Great weight, good energy, and optimum health? Oh yeah, they’re important. If you read this blog, you know it’s not a low calorie, low fat diet that makes Health,.. it’s Nutrients; and we get Nutrients from our food. That’s why I’m such a Real Whole Foodie.
Here’s the thing though, it’s more than eating good fats, good proteins, and a ton of Vegetables. Real nutritional powerhouses are Herbs and Spices, and if we want to “up our game”, we need to learn how to incorporate them into our every day life. The problem: herbs and spices scare people.
Don’t Panic! I get comments all the time like: “I don’t know how to use herbs.” “I don’t know which herbs or spices taste good”, and, ” I don’t have time to do those big recipes that have herbs and spices Debbie, I’m busy!”.
It’s okay! Busy people can be healthy too. Everything’s a journey, right?
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, and that’s how you’re going to approach eating healthy every day. Everything’s only difficult until it’s routine. Then it’s no big deal.
Consider this: (1) We Americans grow up with pretty Bland Tastes: we want sweet, or we want salty. We were raised that way, and for the most part, we’re raising our kids that way. This isn’t working out very well. And (2) we’ve been convinced that Nutrition and Health come from a Pill, a doctor, or Processed Food products with tricky names, like “Ensure”. (Check out the ingredient list of ensure at the end of this Post.) Awareness is a big part of the battle, right?
Here’s a short primer on a handful of herbs and spices, and ideas on how to use them. If I can do it, you can do it. I was brought up on salt, pepper and sugar, like all good American farm girls. I evolved though, and you can too. Here’s some super delicious (HONEST) recipes to up your nutrition:
This is my Ginger Juice:)
I make this several days a week and put a little in our teas and our waters. It’s simple: buy big, knobby ginger, cut off a piece, peel it, and then chop it into little pieces. Put the pieces in a jar, and fill the jar with hot water. I let this sit and steep over night. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory, great for digestion, and stomach upset. I always make sure to chew and swallow a piece or two also, I’ve grown to appreciate the bite. Ginger’s a great source of iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
This is a morning smoothie. Smoothies can be SIMPLE (base, fruit, and ice), or smoothies can be vehicles for piling on the nutrients, which is what I do! This smoothie has 2 raw eggs, coconut milk, greens powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and frozen berries. My smoothies change daily, and I try to keep a mental list of what I use one day so I can switch it around a little the next. Green powder is great for the liver, and now we’re finding that the chlorophyl in greens powder actually helps our cells make energy – just like it does for plants- THAT IS SO COOL! Cinnamon is great for lowering blood sugar, and fighting certain virus and fungi; and nutmeg boosts the immune system, and benefits the blood and skin.
This is Megan’s “Golden Milk” drink. The ingredients: Coconut milk, turmeric, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne, ghee/butter, and Maca. (Proof that our example matters, right?) Here’s some “whys”: Turmeric is super duper Anti-inflammatory, and multiple ( THOUSANDS ) of studies show it’s benefits in cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart health, and and more. **Turmeric can be off-putting for those of us not used to it’s flavor. I eased my way into the taste by using Garam Marsala and Curry, two spice mixes that incorporate Turmeric, but are less pungent. While I still LOVE, and use, those spices, I’ve also come to love the taste of turmeric.
Vanilla’s shockingly healthy! It has loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients, which means it not only feeds our cells, but can reverse oxidative damage to our cells, much like turmeric. Cayenne’s another powerhouse: weight loss, digestion, throat congestion, heart disease, the list goes on and on. And Maca, have you heard of that? That’s a herbal “adaptogen” That means it makes hormones “normal”, and who doesn’t need normal hormones? Seems like most of us are walking around with totally Crazy Hormones.
Next, here’s a tea I make in my French Press: black tea, whole cloves, ginger, and slippery elm. Cloves are very anti fungal, anti bacterial, and anti viral, they’re strong. They’re also indicated in fighting cancer, protecting the liver, and fighting mouth disease. The slippery elm has been my new go-to since last fall. Slippery elm helps the body build mucus ( YES – we need mucus. Delete the TV commercials that picture mucus as Bad Bugs out to get us. Reality: when we’re sick, mucus is instrumental in getting the Bad Stuff out of our body. Plus, several parts of our body are supposed to be lined with mucus, like our throat, our stomach, and our lungs. When we don’t have enough mucus, bad stuff happens.) I started using Slippery Elm (and marshmallow root) this fall, most days of the week. For the first time since high school, I didn’t lose my voice once this past winter, nor get a scratchy throat. Slippery elm (and marshmallow root) help the body build it mucus where it needs it.
And finally, here’s one of my favorite afternoon drinks: In my french press I mix decaf coffee, cocoa beans, coconut flakes, and then usually turmeric, and here I added Ashwagandha. THIS IS SO GOOD. ** My decaf is “Swiss Water” decaffeinated, and it matters. If you’re not drinking Swiss Water decaffeinated coffee, you’re drinking chemically decaffeinated coffee. Not only do you drink those chemicals, but studies show chemically decaffeinated coffee isn’t nearly as caffeine free as you may think. Swiss Water is a patented process that only uses water to decaffeinate, and strips out almost 100% of the caffeine.
Coffee is a Nutritional Powerhouse, so is Cocoa. The phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, are abundant. So are the health benefits.
Ashwangandha’s another “adaptogen”; it benefits thyroid and adrenal function. It’s also supposed to reduce brain cell degeneration – I need that!
Did you notice that I used the word “anti-inflammatory” often? Let me link anti-inflammatory and weight loss: If we can’t lose weight despite working out and eating fairly well, it’s probably because our cells are “inflamed” with either Insulin or Leptin Resistance. When the cell is inflamed, all the doors on the cell that open for nutrients, are instead, shut. These anti-inflammatory herbs and spices can help reverse that, and correct cell metabolism so that nutrients can get in and be “burned”, which is a dumb term, but paints a good picture.
My point: anti-inflammatory foods aren’t just for sore joints, and bad stomachs, and chronic disease; they have a profound effect on our metabolism. Who doesn’t want a better metabolism?
Honestly everyone, there’s a whole new world out there to explore when you start diving into to the components of food, and learn how they benefit our body.
When we get sick, or fat, or run down, we’re not missing a medication. Think about that: we’re not LOW on meds. We’re low on Nutrients that our body uses to function, and build, and repair. It’s so worth the effort to learn a little bit every day of how our body works and what we can do to make it better.
We’re not a Math Equation, we’re a Chemistry Set. Food is Medicine, or Food is Poison; our health, our weight, our energy is the cumulative result of what we do every day, day in, day out. Make choices that produce great end results, and see your health and weight and energy improve day by day, month by month, year by year.
References and Resources:
Check out Drug and Herb Interactions here: www.standardprocess.com/MediHerb-Document-Library/Catalog-Files/herb-drug-interaction-chart.pdf
Research Herbs and Foods here:
Learn about Swiss Water Decaf:
And the Health Benefits of Coffee and Cocoa Beans:
Great Place To Buy Herbs: www.mountainroseherbs.com
Ashwagandha Benefits: www.draxe/ashwagandha
Finally, look at the ingredients in Conventional Medicine’s healthy drink: Ensure. Hint, it’s disgusting. www.rocksolidnutritionandwellness.com/how-to-really-lose-weight-it’s-not-by-dieting-and-a-looks-healthy-but-isn’t