Greetings, Enota Family!

Yes, it’s  New Year’s resolution time… since so many of us make resolutions related to health,  today we are going to talk about what not to drink.  The drinks are arranged  in alphabetical order so as to not put any particular emphasis on any one of these beverages – they’re all not good for ya’!

Alcohol in moderation—a small drink or two  a day—has been shown to raise HDL (good) cholesterol, boost bloodflow, and improve sugar metabolism. But if you drink any more than that, your risk for obesity and  many other health problems  increases. A March 2011 study from the American Cancer Society found that the risk of cancer death was 36 percent higher among people who drank liquor heavily (3 or more drinks each day) than those who drank in moderation or not at all.  There are also, of course, the risks to your safety and the safety of others when you drink and drive.  As little as one alcoholic beverage can impair your reflexes.

Diet soda has no calories, but it also has no nutritional value.  The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas have been proven to have a direct relationship with neurological diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis and seizures.  Sodas, whether diet or not, leech calcium from your bones and teeth. Also,  if you’re drinking diet drinks, you’re probably drinking them instead of water – which your body needs.  It’s best to limit consumption of sodas to an occasional “treat” – and, don’t be surprised if, after abstaining from them for a while, you don’t like them anymore!


So-called “energy drinks” are packed with  big doses of both caffeine and sugar.  Drinking an “energy drink” gives you a short-term energy boost, but the crash is worse than your earlier fatigue.  A better alternative: sip green tea with a touch of honey, and/or have a small snack such as a handful of almonds.


Also sometimes called “infused waters”,  flavored waters are often full of sugar.  Some of them have added vitamins, but the amounts of vitamins are not worth the trade-off for drinking sugar-water!  If they are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, you run the risk of disease, as mentioned above under diet sodas. Best bet: If you’re going to buy a bottle of flavored water, check the label.  Buy it only if it contains nothing more than water and natural flavors.


A 32-ounce fruit smoothie can contain up to 700 calories, yet only has 2 grams of protein. It also contains lots of sugar. Regardless of the fact that it contains fruit, it is not a healthy snack.  Even as a meal, 700 calories is a pretty high caloric content.  A fruit smoothie has nearly as many calories as a chocolate milkshake from Baskin-Robbins!  And, the chocolate shake has 20 grams protein!  Moral of the story: Fruit is good for you, but it’s better to just eat it.  Fruit smoothies are fattening!


Labels like “juice drink” and “juice cocktail” are almost always nothing more than  brightly-colored sugar water. Best bet: Avoid these, and, instead look for 100 percent juice.

Most store-bought lemonade and lemonade mixes are made with  the same sweeteners used in soda,  with preservatives and artificial color  added!   A cup of such lemonade has  100 calories,  the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar,  and  absolutely no nutrients.   As one person said, ” You’re drinking liquid candy.” Best bet: Drink good, fresh water with some lemon and lemon zest added.


Soft drinks are overloaded with sugar and caffeine.  They provide you with empty calories, leaving you hungry.  Soft drinks are the only food that has been directly linked to obesity. They erode your bones and teeth by leeching calcium. There’s really nothing good to say about soft drinks!  An alternative is to sip ice-cold club soda, perhaps with a splash of natural fruit juice added.

Drinking a sports drink after your workout could actually negate your effort to lose weight!  Many sports drinks contain a mixture of natural and artificial sweeteners, plus a bunch of  additives. Best bet:  Avoid sports drinks.  If you are trying to replenish lost electrolytes, drink zero-calorie SmartWater or Metroelectro.

A whipped coffee drink made with 2% milk contains as much as 800 calories.  Not only is it sugar-laden, but it also contains 1/3 of the daily recommendation  for saturated fat.  This author remembers getting these “treats” on trips to Atlanta; then, making the connection that EVERY time we drank them, we “felt like death” a couple hours later.   A good  alternative: Chai Tea.

~So, there you have it!  Try

 to avoid these drinks  for a

 healthier New Year!~

And, also for a healthy experience, spend some time at Enota!  Relax and respond to the beauty of nature here in the North Georgia Mountains.  There’s plenty to see and do year-round, and the area is beautiful regardless of the season.

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966      email:

official web site:


Food and Mood – Part Three

December 29, 2011

Greetings, Enota Family!

Today we ‘re going to wrap up our discussion on food and mood.  The food-mood connection goes further than you might think!

Recap:  Mood swings can be unpleasant and disruptive to our lives.  Many such mood swings can be prevented or improved with the right diet. Eating a well-balanced diet could  make your life well-balanced, too.

