Almond Milk and Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Almond Milk and Quinoa Mac and Cheese
Photo and Recipe from Lindsay Amabile of The Local Taste Blog

Almond Milk and Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa pasta according to package.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in flour and continue to whisk until it darkens.
  4. Turn heat to low and slowly stir in milk. Turn heat back to medium and whisk until mixture thickens and there are no lumps. Should take 1-2 minutes to thicken.
  5. Stir in grated cheese and continue to stir until it’s melted.
  6. Stir in cooked quinoa pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Almond Milk and Quinoa Mac and Cheese
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-8oz. packaged of cooked quinoa macaraoni or your favorite quinoa pasta
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil, room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. white unbleached flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened or vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa pasta according to package.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in flour and continue to whisk until it darkens.
  4. Turn heat to low and slowly stir in milk. Turn heat back to medium and whisk until mixture thickens and there are no lumps. Should take 1-2 minutes to thicken.
  5. Stir in grated cheese and continue to stir until it’s melted.
  6. Stir in cooked quinoa pasta and season with salt and pepper to taste.

iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

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The Healthy Aspects of Vitamin E

The Healthy Aspects of Vitamin E

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, is a common fat-soluble vitamin. However, because it may not be as familiar as other vitamins, such as vitamin C or the B vitamins, many do not know much about its uses. This vitamin has a wide range of health benefits throughout the body and can be used as a topical oil in some instances.

One way to get the vitamin E that one needs is to consume foods that are rich in this nutrient. Some of the best options include leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, nuts, vegetable oils used for cooking or baking, as well as eggs. However, those who do not eat these foods often should consider taking a supplement or a multivitamin to supply the nutrients they are missing.

Whether one gets vitamin E from foods or a supplement, these are some of the benefits with which they will be rewarded:

Heart Health

Vitamin E prevents the platelets in the blood from clumping together; this may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke and blood clots throughout the body. In addition, studies have shown that consuming vitamin E daily can help to reduce high blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles in the blood vessels, while its antioxidants may help to prevent high blood pressure in the first place.

Healthy Skin and Hair

Vitamin E can keep help skin smooth and firm and create soft, shiny hair. It does this by increasing blood circulation to the skin and scalp. As an antioxidant, vitamin E destroys free radicals that damage hair, skin and nails. By protecting the hair and nails from damage, vitamin E promotes healthy growth of the skin and hair. Vitamin E oil can also be used topically as a skin softener.

Age-Related Eye Conditions

This vitamin can also be used to prevent eye concerns, such as macular degeneration and cataracts, due to the high amount of antioxidants in it. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), vitamin E, especially when combined with other antioxidants such as zinc, beta-carotene and vitamin C, appear to protect people from developing macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the US among people over 55.

 Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Vitamin E Products! New to iHerb?  Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Top 5 Health Benefits of Vitamin E; Newsmax; accessed October 20, 2014

Ratini, Melinda, DO, MS; Vitamin E; WebMD; accessed October 20, 2014

Kannall, Erica; Vitamin E and High Blood Pressure; Livestrong; accessed October 20, 2014

Vitamin E; Mayo Clinic; accessed October 20, 2014

Vitamin E; UMMC; accessed October 20, 2014

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Natural Blood Sugar Support for Type 2 Diabetics

Natural Blood Sugar Support for Type 2 Diabetics

Diabetes is a disease in which an individual’s body cannot create enough insulin to process the sugar, or glucose, in the blood properly. This heightened glucose level can lead to an array of other complications such as nerve pain and nerve damage, poor eyesight and slow wound healing. Out of the two types of the disease, type 2 diabetes is more easily managed by dietary changes and oral medications.

Many diabetics are discovering the array of natural supplements that may also be used to control the disease or improve side effects.

B Vitamins

Several of the B vitamins, specifically B1, B6 and B12, are important for proper functioning of the nervous system. These can help with some of the neuropathies common with diabetes.

Vitamin E

This vitamin also protects the nervous system as well as the blood vessels while potentially decreasing the incidence of cataracts and improving glucose control.

Magnesium

Magnesium has been found to decrease insulin resistance in the body. In fact, many people with diabetes have been found to have low levels of magnesium in their bloodstreams.

Chromium

Chromium is a trace metal that may help lower glucose levels by aiding in the metabolism of sugars. However, it should only be taken in low doses.

Cinnamon

Often thought of only as a kitchen spice, cinnamon actually has a wide range of supplemental uses. For diabetics, it can serve as a natural and safe way to regulate blood sugar levels.

