Venom as a Cure-all…

Natural toxins such as venom from spiders, snakes and scorpions hold the ability for the development of new drugs. Venomics is the study of the different proteins in venom which have led to separating different compounds and different drug discoveries. Previously it was believed that venom contained as little as 3 or 4 components, but now researchers have realized that they contain thousands. A drug from the deadly “Frazer Island Funnel Web Spider of Australia” can hinder cell death after a heart attack. Venom is a complex mix of proteins and can vary greatly in potency from jellyfish, insects, reptiles and even snails. Venom proteins have evolved to target a certain molecule in the body which is why they are so effective as a drug. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, Hemotoxins attack the blood, and tissue toxins attack the area around the poisoned section. Venom from the Pit Viper is now used to treat High Blood Pressure. A drug derived from the venom of the Gila monster is used to treat diabetes. Ante coagulant drugs originated from vampire bats. Work is now being done in Israel with the Deathstalker scorpion to detect tumors. At the same time, because there are so many components to the makeup of venom, it is also difficult to find an antidote to a venomous bite. Opossums are responsible for the antidotes for bites from rattlesnakes since somehow, they can withstand being bitten several times and still survive. Just be careful who you decide to bring home as a pet.

Middle Eastern- Spiced spinach and lentil soup with garlic yogurt…



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot finely chopped
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp sweet paprik
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 6 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 3 vined ripened tomatoes chopped
  • 16 oz. spinach chopped
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges

For the Garlic Yogurt:

  • 3 oz. natural Greek yogurt
  • 2 small garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil



  • Heat oil in a large pan, then add, onion, carrots, garlic, chili flakes, some salt and pepper. Stir, cover, cook for 7-8 minutes until soft and lightly golden.
  • Uncover pan, add cumin, paprika. Stir a few seconds, add puree. Add lentils and stock, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for garlic sauce, add salt and chill.
  • Add diced tomatoes to soup and simmer for 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bunch up the spinach leaves and slice them thin (fine shreds). Stir into soup until wilted.
  • Serve with yogurt sauce on top. Sprinkle paprika on top
  • Serve with a lemon slice

Courtesy of Anarosa Nazario

Flower Power…

Flowers are a big part of our lives. They are present in so many occasions, from happy as well as sad. Now they have even taken a prominent place at our dinner table. Hibiscus is now present in beer, water, and tea. It can convey a tart, cranberry like flavor. Some have found that it may even curb your appetite for sweetness. Marigolds are known as the poor man’s saffron. They have a tangy peppery taste. They are a great addition to salads and rice dishes. The petals of carnations, when cut away from the base, have a sweet flavor that can be used as cake decorations and liqueurs. Chrysanthemums are now used to flavor vinegar. Dandelions, when the flower is picked very young, have a very sweet flavor. Nasturtiums are the most used edible flower. They have a taste like watercress. Sunflower buds have a taste close to artichoke hearts. However, there are many flowers that are similar in appearance to those mentioned above and can be dangerous. It is better to purchase edible flowers from a reputable source instead of eating the bouquet that someone has sent to you.

Trauma and Weight Training…

For years Psychologists have recommended exercise for mental health. Now it seems mental health groups are recommending formalized weightlifting routines as a therapeutic tool for those who have experienced both physical and psychological trauma. Physical trainers are being educated on how to deal with this special category. Why is it that lifting heavy things helps people with trauma recover? Research is finding that the resistance of weight training has a connection to building resilience. There is now a certification for any practitioner who wishes to become a special trainer for clients dealing with trauma. Yet people who have experienced some sort of emotional trauma may avoid exercise because it may raise heart rate, breathing, and body temperature-all symptoms which they feel may bring on anxiety. A beneficial system of weight training will include periods of rest in which the person is allowed to check in with themselves to see how they are feeling so as not to be overwhelmed. This gives the nervous system a chance to settle down, so it can absorb more stress as the sessions continue. Hope is that these people will feel more comfortable in their body and have a stronger mind-body connection.