be stored for long periods of time. However, they freeze very well in case you can’t resist buying a large quantity.  Simply slice and steam them for 3 minutes, cool and freeze!

What makes this item such a healthy addition to your menu?

They are loaded with antioxidants to help calm inflammation (the root of most health issues in this country!) They are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A.

They also contain an unusual amount of other antioxidant nutrients, including  lutein and zeaxanthin – two big words that translate into the “eye health wonders”.  They are tauted to protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Move over carrots – you’re not the only game in town this summer!

Since the greatest concentration of antioxidants is in the skin and seeds, it is a good idea to buy organic summer squash.  That’s the best way to lower risk contaminants (like pesticides) on the skin of this vegetable. They are so abundant right now, that even organic varieties are very affordable.

So what do I do with summer squash once I get ‘em home?

There are countless recipes for summer squash.  You can steam, sauté, grill, bake, broil, grate or chop and add to salads, julienne and cook with sauce like pasta.  The list goes on and on.

But the one to try right now is my prize summer squash recipe.  Click here for my Creamy Yellow Squash Soup.  Yes, soup in the summer – even in this heat!  So many of us work in corporate offices that are freezing cold all day long.  This is a light soup that you can eat hot when your office feels like the North Pole or chilled at a picnic or barbeque.  However you eat it – you’re gonna’ love this.

Did you Know….?

-The largest summer squash recorded in 2012 was 69.5 inches long & weighed 65 pounds
-Zucchini has more potassium than a banana
-There’s a children’s band in Saratoga Springs, NY called “The Zucchini Brothers”
-Bigger isn’t always better (summer squash are tastier in small & medium sizes)

Look for next month’s feature food from your Digestive Diva and Natural Foods Chef.   Hint: Your guests will think you are a genius!

Wishing you cool, delicious meals!

Tomatoes: Jersey’s Finest Fruit!

Tom(ay)to – Tom(aahh)to!  Whatever way you say it, this Jersey girl is about to “dish” on that amazing fruit (yup it’s a fruit!).

But I’m not talking just any tomatoes, I’m talking about the one and only “Jersey Tomato” which, in my humble opinion, is the best of its kind anywhere.

Jersey seems to have made it to the map with “Jersey Shore’s Snooky and The Situation” –  but this Chef really believes our big attraction is, in fact, this prime produce.

A really good tomato is sweet, tender, juicy, and except for the yellow varieties, a deep rich red color.  The Jersey Tomato is all of that.  You can count on their amazing sweet taste, especially this month.

Did you bring a batch of tomatoes home in your grocery bag that tasted like cardboard?

Chances are you got the variety created by scientists and big business that began in the 1950′s.  They can be shipped from one coast to the other without bruising, but sadly, when they bred these great travelers, they zapped out the flavor!

It’s peak season for Jersey tomatoes…

And there’s nothing like a farm fresh, ripe red tomato.  If you are growing your own, you are probably starting to have more than you can possibly know what to do with.  Since you will be hard pressed to find anything this delicious in Fall or Winter, now is a great time to start cooking up sauce and freezing it for the months to come.

If you are willing to buy some jars and spend a little time – canning them is another great option to have them all year long. Part of my attached recipe will show you a super simple sauce with only 5 ingredients – so easy and tastes like it simmered all day long.

Whether you grow them or buy them from the market, there’s one thing you must know about all tomatoes: Do not refrigerate these beauties!

That’s the fastest way to destroy the flavor, texture and the phenomenal nutrients that are housed in this amazing fruit.

There are tremendous health benefits associated with the tomato.  They contain Lycopene which is an anti-oxidant super hero.  The body does not make lycopene, so it depends on food sources to supply it.

Here are 5 fantastic reasons to chow down those tomatoes:

1 – They will make your skin look great. It’s Beta-carotene, also found in carrots and sweet potatoes, helps protect skin against sun damage. Tomatoes’ lycopene also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles.

2 – They will improve the look and texture of your hair. Their Vitamin A content works to make hair strong and shiny.

3 – They will help your bones. Lycopene has been shown to improve bone mass, which is a great way to fight osteoporosis.

4 – They will help your eyesight. The vitamin A that tomatoes provide can also improve vision and help prevent night blindness. Recent research shows that consuming tomatoes may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious and irreversible eye condition.

5 – They are a natural cancer fighter. Once again because of the lycopene.  It can reduce the risk of several cancers, including prostate, cervical, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Wow!  What an impressive list of reasons to love tomatoes and that’s just part of the story.

Even better news is that Lycopene, which is clearly a powerhouse anti-oxidant, increases when tomatoes are cooked.  So pasta sauce really is a health food after all! They make such a wonderful addition to almost any savory dish.  Be generous and add lots of them to soups, stews, casseroles, omelets, etc.  Don’t be stingy with that tomato sauce – pour it on anything you like!

Growing up with best tomatoes on earth, we used to have tomato sandwiches all summer long in my house.  We grew tomatoes in our garden – my Dad had a very green thumb!  There was nothing like picking a fresh Jersey tomato from the backyard, slicing it up and putting it on a great roll.

