Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Simple Tips for Seasonal Flu Prevention

BY Melissa Toye, ACHS Student, Associate of Applied Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine

Every year, thousands of Americans become ill from the virus caused by influenza. Influenza is a respiratory virus that can affect individuals in any age group; the very young and very old are most susceptible.

Each year the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the influenza vaccine for every American over six-months of age; however, this vaccine will only protect an individual from three strains of the flu, and many individuals do not feel comfortable with vaccinations. With more than 30 types of influenza in the environment, how can the public better protect themselves? Luckily, there are some things that can easily be done to help keep families healthy.

1. Contain the Spread

According to the CDC, the flu virus is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and the droplets become air-born. The virus can be spread from a sneeze or cough up to six feet away. Less frequently someone can become infected by touching a contaminated surface. An infected person is contagious one day prior to becoming sick and up to seven days after symptoms start, including: fever (not everyone infected will develop a fever), body aches, runny/stuffy nose, and coughing.

2. Proper Hand Washing

It is important to wash hands after using the restroom, before preparing meals, after sneezing/coughing, or touching an animal. The friction that occurs when hands are rubbed together with soap and warm water is effective in killing and removing germs. However, many do not wash their hands long enough; the CDC recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds. If adults or children need encouragement to lather up longer, try humming the tune to “Happy Birthday to You” twice.

3. Disinfect Surfaces

Disinfecting the home helps decrease the chance of transmitting the virus to others in the family. All surfaces, from silverware to light switches, should be sanitized during flu season. This can be achieved by simply washing the item in hot, soapy water or using a disinfecting spray. There are many products on the market that are effective in killing viruses on different surfaces, but many are concerned about Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and their effect on our health and air quality. A quick search on the Internet will result in many different essential oil recipes for disinfectants. Marlene Mitchell, CA provided the recipe below[1]:

General Antiseptic Mist
1 oz. Carrier distilled water
2- 3 drops Aloe Vera
3 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
4 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
3 drops Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
4 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Directions: Blend all ingredients into a spray bottle. Spray may be used to sanitize all surfaces.

1. Mitchell CA, M. (2009, April 30). Antiseptic spray mist, cold & flu support. Retrieved from AIA website:
2. (2011, November 18). Seasonal influenza. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:
3. ACHStv video Top 5 Tips for Wellness features ACHS instructors Deborah Halvorson and Scott Stuart, and Dr. Arianna Staruch.

*This information is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine. For immediate assistance for a medical emergency, call 911.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ACHS Graduate Kristi Rimkus Launches iApp and eBook Series Cooking Light Done Right

“I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when people tell me they've tried a recipe and they were pleasantly surprised that ‘healthy’ food could taste good,” says Kristi Rimkus, American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) graduate. “It's even more fun when they tell me how they improved my recipe to meet the tastes of their family. To me, this means they are finding the fun in cooking, and that's what will keep them cooking at home, instead of heading through the local drive through.”

Rimkus, who graduated from the ACHS Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting and Certificate in Wellness Consulting programs, recently launched an iApp based on popular recipes found on her food blog Mother Rimmy's Cooking Light Done Right, as well as an eBook cookbook series, Cooking Light Done Right, available through DigiGlyph Transmedia Publishing (

“My goal is to show people how to cook wholesome food that will help them maintain a healthy weight. In the future, I hope to start working with mature women to help them meet their wellness goals,” says Rimkus.

Her inspiration is personal. Fifteen years ago, Rimkus lost 40 pounds. She learned that cooking low calorie, fresh foods for her family was the key to keeping the weight off, and that if the food appealed to them, everyone’s health would be improved.

“Cooking healthy meals became such a passion for me that I decided to learn as much as I could about nutrition. After thoroughly researching schools, I decided that ACHS was the place for me. I made the right choice, and finished a nutrition and wellness certification this past year,” Rimkus says.

After observing the eating habits of her friends and family, Rimkus says, she realized nutrition and lifestyle can be improved to alleviate common issues, like aches, pains, and obesity. By sharing her experience with her friends, family, and clients, Rimkus also hopes to lead by example.

Her ultimate goal is to start a consulting business to help women lose weight and feel fit.

“The second half of life should be full of life and fun,” Rimkus says. “I want to help women enjoy it.”

“Having a Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting and a Certificate in Wellness Consulting from ACHS gives me the confidence to talk about nutrition and wellness because I've studied the subject thoroughly with terrific instructors and fellow students.”