Vanadium

Another trace mineral, vanadium is thought to work in much the same way as insulin does in the body — by lowering blood sugar levels.

Banana Leaf Extract

Coming from Asia, this extract may decrease blood sugar levels by increasing glucose uptake into the body’s cells.

Bitter Melon

This botanical is actually a vegetable that can also be taken as a supplement to potentially lower blood sugar levels.

Click here for iHerb’s selection of Blood Sugar Support Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Orenstein, Beth W.; 9 Supplements That May Help Diabetes; Everyday Health; accessed September 23, 2014

Kiefer, Dale; Herbs and Supplements for Diabetes; Healthline; accessed September 23, 2014

Whitaker, Dr. Julian; The Best Supplements for Diabetes; Dr. Whitaker; accessed September 23, 2014

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Five Unhealthy “Kids Foods” and Their Alternatives

Five Unhealthy “Kids Foods” and Their Alternatives

While lots of parents agree that they want to fill their children’s bodies with fresh, healthy foods, many have trouble preparing these foods and getting kids to eat them. Others eat the same unhealthy foods that their children do simply because they are easy to grab — saving time on busy school days. However, the reality is that more children today are overweight or obese than ever before, eating more fast foods and getting less exercise.

Here are five top culprits in typical homes and the delicious foods that can replace them:

Sugary Cereals

Cereals that are marketed to children are notoriously filled with high amounts of sugar and artificial colors, with little fiber or whole grains. For a nutritious start to the day, parents can consider serving hot oatmeal or unsweetened adult cereals. Another option is yogurt with fresh fruit.

Fish Sticks

Many parents and kids alike enjoy these fried finger foods; however, there are unhealthy fats contained in the breaded crusts. Parents can serve fresh baked or grilled fish instead as a healthier option.

Fruit Snacks

Parents are often confused by these easy snacks because they seem healthy. Instead, many of these snacks are filled with artificial sweeteners. A tasty alternative is unsweetened dried fruit or sliced fresh fruit.

Sugary Juices

Many juices contain only a small percentage of actual fruit juice and are instead loaded with sugar. Parents should choose only 100 percent fruit juice, if they serve juice. Freshly squeezed juices are packed with nutrients.

Hot Dogs

Filled with dangerous nitrites as well as lots of fat, hot dogs are not the most nutritious item. Fresh lunchmeats and even turkey or chicken dogs are much healthier alternatives.

 iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

References

Port, Dina Roth; The 14 Worst Kids’ Foods: Are They in Your Kitchen?; iVillage; accessed August 27, 2014

Avvocato, Alexander; 6 Kids’ Foods Never to Eat; Prevention; accessed August 27, 2014

The 20 Worst Kid’s Foods in America; NBC News; accessed August 27, 2014

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Filed under Children's and Teen Health, Fitness, Nutrition and Weight Loss, Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition)

Promoting Your Rewards Code By Creating Videos

Promoting Your Rewards Code By Creating Videos

iHerb wants to reward you! Check back each Monday for the next few weeks to learn how you can rev up your iHerb Rewards experience to new heights!

For the last couple weeks, we talked about how the use of photos that are either posted to Instagram or pinned to Pinterest are great tools that you can use to promote your Rewards Code. Today, we’ll talk about how you can create videos and post them to your various social media accounts. You can get started below.

Tools of the Trade:  First and foremost, you need some type of camera. You could use a smart phone, webcam or video camera. Be sure to find a way to stabilize your camera as well as find an area to shoot that is quiet.

Types of Videos: The videos that get the most attention are those that are information-rich. People are always looking to get information or answers to their questions.  Remember to mention your Rewards Code as well mention that these items can be purchased at www.iherb.com in the video itself.

Look below for examples of videos you could create:

  1. Product Reviews with talk points that could include:
    1. Product Info and Value
    2. Suggested Use(s)
    3. News about the Product
    4. Comparison with Similar Product
    5. What you like or don’t like about the product.
    6. What you use the product for
  2. Product Usage Tips Ideas
    1. Share a tip on how to use a specific product (e.g. Explain the proper way to put on an L.F. Cosmetic Flawless Finish Liquid Foundation).
    2. Share different usage ideas for a generic product (e.g. Coconut oil can be used both for cooking as well as for beauty treatments and give examples)
  3. How to Demonstrations Ideas featuring iHerb Products
    1. Do a makeup demo explaining how to come up with a night time makeup look.
    2. Do a cooking demo about the proper way to cook quinoa as well sharing recipe suggestions.
  4. Informational Video Ideas. Please be cognizant of making too many claims.
    1. Talk about what specific products may be beneficial for a certain condition and then give examples of products you use.
    2. Share information about working out along with products that could help you reach a specific fitness goal.