But,  for some of us, certain foods might actually be making us sick.  Depression, mood swings, and aggressive behavior are some of the possible signs of a food reaction. There are two types of food reactions. The most common is food intolerance, which is a reaction to foods, but it doesn’t involve the immune system. The other,  less common,  type of reaction is a food allergy,  which does involve the immune system. Food intolerance and food allergy have different  symptom patterns as well as different treatments.

So… then, what’s the difference

between food intolerance and

food allergy?

Food allergy is  far less common than most people believe.  Many food reactions are food intolerances,  not food allergies.  WebMD says a food allergy occurs when the body mistakes part of a food – often a protein – as a harmful invader,  so it creates a defense system (antibodies) to combat it. Symptoms of food allergy  can include swelling,  coughing,  asthma,  hay fever,  nausea,  sneezing,  vomiting,  gut spasms,  migraines,  headaches, watering eyes,  eczema,  rashes or hives.

A food intolerance is a reaction to a food where the immune system is not involved.  Such a reaction  happens when the body can not properly digest certain foods.  Food passes through the body partially digested – before digestion is complete. Two well-known examples of  food intolerance   are gluten intolerance and lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance can cause many symptoms including hyperactivity,  mood swings,  depression,  aggression,  migraines,  headaches,  fatigue, itchy skin,   mouth ulcers,  joint pain,  vomiting,  nausea,  stomach aches,  stomach ulcers,  diarrhea,  irritable bowel syndrome,  constipation, gas,   and water retention.

Signs of a food reaction can occur very soon after a food is eaten or can take as much as  48 hours to appear.  You’re more likely to have an immediate reaction from a food allergy rather than an intolerance.,

What causes food allergy

and intolerance?

There are several factors:

 #1: Reactions to food additives:  For example, artificial coloring, certain preservatives, and MSG.  Studies have shown that when certain food additives are removed from the diet, people with hyperactivity and ADHD show great improvement.  And, MSG is a common culprit for headaches and migraines.

#2:  Eating too much of a certain food can result in a food intolerance;  sometimes, eating a small amount of the food  is okay.  This, of course, varies from person to person;  you would need to experiment to find out whether or not you or your loved one can tolerate small amounts of these foods.

#3: Having a cold or the flu can cause temporary food intolerances.

#4: Taking antibiotics can result in temporary food intolerance, as can yeast infections – candida.

#5: Food allergy and intolerance often run in families.

#6: Woman are more likely to have temporary food intolerances at ovulation  or when they’re pre-menstrual.  The hormonal changes that occur with  menopause, during or after pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding can also bring on temporary food intolerances.:

#7: People who were  fed wrongly during infancy, for example,  were introduced to cow’s milk too early have a greater chance of having food allergies.

#8: And, sometimes when we are under a lot of stress or worry, our body react to one or more foods that we normally wouldn’t react to.

Which foods are most

likely  to  cause  food

intolerance and allergies?

Any food can cause a food reaction.  And,   some people react to one or more foods that rarely cause food reactions, but not to foods that commonly cause reactions!  It’s a very individual thing. Nevertheless, here is a list of the most common foods that cause reactions.   The list is in alphabetical order, as it is difficult to really say which food items are the most common “offenders”:

The foods that cause problems

tend to be the ones we crave and

most often eat:

Cereals and grains,  especially wheat

Chocolate and cocoa

Citrus fruits

Cow’s milk and its products – cheese, whey, etc.




Pork, including bacon and ham

Soy beans




Another important fact to remember is that any vitamin, herb or other supplement,  no matter how “good” it is,  can  cause a reaction.  For a food-sensitive person,  all supplements  should be treated like a potential triggering agent.

Natural ways  to treat

food allergy and


#1: Obviously, the best way to treat the problem is to remove the symptom-causing food from the diet.  Sometimes, eating the “offending” food item in small amounts and only occasionally is okay if you have a food intolerance. But, if you have a food allergy, the only treatment is to avoid that food item.

#2:  Take supplements to improve the immune system; this can lessen the allergy response. ( For example,  probiotics and vitamin C.)

#3: Improve the overall quality of the diet.

#4: Avoid behaviors that weaken the immune system. ( For example,  smoking, and alcohol consumption.)

Summing up, food and mood have a definite connection.  If you or one of your loved-ones has problems with mood swings, it would be well worth it to investigate whether or not foods are affecting  quality of life.

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966


official web site:

Food and Mood – Part Two

December 27, 2011

Greetings, Enota Family!

Today we’re going to continue our discussion of food and mood – we hope you will find this  informative and helpful.  We’ll start with an overview of the brain chemistry’s affect on mood.

Serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine

The brain releases serotonin as a result of your consuming carbohydrates – fruit, breads, and grains; and, to a lesser extent, vegetables.  Serotonin release results in feelings of calm,  relaxation, and the  sense of well-being.  Not enough serotonin and you’ll have intense food cravings, whereas too much serotonin can cause you to feel sleepy and sluggish.

Your brain releases dopamine and norepinephrine when you have consumed protein.  Some good sources of protein include meat, chicken, fish, nuts, soy products, eggs and dairy products.  These two neurotransmitters  are responsible for alertness, increased energy, and quicker and better reaction times.


Endorphins are natural tranquilizers which are released with positive emotions, exercise,  and by eating dark  chocolate.  Chocolate contains a chemical called phenylethylamine that is responsible for the endorphin response that is similar to the feelings experienced with a hug or being in love. Caution:  Recent studies have shown that chocolate can have a completely opposite effect in some people –  especially those prone to depression.  Instead of feeling good, these people get even more depressed.

What Does Protein Do

for Your Body?

If you’re  often tired shortly after lunch, you may need to add 3-4 oz of protein to your noontime meal.  At the opposite end of the spectrum,  if you have trouble sleeping at night, you may want to decrease your protein and increase your carbohydrates at your evening meal.

Regardless of the protein content of your meal, it  will cause drowsiness if you overeat.  Think about how sleepy you were after eating that large Thanksgiving dinner!   This sleepiness occurs because, in order to handle the food overload, the blood flow is redirected to the stomach, and away from the brain.  Several light meals, consisting of 300-500 calories,  is  ideal for maintaining optimum energy.

Which foods can influence your mood?

Frequent “Problem” Foods:

The foods and drinks that are found to most often cause problems are those containing alcohol,  sugar,  caffeine,  chocolate,  wheat (such as bread, biscuits, and cakes),  dairy products (such as cheese),   artificial additives,  aspartame, and hydrogenated fats.

These foods and drinks are known to increase mood swings,  anxiety,  panic attacks, food cravings,  depression,   feelings of aggression,  irritability, difficulty in concentrating,  memory difficulties,  premenstrual syndrome (PMS),  obsessive-compulsive feelings,  eating disorders,  psychotic episodes, insomnia,  fatigue,  behavioural and learning disorders,  and seasonal affective  disorder (SAD).   Not all of  the listed foods and drinks affect every person equally;   some may affect one individual and not another.  But they are the ones to look out for if you are suffering from anxiety and/or depression.

 Foods  to  Help You Feel Well

#1: Hydration is the first and most important step in obtaining and maintaining good health – of both mind and body!   Dehydration results  in fatigue, headaches, and irritability.   It’s very important to drink at least the recommended  six to eight glasses of water per day.

#2: It’s important to have a minimum of five portions daily of fresh fruit and vegetables.    One portion equals about a fist in size.  And,  the closer to fresh, the better.  These will provide you with the essential nutrients you need to nourish your mind and your  body.

#3: Eat at regular intervals.  This keeps your body fueled and balanced.  Don’t skip breakfast!  And, it is best to have regular meal times.  Your body functions better on a schedule!

#4: Think of food as fuel.   Choose  foods that release energy slowly,  such as oats and unrefined whole grains. And,  include protein  such as meat, fish, beans, eggs, cheese, nuts or seeds in at least one of these meals every day. (Ideally,  red meat should be eaten no more than twice a week as it has been linked to certain physical diseases,  such as bowel cancer; so, choose other protein sources as often as possible!)

As always, we here at Enota  hope and pray for the good health of all our readers.  We hope this posting has helped someone to better understand food and mood.  Next time, we will continue on this topic with a focus on food sensitivities – a fairly common problem, which can affect your mood and your overall health.

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966


official web site:

Eat your spinach and drink your orange juice to keep depression at bay. Studies have shown levels of folic acid to be lower in people who are depressed. Eating foods high in folic acid may help prevent or alleviate mild depression.

Brazil nuts, tuna, sunflower seeds and whole-grain cereals are all good sources of selenium. Studies have shown that people who have low levels of selenium are more anxious. Increasing levels of selenium helps to normalize mood.

Eat fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring as well as omega-3 eggs. The fatty acids found in these foods are important to the health of nerve and brain cell membranes. Lack of these fats in your diet may put you at higher risk for depression.