To explore her cooking blog Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right, visit, and download some new recipes! You can also connect with Kristi on Facebook at or email her at

For more information about the ACHS Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting and a Certificate in Wellness Consulting programs, visit, call (800) 487-8839, or email

Image © Kristi Rimkus. (2011). Pictured: Kristi Rimkus with her daughter Lauren.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Download How to Bridge Potential and Profit Teleconference with Michelle Pippin

How can the four simple words, "I can help you," revolutionize your holistic health practice? In our November 22 teleconference, How to Bridge Potential and Profit, marketing expert Michelle Pippin answers this lingering question for you! She also outlines what she thinks are the top five commonly made mistakes when building a holistic health business.

In case you missed the live event, the American College has posted the recording for free download. >> Click here to download the recording How to Bridge Potential and Profit

Be sure to leave a comment and your follow up questions for Michelle! How will you use these holistic marketing suggestions to support your business and reach your goals?

Note this audio file is large and may take a while to download. Please right-click, select Save Link As, and download the MP3 to your hard drive for optimal performance.

Audio files are © ACHS 2011. You may use this recording for personal use only. However, unauthorized distribution, duplication, or broadcast or performance for financial gain is prohibited.
This recording is offered as a service and for educational purposes only. No endorsement is implied. Any websites or services mentioned in conjunction with this teleconference recording are the express experience and opinions of the teleconference speaker.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Happy Thanksgiving Message and Savory Tomato Soup Recipe to Spice Up Your Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the American College of Healthcare Sciences. We hope that you have a healthy and happy holiday filled with love, light, and joy.

We're thankful to be part of such a wonderful community, and invite you to share your own Thanksgiving message with our ACHS family online here.

Please note, the ACHS offices will be closed Thursday, November 24, in observance of the holiday. We look forward to speaking with you when we return on Friday.

Thank you for being part of our family. Again, Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm regards,
Dorene Petersen, ACHS President

Here's a savory recipe for Spicy Tomato Soup, which makes a colorful, flavorful addition to holiday meals!

1 12-oz can of tomato paste
1 16-oz can of tomato puree
2-cups vegetable stock or water
2-t cumin Cuminum cyminum, cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum, ground coriander Coriandrum sativum
1-t cayenne Capsicum annuum or to taste
¼-cup orange juice
2-T coconut milk
2-t finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Directions: Mix the tomato paste, puree, stock or water, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and cayenne. Bring to the boil over medium to high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. Stir in orange juice, coconut milk, cilantro, and pepper. Simmer for an additional five minutes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reduce Stress During the Holidays and All Year Long

Many of us live from day to day, not thinking about our health or body until it begins to ache, a joint twinges, a headache starts. Then we try to remedy the problem. But-- wellness is a cumulative concept.

In our view, stress is one of the most harmful issues our bodies have to deal with in the modern world. Stress has been shown to affect our cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems, and increases our risk for heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and the common cold.

So this time of year -- when there are lots of seasonal germs on the loose and ample seasonal stressors with upcoming holidays -- taking control of your stress is essential.

Feeling like we are in control reduces stress in our lives. There are several strategies you can use to help regain control, including focusing on daily exercise and nutrition, and making consistent use of support tools like meditation, scheduling, and journaling.

To get started, start small. Make a point to do one simple, satisfying thing for yourself every day. It can be a short walk, making a fresh mug of herbal tea, or even taking an aromatic bath.

As this is the holiday season, we'd like to share our Slow Down Herbal Bath Blend recipe from our Aromatic Gifts Guide, which you can download here. Enjoy!

Slow Down Herbal Bath Blend
  • Lavender flowers
  • Rosemary leaves
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Calendula flowers
Rub the herbs together through a sieve. Weigh out 1 oz and package into herbal sachets for the bath.Hang from the faucet when drawing a bath so that the water will filter through the sachet when filling the tub. Then place the sachet in the water and let it soak in the water while bathing.

How do you manage your stress every day? During the holidays? Leave a comment with your best stress-busting tips (and herbal recipe blends!).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy DIY Green Cleaning Tips and Recipes from ACHS and Metro's Caran Goodall

Do you know the difference between chlorine bleach and other whitening agents? How about natural ways to get streak-free windows and a sparkling kitchen?

To learn these tips and more, check out our YouTube video Safe, Simple Recipes for a Clean Healthy Home presented at American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon, by Caran Goodall from Metro.

