Posted by Lenny Variano on March 11, 2024

Naps not only feel amazing and rejuvenating, but they can also have health benefits. A study in the journal “Heart” linked napping to a lower risk of heart disease. According to The American Psychological Association, naps can improve memory, learning capacity as well as improve immune function and mood. There are 4 stages of the sleep cycle and depending on the length of your nap will determine what phase you most likely will enter. Stage 1-dosing off, Stage 2-body functions slow down, Stage 3-restorative sleep, Stage 4-REM, most likely to dream.

20-minute nap- in this short time you can enter stage 2 in which body and mind can reach full relaxation.

60-minute nap- This is enough time for repairing tissue, fortifying your immune system as well as feeling recharged.

90-minutes- a complete sleep cycle is 90 minutes. Most likely you will enter the dream cycle.

However, more than 90 minutes can interfere with nighttime sleeping. I personally do not have time to take a 90-minute nap. I sometimes only need to enter stage 1 which is simply to be allowed to doze off even for 10 minutes. Napping is personal. Some people get enough deep sleep at night and never feel the need to nap.

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Trees and cooling the world…

Posted by Lenny Variano on March 11, 2024

Living Carbon, located outside of San Francisco, is a biotechnology company that has produced genetically modified poplars. This genetically modified poplar can grow at an accelerated rate and in so doing consume more carbon dioxide from the air. To date this is all experimental and the company has only been successful in growing these plants in greenhouses. Over a five-month period indoors, these poplars grew 50% faster. Photosynthesis is the process in which enables plant life to thrive. The hope is that these genetically modified trees will use this process more efficiently in turn absorbing more carbon dioxide from the air.  At present only a small field trial is under way to see how these trees grow outside the greenhouse. There is resistance from researchers who fear that these trees, since they are genetically modified, will cross pollinate with other trees. The positive side is that these trees can hopefully replace the problem we are facing with deforestation from the lumber industry.

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Tomato Power…

Posted by Lenny Variano on March 11, 2024

Tomatoes now come in all shapes (plum, beefsteak, grape) and in a variety of colors (purple, green, yellow, red, orange). However, all contain the powerful phytochemical lycopene. Lycopene, an antioxidant, plays a role in cancer prevention, heart disease as well as many other diseases. A study in Cancer Causes found that men who consumed a diet that included a regular consumption of tomatoes had a 28% less chance of developing prostate cancer. Lycopene has also been connected to protecting the skin from overexposure to sun as well as maintaining bone mass in women. Lycopene is more accessible when tomatoes are cooked. Cooking breaks down the cell walls and increases the potency of the vitamin. Combining cooked tomatoes with olive oil or avocados increases the absorption, since lycopene is fat soluble. Think red sauce, gazpacho soup, or salsa. Yellow tomatoes have a stronger concentration of beta carotene which is converted to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is extremely important for eye health. The belief that tomatoes should be avoided for people with arthritis has little proof to back it up. In fact, tomatoes are anti inflammatory if anything. Experiment with all the different ways you may consume this fruit and enjoy them especially in the summer when sun ripened tomatoes are available,

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Squash and Red Lentil Soup…

Posted by Lenny Variano on March 11, 2024


-1 Tablespoon olive oil

-1 Long red chili, seeded and chopped.

-1 onion finely diced.

-1 lb. 2 oz. butternut squash chopped

– 2 medium sweet potatoes (12 oz.) chopped

– 6 cups vegetable stock

– 1 cup red lentils     -1 tablespoon Tahini        Extra red chili for garnish


Heat oil in saucepan, add chili and onion, cook 2-3 min. reduce heat-add butternut squash and sweet potatoes and cook for 8 min. covered-stir occasionally. Increase heat, add stock-bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 10 min. Add red lentils, cook another 7 min. covered. Process soup in a blender, add tahini blend until smooth. Return to saucepan to reheat- garnish with red chili. (serves 4)

 Source: “Veggie Food: by Kay Scarlett

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