6. Protect you memory with eggs and berries.

EGGS: Found in high concentrations in eggs, Choline is a vitamin B complex that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is linked to memory. Alzheimer’s patients have been shown to have low levels of acetylcholine. Eating eggs and other foods rich in choline may help to ensure the availability of acetylcholine to your brain.

BERRIES: Eat lots of berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and goji berries as they all contain high levels of antioxidants which help to destroy free radicals that damage cells.
7. Eating something sweet does make you feel happy.

If you have the control to stop at just one cookie, this may be the quickest way to boost your mood. Eating foods high in fat and sugar causes the brain to release endorphins which send pleasure signals throughout the body.

8. Eat chocolate to make you feel sexy.

Chocolate contains an exceptionally high amount of phenylethylamine, a stimulant associated with love and sexual attraction. This “chocolate amphetamine” affects blood pressure and blood sugar levels resulting in a feeling of excitement. It also quickens your pulse, reflecting the way someone feels when in love.


5. Leafy, Dark Green Vegetables

Leafy greens have one of the highest ratios of nutrients per ounce of any food. They provide a range of B vitamins, which are needed to produce neurotransmitters like serotonin in your brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for elevating anxiety and stress levels and can have a big effect on your mood. Studies have shown that an increase in any of the B vitamins, such as niacin, folate or B6 can help with memory, mood and energy. Dark green vegetables also contain vitamin C which may also improve mood swings.
Mood swings are unpleasant and can disrupt your life and the lives of those around you. Many mood swings can be improved by the right diet. Eating plenty of these foods, as well as lean protein and complex carbohydrates, can help you to find an equilibrium in your life.

Are the foods you’re eating making you sick? For many of us, one or more of the foods we eat is badly affecting our health, and we might not even know it. Depression, mood swings and aggression are just a few of the many possible signs of a reaction to foods.

There are two types of food reactions. The most common is food intolerance. This is a reaction to foods that doesn’t involve the immune system. The other less common type of reaction is a food allergy, which does involve the immune system.

There are many ways we can find out if we have a food intolerance or allergy, and there are things we can do to treat them.

What’s the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?

Food intolerance and food allergy have different patterns of symptoms, methods of detection and treatments.

WebMD says a food allergy occurs when the body mistakes part of a food – often a protein – as a harmful invader, so creates a defense system (antibodies) to combat it.

Symptoms of food allergy are often obvious and can include swelling, coughing, asthma, hay fever, nausea, sneezing, vomiting, gut pain, gut spasms, migraines, headaches, watering eyes, eczema, rashes or hives.

Food allergy is less common than most people believe. Many food reactions are food intolerances, not food allergies.

A food intolerance can be any food reaction where the immune system is not involved. Such a reaction can occur when the body is unable to properly digest certain foods. Food passes through the body before digestion is complete, so it is only partially processed. An example of food intolerance is lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance can cause many symptoms including hyperactivity, lack of energy, mood swings, depression, aggression, migraines, headaches, fatigue, itchy skin, recurrent mouth ulcers, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, stomach aches, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, wind, bloating and edema (water retention).

Signs of a food reaction can occur very soon after a food is eaten or can take over 48 hours to appear. You’re more likely to have an immediate reaction from a food allergy rather than an intolerance, according to Jane Houlton, author of The Allergy Survival Guide.

What causes food allergy and intolerance?

Various factors can cause food reactions.

Eating too much of a particular food. Eating less of the food might cure the problem.
Reactions to food additives. Many studies have found that some people with hyperactivity and ADHD, for example, show improvement in symptoms when certain food additives are removed from the diet, for example artificial colors and some preservatives.
Food allergy and intolerance often run in families.
People fed wrongly during infancy, for example were introduced to cow’s milk too early.
High pollen season or high mould season can bring on temporary food reactions in some people.
Viruses such as cold, flu or gastric virus can cause temporary food intolerances.
Taking medication such as antibiotics.
Overgrowth of candida, which is a yeast infection.
Houlton says we can sometimes react to one or more foods we can normally tolerate when we are under a lot of emotional stress or worrying a lot.
Woman are more likely to have temporary food intolerances at ovulation in mid-cycle or when they’re pre-menstrual.
Hormonal changes in menopause, during or after pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding can also bring on temporary food intolerances.
Which foods are most likely to cause food intolerance and allergies?

Any food can cause a food reaction. The foods that cause problems tend to be the ones we crave and most often eat. Be aware that some people react to one or more foods that rarely cause food reactions, but not to foods that commonly cause reactions, and vice versa.