Have you tried these recipes for soft scrub and general cleanser? Or, perhaps you have perfected your own recipes? Let's do a green cleaning recipe exchange! Feel free to post your comments and feedback about the recipes in Safe, Simple Recipes for a Clean Healthy Home and your tried-and-true green cleaning recipes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Celebration Featuring ACHS Graduates November 30 in Portland

Kick off your holiday season with the ACHS Winter Celebration!

Enjoy learning how to make natural gifts for your loved ones. We'll feature how to make:
  • Delicious holiday room sprays you can use all year long!
  • Winter Blahs Bath Salts
  • Peppermint Foot Scrub
With the cold and flu season upon us, come learn about winter wellness tips including how to make:
  • All-natural, herbal cough syrup
  • Gentle, Peaceful herbal tea
We'll also feature a range of herbs for winter wellness!

Space is limited, so RSVP today. To RSVP, call (503) 244-0726, email, or RSVP here on Facebook.

Can't join us? Check out our full range of Do-It-Yourself gift kits online at And, be sure to check out our great educational videos highlighting how to make your own natural gifts below! Subscribe to our YouTube channel for regular updates online at

We look forward to seeing you!

ACHS Winter Celebration: November 30, 2011 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at American College of Healthcare Sciences, 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland, OR 97239.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ACHS Graduate Emily Stein Named 2012 DETC Outstanding Graduate of the Year

American College graduate Emily Stein says her goal for enrolling in the ACHS Diploma in Holistic Health Practice was to learn about wellness, to improve personal health, and to help others. Over the course of her studies, Stein says, she has learned that the body is an intricate machine requiring a balance between physical and mental health, best maintained by proper nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction.

We're proud to announce Emily has been named ACHS 2012 DETC Outstanding Graduate of the Year! The Distance Education and Training Council is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an accrediting body, and conducts the Outstanding Graduate program annually. Students are selected for their academic record and the level and quality of their contribution to society and their chosen profession(s).

“We selected Emily for the Outstanding Graduate honor, and to represent ACHS at the spring DETC conference, because she has continually demonstrated a focused commitment to her studies,” says ACHS President Dorene Petersen. “Emily’s instructors commend her dedication to ‘walk the walk,’ which evidences the depth of Emily’s commitment to education, holistic health, and professionalism in the field.”

>>Read more about Emily's experience at ACHS and long-term holistic health career goals in the full-length press release here

We look forward to reading your comments! What are your long-term health goals and/or holistic health career plans?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Health Benefits of Dandelion and How to Make Dandelion Coffee

Dandelion Taraxacum officinale is a common herb we often overlook. For many gardeners, dandelion is a "problem weed" ruining their lawn, but for herbalists, dandelions are a rich source of vitamins (including A and C), minerals (iron and calcium), and detox supports.

Dandelion is a great herb for everyday nutrition. You can add to milder salad blends, like red leaf lettuce, or blend with other bitter herbs, like endive and chicory. To add dandelion into your diet, follow these tips:
  • Gather the leaves when young, before they have flowered in spring
  • Collect from a spray-free area, away from the road, or in your own organic garden
  • After flowering, cut the plant back to the top of the roots, and then harvest the new growth
  • Harvest or grow dandelions in shade for the least bitter flavor
  • The dandelions seen in stores are often Italian dandelions, which are more bitter than the domestic variety
Dandelion’s distinctive taste is refreshing served in sandwiches, with vinaigrette dressing, with meats, cheeses, and pasta, and in tomato sauces. It also makes a flavorful, healthy alternative to coffee.

To make your own dandelion coffee:
  • Wash the roots, slice lengthwise in half, and then air dry for several days
  • Cut the roots into 1-inch sections and roast on a baking sheet at 375˚F for 2-4 hours
  • Turn the roots regularly so they brown evenly
There should be a coffee-like odor coming from the oven by the time they are done. Grind as needed, and use in place of coffee beans.

Fresh-made dandelion coffee makes a great gift, too! So the next time you're invited to a dinner party or need a last-minute-present, package some dandelion coffee in an attractive, air-tight jar and share with friends and family.

What are your favorite ways to eat dandelion? Post your favorite dandelion recipes here! We look forward to tasting your recipes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

ACHS Master of Science Graduate Student Reports on AIA Conference "The Future of Aromatics in Integrative Healthcare”

By Sandy Durand, ACHS Master of Science in Complementary Alternative Medicine

Attending the recent conference for the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) truly was a highlight of my year. What a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable learning opportunity!