Post Your Videos:  In the message body that goes with the link to your video, include your Rewards Code and the Custom URL for the product(s) mentioned in your video. If hyperlinks aren’t available, just copy and paste the URL for the product(s) you are trying to feature.  You can also simply reference that all products can be purchased at www.iherb.com.

  1. YouTube and Pinterest
    1. YouTube and Pinterest allows you to create categories/message boards within your account that allow you to curate your videos towards specific audiences.
  2. Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus
    1. Share your videos on your Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus Profiles.
  3. Instagram / Vine
    1. Videos can be created from your smart phone and uploaded to Instagram or Vine.
  4. Blogs
    1. Share your videos on your blog.

So what are you waiting for? Point, shoot and start filming.

To learn more now visit: Rewards.iherb.com.

Next Up:  Promoting Your Rewards Code via a Blog

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Four Great Exercises to Tone Your Core

Four Great Exercises to Tone Your Core

Focused fitness is a great way for individuals to get the body they want. Performing these four toning exercises every day is a fine way to get a strong core and whittle away unhealthy fat that has a tendency to accumulate around the belly and “love handles.”

Crunches

Crunches are the little sister to classic sit-ups, but they actually do a lot more for the core than sit-ups do. When done correctly (not straining the neck), crunches can focus a great deal of energy into the abdominals. Performing crunch variations can also work out other important sculpting muscles, such as the oblique and intercostal muscles found between the ribs.

Planks

Similar to push-ups, planks force the individual to hold the movement at the top for a longer period. As one gets better at planks, he or she should increase the hold time for a bigger burn.

Jack-Knife Sit-Ups

These sit-ups focus on both ends of the abdominals at once. Instead of lifting only the head and back, both the torso and the legs come up simultaneously. The position should be held for several seconds before it is released slowly and with control — to the floor. For more resistance for the advanced exerciser, hold a medicine ball in the hands during the exercise.

Pelvic Tilts

Although this may seem like the most simplistic exercise on the list, a pelvic tilt engages the abdominals, leading to a lean, toned belly. It is also an excellent choice for an abdominal warm-up. The individual should sit on a balance ball while tucking in the belly and rolling back on the ball, then sitting up for several repetitions.

 Click here to see iHerb’s selection of sports, fitness and athletic supplements! New to iHerb? Use Coupon Code WOW123 to get $10 off any first time order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off for orders less than $40.

References

5 Core Exercises to Tone Your Tummy; Fitday; accessed September 24, 2014

Austin, Denise; Sculpt Your Core Muscles; Prevention; accessed September 24, 2014

Stewart, Alex; 5 Core Workouts for a Tight Midsection – A Beginner’s Guide; Bodybuilding; accessed September 24, 2014

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Quick Tips for Better, Deeper Sleep

Quick Tips for Better, Deeper Sleep

Getting good sleep is easy for some but is a huge hurdle for others. While some people drop off to sleep within the first five minutes after climbing into bed, others — both old and young — toss and turn, have to use the bathroom every couple hours or wake up exhausted the next morning.

A before-sleep routine programs the mind and body into knowing when bedtime is and when it is time to wind down at the end of the day. Experts advise that it is vital to stick to the same routine each night for optimal sleep.

Get Some Sun

Earlier in the day, get about 20 minutes of sun, which can help set the body’s sleep and wake cycle.

Exercise

Regular exercise does more than burn calories; it also helps tire out the muscles, prepping the body for sleep. But take note: Exercise should be finished at least three hours prior to bedtime for deep rest.

Hold off on Caffeine

By mid-afternoon, switch to decaffeinated drinks for the best sleep. Drinking caffeine later than this can keep one awake and running to the bathroom throughout the night.

Prepare the Bedroom

The bedroom should be dark and cool. Installing room-darkening shades, turning down the thermostat and putting lower wattage bulbs in bedroom lamps can help.

Relax

Finding a way to relax about an hour before bedtime is vital. Some do this by reading a book or listening to music; others take a warm bath with lavender-scented oils.