The most common foods that cause reactions include:

cow’s milk and its products, such as cheese and whey
cereals and grains (especially wheat)
soy beans
citrus fruits
pork (including ham and bacon)
chocolate and cocoa
Woodlands Healing Research Center says any vitamin, herb or other supplement, no matter how “good”, can also cause a reaction. They all should be treated like a potential triggering agent in a food sensitive person. For example, a person could be sensitive to a few different supplements (vitamin C, magnesium etc). Over time, testing different forms of the supplements can find types that don’t cause a reaction.

What is food for one, is to others bitter poison”
In England, recently, Professor Maurice Lessoff completed an inquiry into food allergies for the Royal College of Physicians. He said that such illnesses are common and should be taken seriously. He found that, often, people with genuine food allergies are wrongly told they have a psychological problem. How many people have been forced to lead miserable lives because narrow-minded doctors are unwilling to accept food allergy as a major cause of illness! This situation is extraordinary when you consider that 2400 years ago Hippocrates, the great Greek physician, said that the most important thing, of which a doctor should take note, is his patient’s food and drink and the effects of these things on his health.
How can we treat food allergy and intolerance?

Food allergy and intolerance respond to different types of treatment and different ways of managing the diet, says Houlton. There are various ways to treat these, including:

removing the food that’s causing problems from the diet.
eating the food that’s causing reactions occasionally and only in small amounts. This might work if food intolerance is detected, but if you’re severely allergic to a food, the best, and possibly only, treatment is to never eat it.
taking particular nutrients and other supplements to boost health, improve the immune system and lessen the allergy response, such as probiotics and vitamin C.
improving the quality of the diet to help prevent candida overgrowth.
keeping emotional stress levels and worry low.
avoiding behaviors that weaken the immune system. For example, do not smoke, and drink little or no alcohol.
giving a very small dose of the substance causing the allergy may desensitize a person to it, so the body doesn’t think of it as harmful. This often involves getting an ‘allergy shot’.
taking the enzyme lactase, to make you able to drink milk without having bad side effects, if you’re lactose intolerant.
taking anti-histamines. These can have side effects.
taking steroids. These are used mostly for serious allergies. Steroids can have severe side effects, especially when taken for long periods of time.


Food and Mood

December 26, 2011

Hello, again, Enota Family!

Do you just wish you could feel better, but don’t know quite where to start?  Well, pull up a chair… Today we’re going to talk about the connection between food and mood.  Some of these connections might surprise you!   In fact, there’s so much to say about this topic, it will probably take two or three postings to complete.  We all can think of certain “comfort foods” that we associate with warmth, happiness, special occasions…  But, do we realize that the food  that fuels our bodies also affects our minds?

Most of us have heard either our Mom or a nutrition expert give some of the following advice:

Never skip breakfast.

Eat balanced meals – a good mix of carbohydrates and protein with each meal;  and, don’t forget to eat your fruits and veggies.

If you MUST have a snack, make it a healthy snack.

Q:  Instructions such as these  are  good tips for slimming down – but are they also an action plan for fending off depression, stress, anxiety and mood swings?

A:  Many nutrition experts and researchers say, “Yes!”

More and more is being discovered about the link between food and mood.  Lynn Smith, a dietician in Boulder, Colorado, has successfully helped patients wean themselves off antidepressants by initiating dietary changes.  She has also taught people how to change their diets so as to avoid beginning prescriptions for depression.

Of course, not all cases can be managed in this way, and we don’t encourage you to change your diet or your medications without first getting the OK from your doctor.   Approximately 10% of Americans are currently taking an antidepressant… That’s over 27 million people!  Wouldn’t it be great if even a small percentage of those people could go off the meds and on to a healthier lifestyle?

Elizabeth Somer, author of the book, “Food and Mood Cookbook” (200; Henry Holt), states that there are two main factors in diet-related mood problems:

#1: People don’t eat enough of the “building blocks” for neurotransmitters. (Neurotransmitters are exactly what they sound like – they are chemical messengers that help nerve cells communicate.)  For example, low serotonin levels , (a neurotransmitter built from the amino acids found in vitamins B6, B12, folic acid and other nutrients), may result in insomnia, depression, increased sensitivity to pain and aggressive behavior.  Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine  leave people feeling irritable and moody.  Fatty acids Omega 3 (fish oil) and Omega 6 (certain vegetable oils)  have been shown in some clinical studies to be associated with mood stabilization.

#2: People are eating too many refined sugars.  Consumption of refined sugars causes the blood sugar to spike fast, then plunge to an unhealthy low level.  Every parent has experience the cranky behavior of a child who has had too much candy.  Well, guess what?  We are made of the same stuff those children are made of!  ( In act,  because of hormonal factors,  adults may be even MORE susceptible to these sugar highs and lows.)

