Aromatherapy probably isn’t the first tool you think of to help boost your productivity and grow your business, but maybe it should be. Smell is the strongest of the senses and is best able to influence brain activity. Olfactory bulbs are part of the limbic system and directly connect to the areas of the brain that process emotion and learning.”This is one of the reasons why so often something that we smell will trigger a memory or remind us of something or someone,” says Beverley Hawkins, owner of the Vancouver-based West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy.
Essential oils not only help improve job performance but health, meaning employees are less likely to take sick time. “Essential oils have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and using them in an environment where there are a lot of people can help to keep germs at bay,” says Hawkins. Inhaling essential oils activates the hypothalamus – the area of the brain which sends messages to other parts of the body. “A simple inhalation of an aroma can cause many changes in the body,” says Hawkins, including activating the immune system, affecting blood pressure and stimulating digestion.
Related: 5 Simple Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive Without Leaving Your Desk
You can still get the benefits of aromatherapy in a shared workspace without offending others. Just place a drop or two of an essential oil on a cotton ball and take a whiff when you need an energy boost. If you have a private office, add 1-6 drops to an electric diffuser or create a mister by adding a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle filled with distilled water.
Or, for a group benefit, put a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oils in the middle of the table at your next brainstorming session.
Here are six scents that Hawkins recommends for boosting your productivity, mood and more at work:
1. Lemon. This scent promotes concentration and has calming and clarifying properties that are helpful when you’re feeling angry, anxious or run down. Lemon also has antiviral and antibacterial properties and can help fight sore throats and colds by boosting the body’s immune system and improving circulation.
2. Lavender. This essential oil has calming properties that help control emotional stress. Lavender has a soothing effect on nerves and can relieve nervous tension and depression as well as treat headaches and migraines.
3. Jasmine. Like lavender, jasmine it is also used to calm nerves, but this oil is also commonly used as an anti-depressant because of its uplifting capabilities that produce a feeling of confidence, optimism and revitalized energy.
Related: 7 Superfoods to Boost Energy Levels Now
4. Rosemary. This is the perfect Monday morning pick-me-up. In addition to improving memory retention, rosemary has stimulating properties that fight physical exhaustion, headaches and mental fatigue. “It’s excellent to use in the mornings when one needs a bit of help getting going,” says Hawkins. Rosemary can also be used topically to relieve muscular aches and pains.
5. Cinnamon. The stimulating properties in cinnamon can help fight mental fatigue and improve concentration and focus.
6. Peppermint. Try peppermint when brainstorming. An energy booster, this scent invigorates the mind, promotes concentration and stimulates clear thinking.
Read more stories about: Productivity, Brainstorming, Personal health
Next time you have fresh herbs in the house, save some for your work day… For example, save your lemon rinds and zest the peel, and freeze it if you’re not going to use it right away. When needed boil some tea with it for the scent.
bountiful | kaishin chu ©2012
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! May this day be filled with great food and surrounded by those you love :) xo
After many suggestions by friends to take my food photography to the next level, I volunteered to take photos at the Vancouver Farmers Markets today, with their special event, the Tomato Festival happening. I had to step out of my comfort zone, as I needed to speak to more people when taking photos that will be used for public content, instead of just being for my personal use. When taking photos for my own use, I tend to be more in my head, immersed in visual thought process on getting the shot I want, that will express or capture what I feel from seeing the item of interest. Shooting for other’s use, I need to do this, but also switch into socializing mode to introduce myself, talk about myself and what I’m doing, and getting to know the people to make a meaningful connection. It was interesting to switch between the two modes, and a fun experience overall.
Other challenges I faced were: working with my limited equipment; photographing or trying not to capture people (i’m more of a object photographer); being aware that if I will capture people with faces clearly recognizable, I would need to make sure they were ok with it; working with high contrast in the midday sun, and work around the masses of people milling about, into and out of shots.
The best experience was chatting with the good folks from Stein Mountain, I’ve been chatting anonymously with Erin a couple of times in the last month already, as I’ve been purchasing their wonderful organic apples (one of the few places where I’m not allergic to the apples). I got to talk to them and introduce ourselves formally and get some shots of all of their beautiful produce. Such lovely and genuine good people.
As this is a learning experience, I’ve offered a few of the farmers there today, complementary usage of my images, should they be interested, as my way of showing support to local farmers. This is in an indirect way of tipping my hat to my father, for all he has ingrained in me, from all the years growing up on hobby farms, growing and raising our own food :) It’s a good cycle of life, n’est ce pas?
Vanilla and balsamic are heavenly when paired together, at least for me. For some reason today, I thought about what flavor I craved, and this combo came to mind. Mellow with a soft punch of sour. To me, it makes it a fun and sexy flavor to eat.
French Vanilla Ice Cream with drizzles of Balsamic Vinegar © Kaishin Chu 2010
I experimented one year (many years ago) with balsamic macerated strawberries, adding a bit of pure vanilla extract, and wow! Then, the left over sauce went into the milk to make my substitution for butter milk to make my own pancakes. and wow! again, fluffy yummy balsamic pancakes.