Reduce Screen Time

However one chooses to relax, screen time shouldn’t be part of the bedtime routine. The light from devices and televisions may cause deep sleep to be delayed or interrupted.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Those who have trouble falling asleep should be sure to create a bedtime and waking time that they can stick to each day, even on the weekends.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Sleep Support Products! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Rodriguez, Diana; Creating a Good Bedtime Routine; Everyday Health; accessed August 15, 2014

Mayo Clinic Staff; Sleep Tips: 7 Steps to Better Sleep; Mayo Clinic; accessed August 15, 2014

Robinson, Lawrence, Robert Segal, M.A. and Melinda Smith, M.A.; How to Sleep Better; Help Guide; accessed August 15, 2014

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Fading Age Spots Naturally

Fading Age Spots Naturally

Age spots are a common feature of extensive sun exposure and the aging effects of the skin’s melanin. Concentrated areas of melanin affected by the sun have a higher risk of developing age spots. Age spots by themselves are not necessarily harmful but should be checked for discoloration. There are a few helpful remedies to remove or fade these skin complications.

Watch Out for Nutrient Deficiency

A lack of potassium and vitamin C may contribute to age spot susceptibility. Potassium holds the greatest contribution at a prevention level, and a variety of foods are available to help prevent lowered potassium levels. Bananas and avocados have some of the highest amounts of potassium available.

Drinking fresh water regularly and ensuring trace minerals are consumed can help prevent the rapid acceleration of age spots. Zinc and selenium are additional minerals that help revitalize cell growth and prevent age spots. Supplementation is an option if these vitamins and minerals are not readily in the diet.

Limit Sun Exposure

The sun has a powerful effect on the skin’s melanin. Limiting sun exposure can prevent new spots from forming and reduce the darkness of current spots. A sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher is required to block out the most harmful rays. There should still be a small amount of sun exposure during the day to aid in absorption of vitamin D. This is usually 15 minutes per day, but can vary greatly by skin type.

Acidify Your Health

Apple cider vinegar and citrus juice have a few things in common. They are both healthy for the body and are slightly acidic. A few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar can be applied liberally to the area as well as taken internally with citrus juice, such as orange juice. Apple cider vinegar can aid in lightening age spots and detoxify the body internally. The top citrus juices to include in smoothies and drinks include orange, lime and lemon juice.

Other preparations include topical vitamin C, as well as alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acids. These work topically by refining the complexion in a similar way to the acids found in fruits and vinegar.

Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Skin Health Products!  New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Vann, Madeline; Melanoma or Age Spots? How to Tell the Difference; EverydayHealth; accessed July 27, 2014

Hertzig, Alyssa; Age Spot Treatments Anti-Aging; Good Housekeeping; accessed July 27, 2014

3 Ways Vitamin C Can Help You Look Younger; The Dr. Oz Show; accessed July 27,2014

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Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi
Photo and Recipe from Grace Dickinson of the Food Fitness Fresh Air Blog

Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring 1-1/2 cups of water and rice to a boil. Add rice wine vinegar and a dash of salt, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is soft and sticky.
  2. Meanwhile, add oil to a large skillet. Saute garlic for 2 minutes, and then add 1/2 the kale. Use tongs to help it wilt, and then add the remaining kale to the pan. Saute 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until kale is tender, adding soy sauce half way. Depending on how large of a bunch of kale you have, you may need to adjust the soy sauce seasoning, to taste.
  3. When rice is finished, let cool until warm to the touch. Using a large cutting board or flat clean surface, lay out a nori sheet. (Place on top of sushi mat, if using, lining up the long edge of the sheet with the edge closest to you.) Fill a large bowl with water and set nearby.
  4. Spread a thin, 3/4-inch wide layer of rice across nori sheet, lengthwise, leaving 1-inch border on side farthest from you. Add a single layer of sweet potato cubes, followed by a line of kale, sprinkle of scallions and avocado. Add walnuts, if using.
  5. Grab hold of edge of mat closest to you with your thumbs and use your remaining fingers to hold veggie fillings in place as you fold mat over so that the upper and lower edges of rice meet. (If not using a mat, just gently roll with your hands, giving a good press along the roll as you make the first seal.) Give the rolled mat a gentle squeeze, open the mat, and then continue rolling. Dampen fingertips and seal the outer edge of nori sheet to the roll.
  6. Place roll, seam side down, onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, roll in half. Cut each half in half. Finish by making a cut down the center of each individual piece of the roll. (It can help to wet the knife as you do this.)
  7. Add wasabi powder to a small dish of soy sauce. Serve.

Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar + dash of salt
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 7 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 jumbo bunch of kale, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce, or to taste
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced and steamed in a steamer basket for 10 minutes, or until soft
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 6-8 seaweed nori sushi sheets
  • handful of walnuts (optional)
  • soy sauce
  • wasabi powder
Instructions
  1. Bring 1-1/2 cups of water and rice to a boil. Add rice wine vinegar and a dash of salt, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is soft and sticky.
  2. Meanwhile, add oil to a large skillet. Saute garlic for 2 minutes, and then add ½ the kale. Use tongs to help it wilt, and then add the remaining kale to the pan. Saute 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, or until kale is tender, adding soy sauce half way. Depending on how large of a bunch of kale you have, you may need to adjust the soy sauce seasoning, to taste.
  3. When rice is finished, let cool until warm to the touch. Using a large cutting board or flat clean surface, lay out a nori sheet. (Place on top of sushi mat, if using, lining up the long edge of the sheet with the edge closest to you.) Fill a large bowl with water and set nearby.
  4. Spread a thin, ¾-inch wide layer of rice across nori sheet, lengthwise, leaving 1-inch border on side farthest from you. Add a single layer of sweet potato cubes, followed by a line of kale, sprinkle of scallions and avocado. Add walnuts, if using.
  5. Grab hold of edge of mat closest to you with your thumbs and use your remaining fingers to hold veggie fillings in place as you fold mat over so that the upper and lower edges of rice meet. (If not using a mat, just gently roll with your hands, giving a good press along the roll as you make the first seal.) Give the rolled mat a gentle squeeze, open the mat, and then continue rolling. Dampen fingertips and seal the outer edge of nori sheet to the roll.
  6. Place roll, seam side down, onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, roll in half. Cut each half in half. Finish by making a cut down the center of each individual piece of the roll. (It can help to wet the knife as you do this.)
  7. Add wasabi powder to a small dish of soy sauce. Serve.

 iHerb sells thousands of natural food items, everything from stevia to gluten free flours to much more!  Click here to take a look at our product offerings.  If  you’re new to iHerb, you can use Rewards Code WOW123 to get $10 off your first order with a minimum $40 purchase or $5 off orders less than $40.

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The Benefits of Vitamin K

The Benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin best known for its ability to help blood clot and prevent excessive bleeding. It is also important in maintaining healthy bones. Vitamin K deficiency is rare.

Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds known as naphthoquinones. The group includes vitamins K, K1, K2 and K3, with K1 being the natural form that humans derive from foods.

How Your Body Benefits From Vitamin K

In addition to regulating blood clotting, vitamin K facilitates the transport of calcium within your body, making it beneficial to your bones. Having sufficient amounts of this vitamin may help reduce bone loss and osteoporosis, resulting in fewer fractures. By moving calcium through your bloodstream instead of letting it accumulate, it may also prevent calcification of soft tissues and arteries.

Vitamin K Deficiency

While rare, there are conditions that can lead to vitamin K deficiency. The first signs of a deficiency may present themselves as blood oozing from your nose or gums. Osteoporosis may be another sign of deficiency. Certain health problems such as Crohn’s disease, gallbladder or liver disease, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis may also lead to a deficiency in K. Prescription blood thinners and long-term hemodialysis are other risk factors for deficiency. Your doctor can determine if you have a deficiency with a simple blood test.

Vitamin K and Bone Health

Vitamin K helps your body use calcium to build bones. Low levels of vitamin K have been found in osteoporosis patients, especially in postmenopausal women. Studies of athletes found that vitamin K had a positive effect on their bone health.

Best Sources of Vitamin K

Foods highest in vitamin K include leafy greens such as turnip greens, spinach, kale and dark green lettuce. Cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli get their dark green color from this nutrient. Other foods rich in this vitamin are asparagus, beef liver and green tea. Heat does not destroy vitamin K, but freezing may.

Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get enough vitamin K to ensure healthy bones. Post-menopausal women and those who take certain medications may need to supplement their vitamin K intake in pill form. Your doctor can best decide if you need vitamin K supplementation.

 Click here to check out iHerb’s selection of Vitamin K! New to iHerb? Use Rewards Code WOW123 to get up to $10 off your first order.

References

Weil, Andrew, M.D. and Becker, Brian, M.D.; Health Benefits of Vitamin K; Dr. Weil; accessed October 22, 2014

Reviewed by Ehrlich, Steven Dl, NMD; Vitamin K; University of Maryland Medical Center; accessed October 22, 2014

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Filed under Food (Benefits, Cooking and Nutrition), Herbs and Supplements