The Sugar Roller Coaster:

We have a habit of reaching for sugary snacks because they quickly spike levels of feel-good serotonin.  But they also spike blood sugar levels dramatically within 10 or 15 minutes.  Then, when our bodies try to stabilize themselves,  the blood glucose level drops very low  within 25 to 40 minutes.  Low blood sugar is associated with depression, fatigue and anxiety.

The holiday season is pretty crazy for most of us.   The food-mood connection is not a one-way street!  What you eat affects how you feel, AND how you feel affects what you choose to eat.   Some people overeat when stressed; others experience an upset stomach and can’t eat when stressed.  Obviously, neither situation is good. Making conscious choices about what we eat during  the holidays (and beyond!) may help us feel less stressed.  So how exactly do specific foods affect our moods?


Protein makes us more alert.  During digestion,  proteins are broken down into their amino acids .  One of these amino acids is tyrosine which increases the production of the  norepinepherine, dopamine and epinephrine.   These neurotransmitters are responsible for making us feel alert and energetic. Healthy protein choices:   fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs.


Despite its bad reputation, small amounts of caffeine have been shown to work as an antidepressant.  Experts recommend keeping the dose to one or 2 cups of coffee or tea per day.  That would be ONE typical coffee mug or take-out coffee!


Eating carbohydrates  releases  insulin into the bloodstream.  Insulin clears out all of the amino acids in the bloodstream except for tryptophan.  In the brain, Tryptophan is converted to  serotonin.  Some healthy food choices for releasing serotonin include whole wheat bread, non-sugary cereals and pastas.

So, there you have it:  An overview of how the foods you eat can actually change the chemical composition of your brain.  Food intake does affect mood due to biochemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. They can control mood, appetite, thoughts and behaviors. The most food sensitive neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Next time we’ll talk about some more of the science behind mood and food.

Want to learn more about how to raise your own organic garden and animals?  Book a reservation at Enota for hands-on organic farming experience.  We’d love to see you!

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966


official web site:

Why Cut Down on Caffeine?

December 20, 2011

Greetings, Friends of Enota!

Yep, it’s fast-approaching the New Year.  It’s that time of the year when many of us make resolutions.  A lot of resolutions involve health issues,  and one such health issue is caffeine intake.

Why cut down on caffeine?

Caffeine belongs to a group of stimulants called xanthines. After drinking a caffeinated beverage, the  resulting energy surge reaches its highest point within an hour, and may last for up to six hours.

In moderate quantities  caffeine  isn’t bad for you.    If you’re currently drinking more than a couple cups of coffee (or a couple sodas),  you might want to start by decreasing  your daily intake.

As you probably already know,   caffeine is mildly addictive.   Some teas also have caffeine, as does chocolate, so if you are cutting down, you will need to be aware of consuming these items as well.

Signs of withdrawal from caffeine:

Feeling overtired (from not having had any caffeine to energize you)
Having a terrible headache (when you abruptly stop having caffeine regularly)

How Much is Too Much?

Does above-average consumption mean you’re getting too much caffeine?   Well,  it depends on the person…    Usually  you’ll know when you’ve had more than enough…   because you feel:

unable to concentrate
gastrointestinal (GI) aches
headaches that don’t seem to go away
trouble with sleeping

These are among the most common of caffeine’s effects on our bodies when taken in high doses (i.e., more than eight 8-ounce cups of coffee a day), but they can  definitely result from lesser amounts as well.  Again, it depends on the person…

The relationship between caffeine  intake and one’s  health is not entirely clear.  Researchers have studied whether different amounts of caffeine can affect one’s risk for a number of health conditions.


Although definitive evidence is lacking, too much caffeine could increase the possibility of osteoporosis later in life.    Caffeine is a diuretic (makes your body expel water), so  it can increase calcium loss in the urine. For every  8-ounce cup of coffee or two 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda,  approximately five milligrams of calcium is excreted out in the urine. This loss can add up and could be detrimental for your bones, particularly if your diet is already insufficient in calcium. If you must have your caffeine,  add at  two tablespoons of milk to each cup of coffee — enough to offset the slight calcium loss from the  caffeine

Other Diseases

Results have been inconsistent in definitively linking caffeine with the incidence of various cancers,  fibrocystic breast disease,  PMS,  and birth defects.  More research is needed.