As an American College of Healthcare Sciences graduate student, a Registered Aromatherapist (RA) focusing on natural skin care and wellness, and a mom of special needs youths who use aromatherapy daily, this conference helped me on all fronts.

The 2011 conference featured informational sessions ranging from using aromatherapy to treat depression in postpartum mothers to applications in cancer care to understanding aromatherapy chemistry. Held in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area, the three-day main conference, “The Future of Aromatics in Integrative Healthcare,” was sandwiched between optional pre- and post-conference seminars.

Rhiannon Harris, a clinical aromatherapist, nurse, and educator from France, hosted the full-day pre-conference workshop on skin integrity. I couldn’t miss attending this option and enjoyed every minute of it. Ms. Harris packed an incredible amount of information into a day that just flew by. She shared a wealth of professional experience in how to address specific skin care challenges and kindly took time to answer audience questions. I think the consensus in the room was that we all would have loved another day or two to listen to Ms. Harris and absorb even more of her expertise; I heard many comments to that effect.

Other topics offered during the main conference included how to establish an aromatherapy business, current trends in spas, kinesiology, research strategies, oils of Australia, and daily morning aromatic Kundalini yoga sessions. AIA management and volunteers did an excellent job of selecting presenters and keeping everything running smoothly. They and the speakers also incorporated a lot of sparkle and humor into their presentations to keep us laughing while we learned.

The only downside is that I skipped school to attend the conference and still have not caught up in my anatomy class. Sorry, Dr. Berger. I’m trying.

>>To read the full-text article on the ACHS website, click here

Have questions for Sandy? Feel free to post them here! We'd also love to hear your thoughts on the conference topic ... What is the future of aromatics in integrative healthcare?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Are the Health Benefits of Eating Seasonal Foods?

You may have heard the terms "seasonal foods" or eating "in-season" used by holistic nutrition experts, but what do they mean? Why are seasonal foods so important?

The seasons provide diversity, and changes in conditions from spring to summer or fall to winter, for example, are essential for balancing the ecosystem. We've been taught to expect the same foods to be available in our supermarkets year-round; however, we pay the price for this availability, both in nutrition and ecological terms.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold. A grape traveling from Chile to California travels approximately 5,900 miles!

Seasonal produce is fresher, may have higher levels of beneficial nutrients, often tastes better, is more likely to be grown locally, and can often be purchased from local farmers, reducing the transportation time and associated costs, while supporting your local economy.

To find out what's in-season in your area, head to your local farmers market or check out the National Resources Defense Council Eat Local Guide.

For November, commonly found in-season produce includes: apples, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn, eggplant, kale, mushrooms, okra, pecans, pistachios, pumpkin, rhubarb, snap peas, spinach, and squash.

What are your favorite in-season foods for this time of year? Have some great tips for how to locate seasonal foods in your local area? Feel free to post your suggestions and comments here! Plus -- we're always looking for new recipes. We look forward to hearing from you.

>> To learn more about holistic nutrition and eating for health, find more information about the American College Certificate in Holistic Nutrition Consulting online here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Make Flavored Vinegars with Herbs by ACHS Aromatherapy Graduate Desiree Bell Featured in Herb Companion

Vinegar is commonly used as a condiment or preservative. A bit sour tasting on its own, vinegars blended with garden-fresh herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables create flavorful variations you can use in salad dressings, marinades, and dips.

In her article "Making Flavored Vinegars with Herbs," American College of Healthcare Sciences graduate Desiree Bell says of one several vinegars from the market will work well, including: balsamic, cider, malt, rice, sherry, and red or white wine. She also recommends using nonreactive materials, including the jars and lids you steep and store your vinegar in.

Herbs for making flavored vinegars can include: basil, chive, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, shallot, spearmint, and thyme.

Recommended spices for making flavored vinegars include: cardamom, ginger, juniper, and chili peppers.

> For a complete list of herbs and spices you can use, read the full-length article "Make Flavored Vinegars with Herbs" here

> Learn to make DIY natural body care and culinary oils with ACHS President Dorene Petersen's article "Make Aromatherapy Herbal Body Care and Culinary Oils" here

Have you made your own body care and/or culinary oils? Post your favorite blends and tips for making flavored vinegars, culinary oils, and natural bath oil here. Thanks!