By now you know this Digestive Diva does all her cooking gluten-free.  Here’s a really awesome combo.  Slice a nice ripe Jersey and put it on a warm Scharr’s G-free Ciabatta roll, a couple of basil leaves, sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil.  It’s a summer “must have” in my Jersey household.

If you’re looking for a special summer dinner with your luscious tomatoes, click HERE  for an amazing recipe that everyone will love.  It’s “Zucchini Linguini Shrimp” with Tomato Basil Sauce.  Not only is this easy – but you will be deemed sheer genius for serving this.  It’s up there with any gourmet pasta dish and won’t pack on a single pound.

So head to your nearest farm, farm stand or farmer’s market (or your own backyard) and gather up a big basket of Jersey tomatoes.

Now let your imagination go or find a yummy recipe – or just gobble it up raw for a perfect sweet/savory summer snack.

Ellen Harnett, one half of The Digestive Divas from Back to Basic Wellness

Ellen is a Kitchen Coach & Natural Foods Chef and Kathy  is a Holistic Nutrition Coach. Together, they are the Digestive Divas. They are 2 sassy women who have been friends for a very long time. Together they have experienced most of the challenges that life can bring. They combine their wisdom and their passion for nourishing food and healthy living to bring a fresh perspective to women who are struggling to care for themselves and their families.

Fashion Company’s Success Relies On Serving Big And Small Stores

Fashion Company’s Success Relies on Serving Big and Small Stores
By Jane Applegate

When I met with Mary Jo Keeble, national sales manager for Fever Clothing, to collect marketing tips for small retailers, I first asked her what we will be buying for the Fall. Since moving back to New York from Vermont, I’m all about looking trendy.

“Pleather, slouchy sweaters, motorcycle or baseball jackets with zippers and multi-media tops,”revealed Keeble, who has been in the fashion world for about 28 years.

Multi-media means a mix of fabric and knits or any combination of textures, including faux fur. Plaids and stripes are on the way back and watch out for wide-legged ‘gaucho-style’ pants. (Ugh. Not my favorite look).

This spring, Fever’s best-seller was a sheer blouse with three-quarter sleeves, a pleated front and a dyed-to-match tank to be worn underneath. Keeble, who was wearing a black knit dress and stiletto heels, said including the matching tank top has been a winning concept because it makes the blouse easy to wear no matter what kind of lingerie you own.

The biggest challenge a manufacturer faces when selling to Costco is that all items have to be “tabled.” That means your item is piled up on a table—never hung nicely on hangers. And, it has to be an item that will appeal to eight out of 10 women, Keeble said. However, she said despite the hassles, manufacturers would be ‘crazy’ not to take an order from a retail giant like Costco. (In fact, next time you are shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club, look for major labels like Izod).

So what tips does Keeble have for small retailers or manufacturers reading this column?
“Know your customer and don’t try to be all things to all people,” she said. Small retailers have to know what will sell because they are paying up front for every item they buy. Mistakes are costly because most manufacturers don’t take unsold items back.
“Ten out of ten items you buy won’t

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all be great, but do your research so you know all about the customers in your town.”

Jane Applegate is the author of 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business, published in all formats by Bloomberg/ Wiley.

Watch Jane’s small business video portraits and find more expert advice at:http://www.theapplegatenetwork.com

Article originally posted on Small Biz Daily.

The Amazing Women Behind Eoils

In her Bikram yoga class, Cheryl MacClusky noticed women putting drops of oil on the edges of their mats and wondered why. MacClusky learned that the women were using essential oils for the calming effects created by the aromas. She went on a quest to learn more about the oils and their healing effects.

“I’ve always been a health nut and practiced yoga every day.” Cheryl discovered that over 4000 years ago, the Greeks used essential oils for medicinal purposes. She also didn’t like the list of chemicals she found in the beauty products she was using every day. So she decided to create her own line of skin care products and began with the oils.

Doing her research took over a year and half but using cold pressed avocado oil as her base, Cheryl created four emotional oils and four physical oils. “Avocado oil is a natural moisturizer that can be scented with natural fragrances that effect one’s emotional and physical well being.” The emotional eOils address happiness, energy, focus and relaxation. The physical eOils address anti-aging, anti inflammation, circulation, and toning. Creating a logo, she used a dragonfly on her label to symbolize peace, happiness and new beginnings.

Cheryl says, “The oils are organic, paraben-free and contain no chemicals. They have a renewing effect on your skin and the natural anti oxidants in the oils, fight against dry, dull, inflamed skin. ” And she believes that the aromatic benefits of the essential oils are absorbed through smell to help feed the body, mind and soul. The line also has scrubs in all eight of the scents.

EOils and scrubs were first given to Cheryl’s friends and family so she could get feedback. They loved the product and wanted more. She then reached out to massage therapists, healthcare professionals and spas and the orders came in. With this overwhelmingly positive response, Cheryl now plans to expand her line to include toners, cream and lotions under the name Younger You. She says, “I realized that there was a need for a natural skin care line.” With a production company in New Jersey, she’s ready for growth.

Getting a friend to help with her web site and a college intern to help with fulfilling orders, eOil is on the way to becoming a known brand in the field of natural beauty products. The eOil will even be seen in an upcoming film with Diane Keaton – who herself is a naturalist and Cheryl hopes will love the product, “That would be a great endorsement.”