If you’re drinking  sodas,  the caffeine in them could be doing a real number on your teeth.   The acid in sodas eats away at your teeth.  And,  caffeine increases this action. Not good.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder is panic  about meeting new people,  speaking up in class, going to parties, etc.  Social anxiety can be triggered by stress, diet, environmental factors, genetics, conditioned responses, and negative thought patterns.   Caffeine consumption is one of the triggers for social anxiety disorder.

Based on the above information, your health could benefit by taking in less caffeine.  Rather than trying to “quit cold turkey”, the easier way is to slowly decrease your caffeine intake until you are in the low-to-moderate level (150 to 300 mg per day), or you can keep going until you’ve weaned yourself off caffeine.  Drink lots of water daily.  And, try natural fruit juices in place of colas.

 Your body will thank you for it.

For a nice, relaxing,  stress-

free experience,  book a

reservation here at Enota.

Your body will thank you

for that,  too!

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180,  Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966      email:

official web site:

Hello, again, Enota Family!

Today we’re going to talk about substitutes for coffee-drinking.  If you would like to stop the ups and downs of caffeine levels in your bloodstream,  read on!  These 8 healthy substitutes will assist you in weaning yourself off of the coffee habit.

For most healthy adults, moderate amounts of caffeine — about two to four cups ( 1 to 2 coffee mugs!) of  brewed coffee a day — aren’t harmful. But some circumstances may warrant limiting or even ending your caffeine routine.

 Heavy  caffeine use  can cause the following:

Insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tremors.

Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than are others. If you’re susceptible to the effects of caffeine, just small amounts — even one cup of coffee-  may result in  unwanted effects, such as restlessness, irritability, or  sleep problems.


#1:  Chai Tea

Chai tea originally came from India.  It is made with black tea, several spices (such as ginger, cardamon and cinnamon), and milk.  There is some caffeine in Chai tea, but less than coffee, so this is a good thing to drink while weaning oneself off the coffee habit. Another plus:  Chai tea’s creamy texture looks and feels like you’re drinking coffee with cream!  Good for morning or for that afternoon slump.

#2:  Ginseng  Tea

Made from Siberian ginseng roots, ginseng tea has a  slightly bitter taste.  Some people like it “as is”; but, if it’s too strong a flavor for you, add a bit of honey.  Deelish!  Ginseng is a common herbal remedy in many countries,where it is known to help concentration and memory.   It is safe for long-term use. Sounds like the perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

#3: Green Tea

A cup of green tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.  The advantage is that it gives you an energy boost without giving you the coffee jitters.  Green tea has other  health benefits, too:  it contains catechins which are antioxidants.  These catechins are powerful disease fighters and are found primarily in green tea.

#4: Green Smoothie

Ingredients:  1 banana, cut in chunks,  1 cup grapes,  1 (6 ounce) tub vanilla yogurt.  1/2 apple, cored and chopped,  1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves,  1/4 cup nuts (preferably presoaked)  or flaxseed.  Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Green smoothies are packed with vitamins and minerals.  Adding nuts or flax seeds  provides fiber and protein, which helps keep your blood sugar level steady throughout the afternoon/evening.  Presoaking the nuts provides increased nutritional value.  That’s because they are more readily absorbed.  Also, when the nuts are soaked (it only takes 20 minutes), they begin the sprouting process which increases their nutritional value as well.

#5:  Licorice Tea

Spicy and bold, licorice tea is caffeine-free, yet serves as a tonic to your body and really gives an energy increase.  Licorice tea supports the adrenal glands, which are your primary organs for responding to stress.  Most people nowadays have over-burdened adrenal glands… Try this tea for a healthy way to relieve stress!

#6:  Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is a great pick-me-up!  After a meal it provides fresh breath and a calm stomach. (It’s also good medicine for an upset stomach.)  Peppermint stimulates the same nerve that’s activated when you revive a person with smelling salts!  Imagine that!

#7:  Pomegranate  Smoothie

Blend pomegranate juice with berries, a banana, and soy milk or yogurt.  (Make sure you buy plain juice – NOT juice cocktail, etc., which contain high fructose corn syrup,  sugar, etc.)  A pomegranate smoothie is full of antioxidants – a sure prescription for increased energy.  This smoothie is sweet and tangy – a great breakfast or afternoon treat!

#8:  Zesty Water with Lemon

Water itself is an energy booster.  Busy people often have headaches, fatigue, etc. due to dehydration.  YOUR BODY  NEEDS H2O!   To make zesty lemon water,  add the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest to your glass of water.  This drink has a kick to it,  will perk you up, and stimulate your senses.