A year after that, I created a Balsamic Vanilla Panna Cotta, simple and luxurious. I hope to re-test the recipe again to perfect it over this spring/summer, and will finally post my recipe, long overdue.
Then last fall, I experimented with the combo again when I went through my gelato experimentation phase. The flavors I made were Balsamic & Salted Vanilla Caramel and Blackberry + Vanilla + Balsamic, and boy, was it a hit with everyone! That recipe to come also. It’s been a busy year with a career shift and lots of self studying and development, so I’ve not had as much time for planned food experimentation and recipe writing. One day at a time.
Blackberry Balsamic Yogurt Gelato © Kaishin Chu 2011
In the meanwhile, I’ll eat luxurious vanilla ice cream or gelato with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, easy and pleasing. So, what’s your heavenly flavor(s)?
This brought back memories of eating freshly caught shrimp, while still on the boat, from my stay in Zhuhai. Such a contrast though… These being clean tasting, vs. shrimp from the ocean just outside of the Pearl River delta.
Ever since having been to Paris and have tried well-made French macarons, I’ve been wanting to learn to make these delectable treats. They will forever remind me of one of my most favorite trips thus far, and I wanted to be able to recreate a little bit of that magic, and challenge myself with the making of these. I’ve heard it’s not easy, as it can be quite finicky, depending on the climate/environment and such. Gotta love a good challenge!
So, about a month ago, lucky for me, one of the hosts of the Vancouver Food Bloggers MeetUp group, of which I’m a member of, posted up a course offered by the Vancouver Pastry School, and of course I eagerly signed up. It will be my first meet-up with this group, and I’m really looking forward to it this Friday!
Just look at the list of macaron flavours we will cover… Yum!!! N’est ce pas?
Vanilla Macaron with Salted Caramel Filling
Pistachio Macaron with Pistachio Butter Creme Filling
Chocolate Macaron with Chocolate Ganache
Strawberry Macaron with Strawberry Chocolate Ganache
Coffee Macaron with Coffee Butter Creme Filling
Lemon Macaron with Lemon Custard Filling
Italian Amaretti Macaron
I’ll be there with my trusty camera and iPad to document the process and my learnings, and hope to share with you my experiences, and yummy pics of course ;)
Now, some of you might be interested in this course, though this particular class is full, there are many future courses running, just check out the pastry school’s website for their schedule.
Hope to see you fellow food lovers or explorers at a future event!
Knowledge provides the power of choice. No more GMO please. #wholesomefoodisbetter #heirloom
Hope all of you had a nice Valentine’s Day, whether single or partnered, it’s a day to be grateful for love, not just in the sense of a romantic interest, but for all those who love, all year round :)
With Valentine’s done and passed, I guess the next holiday would be St. Patty’s Day, so I’d like to share tidbits and this Colcannon recipe with you in early prep to celebrate the goodness of the Irish. For those unfamiliar, Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish mainly consisting of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
A friend of mine in England, Julian, sought for a Colcannon recipe via Flickr, as he was looking for a toddler friendly meal. Interestingly enough, my photo and recipe somehow came up as most relevant! It made me chuckle, when thinking ‘most relevant’, since 1) I’m not Irish nor from that side of the pond, 2) I don’t necessarily cook by the book, but rather I ‘create’, so I know my recipes may not be true to tradition, but it will at the very least resemble the true form and honor the past/original. Oh, and I can guarantee you that it will be tasty! :)
The online conversation Julian and I had made me realize that I hadn’t made this for a while, and now has inspired me to want to make it this weekend for a treat. Thanks, Julian!
So Here you go, hope you enjoy making something different than your normal routine cooking. It’s easy, tasty, and healthy.
Colcannon – DOF style
1-cut up and mash steamed potatoes with butter
2-sauté savoy cabbage, kale and bacon with minced garlic (listed in order of ratio, most to least)
3-mix the mash and stir-fry together
4-plate and make a well with the ladle, then serve with a ladle of your favorite gravy in the well (traditionally is beef)
This recipe is a good candidate for making it vegetarian, just skip bacon, replace butter with a nice oil, and a veggie gravy :)
Eat Fresh, Eat Local, Be Healthy!
Gelato © kaishin | dash of food 2011.
Over the late summer, I finally started with my gelato making experiments. A friend had lent me her ice cream maker, and it was perfect and easy to use. It took a few tries to get the right mixture combinations to my liking, and here is one of my favs :) I hope you enjoy it, and get creative with it after the first batch.
500 ml table cream 18%
250 ml 2% plain yogurt
15 ml pure vanilla extract
15 ml balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
Take 150 ml of the cream and heat gently to melt the sugar and vanilla. then pour remaining cream plus yogurt and blend with hand held whisk till no more lumps. chill in fridge. until cold.
Continue reading Blackberry Balsamic Yogurt Gelato