Try some of these ideas if you’d like to decrease your caffeine intake and increase your energy level.  Another way to treat yourself well is to take a vacation here to the North Georgia Mountains.  It is beautiful here all year long, and we currently have a 10% discount.  See our website for details.

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966 email:

official web site:

Greetings, Enota Family!

Today we will talk about starting your own little plants for next spring’s garden. This will be the last part of this gardening series for a while; we hope you have enjoyed it and can use some of the info.

Selecting and Starting Seeds:

Selecting Your Seeds:

Especially for the new gardener, it pays  to buy seed from a reputable company. Or,  buy locally if you are certain that the local person is reputable… Certain varieties that do extremely well in certain areas have been grown for long periods from locally produced seed, and  that’s good so long as measures are taken to keep the strains pure.

Many vegetables will cross-pollinate,  resulting in  unsatisfactory fruiting results. For example,  sweet corn will cross with field corn,  so it’s unwise to save sweet corn seed if field corn is growing in the same neighborhood.   The custom of saving seed from a choice watermelon is safe, unless  other varieties of watermelons are growing nearby.  Beans do not readily cross and their seed also may be saved.

Seeds should be ordered well in advance of planting time, but only after the preparation of a garden plan that shows the size of the plantings and the quantity of seed required.  Choose varieties recommended for your location.

Seed Vitality:   Seeds may be divided into three groups as follows:

(1) Comparatively short-lived.  Usually not good after 1 to 2 years.  This category includes corn, leek, onion, parsley, parsnip, rhubarb, and salsify;

(2) Moderately lived.  Generally  good for 3 to 5 years – asparagus, beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, kale, lettuce, okra, peas, pepper, radish, spinach, turnip, and watermelon; and

(3) Long-lived.   May be good for more than 5 years – beet, cucumber, eggplant, muskmelon, and tomato.

Starting Plants Indoors

Lengthening of the growing season may be obtained by starting veggie  plants   rather than  sowing the seed directly in the garden.    With many  types of vegetables  it is almost impossible to get good results from seed sown directly in  the garden.

Seeds can be germinated and seedlings started in a box, pan or flowerpot of soil in a window. The plants must have a minimum of 6 hours direct sunlight, and the room must be kept warm – not below 60 at night, and around 70 during the daytime.  Length of  sunlight hours  can be “assisted” by using 40-watt fluorescent bulbs, kept at about 6 to 8 inches away from the plants.   Make a 1/2-inch furrow in the soil and sow seeds thinly in rows/  Cover the seeds lightly with sand or sphagnum moss.  Give the flat a fine mist of water, and cover it with a sheet of clear plastic.  (The plastic will subdue the light and also hold the moisture in.)

Now, place the flat in your window.  It will require no further care until after the seedlings have developed their first true leaves.  Then, they will be ready to transplant to other containers.  *** Don’t try to grow plants from seed too early – they will become spindly if you try to keep them indoors much longer than this stage!  Timing is everything – Study the seed catalogs and the seed packets to “guesstimate”  how soon you should start plants from seed!

There  are other more-complicated ways to start vegetable plants from seed.  For the novice gardener, purchasing all the equipment and learning all the methods might seem  daunting!    Hotbeds, cold frames, greenhouses,  plant hoods…  Not for the novice!   Seriously,  either stick to the method above, or just buy your plants from the local nursery or feed store.  There’s no shame in being new at something!  Better to buy healthy plants than to waste time and money trying to grow them without proper knowledge.

Hardening The Plants:

Plants should be gradually hardened, or toughened, for 2 weeks before planting in the open garden. This is done by slowing down their rate of growth to prepare them to withstand such conditions as chilling, drying winds, shortage of water, or high temperatures. Cabbage, lettuce, onion, and many other plants can be hardened to withstand frost; others, such as tomatoes and peppers cannot. Withholding water and lowering the temperature are the best ways to harden a plant.

Then,  about 10 days before being planted in the open ground, the young plants in beds or flats are blocked out with a large knife. Blocking, or cutting the roots, causes new roots to form quickly near the plants, making recovery from transplanting in the open easier. Blocking also makes it easier to remove the plants from the bed or flat with minimum injury.

The next step will be planting your veggies in your prepared garden bed.  A gardener anywhere in the United States can determine  safe planting dates for different crops by using the maps  in seed catalogs or by checking with your local Extension office.  Happy Planting!

Even though it’s not Spring or Summer,  come see us at Enota Mountain Retreat!  Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, we offer beautiful views, hikes, and experiences year-round.  We’d love to see you!

Enota Mountain Retreat

1000 Hwy 180, Hiawassee GA 30546

(706) 896- 9966 email:

official web site:

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