Without healthy digestion & immunity, we are prone to cold feet, stiffness, arthritis & aches & pains. So, how can you stay healthy & feel good during the holidays?
There is an art to keeping ourselves fit and healthy through life's seasons. And once you learn this art, you will find it easier and easier to take care of yourself - through seasons and life's conditions. And the best part is to know that this 'art' can be tasty, mouth-watering, affordable, easy-to-find feast.
So, today's topic is very interesting and fun. Let's get started right away! so that you can hop on to these tasty recipes not just for yourself but for your loved ones and guests..:)
The 3 Top Issues We Face in Winter Time
What do I mean? For e.g. a garlic rich vegetable soup made at home (without any canned products or artificial broth) is great as it serves the 'warm' needs of our taste buds and body. A homemade gluten-free toast with coconut butter spread is not only yummy but rich in healthy fats - perfect for winter or anytime! That's comfort food done right!
But eating hormone-antibiotic filled dairy cheese, layer after layer, on top of wheat pizza bought from some store or frozen, is all wrong! Not only will dairy cause you belly fat and inflammation, but the wheat along with low-quality oils and ingredients used to make this 'comfort' food will also cause weak immunity and winter allergies.
This is where the music stops - comfort food gone wrong, wrong, wrong!
Immunity - In winter, most people worry that they will get sick...and then...they get sick. Cold, flu, fever, throat issues are just a few of issues to mention.
Ayurveda's Wisdom: It has long been stated in Ayurveda that our immunity depends on our gut health - yes, even long before Western medicine caught up. So, if immunity starts in the gut, then what are you doing eating processed, heavy, bloat-causing foods, or frozen, drive-thru, or canned foods?
Instead of blaming Nature, think about what you have been eating and adopt an immune-boosting 'lifestyle' habits even in winter months; take out the bad and substitute with Nature's produce, spices and herbs.
Joint Stiffness/Arthritis/Pains & Swelling - The third issue people face is that of stiffness and joint aches and pains. This gets even worse for those suffering from arthritis and severe underlying inflammation.
You don't have to be a rock-star scientist or researcher to know that joint issues are getting worse and more common in present day world. And why won' they?
With more people eating high loads of inflammatory foods as well as having high toxic build-up in their cells, it is no surprise that congestion, heaviness and bad digestion all lead to too much weight gain, thus putting more pressure on joints and spinal cord.
So, how can your winter be completely pain-free and allergy free? This article will teach you simple foods to adopt in your daily regimen and see the difference. So, lets start with the solutions.
For Immunity, Digestion & Inflammation
1. Ginger-Garlic Paste - Duh! You bet! If you have been part of The Garden Recipe community for sometime, you should know I was going to mention this...first. No other recipe/food deserves the honor either but this one.
Both ginger and garlic are an excellent digestive. Both ginger and garlic have been used since ancient times in healing digestive upsets. Ginger, due to gingerol, is excellent for nausea, vomiting, upset stomach and indigestion. Garlic also helps in this arena by helping to kill the bad bacteria in the intestine, thus promoting good digestion.
Garlic is rich in sulfur compounds and this is why it is helpful in inflammation. As for ginger, it is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
RECIPE TIPS: Look for the article below on my Ginger-Garlic Paste recipe and read through it to understand it better. Then, go and make the recipe.
2. Turmeric Milk w/Spices - This is a no-brainer! If you want optimum immunity through the winter months and want to keep your joints healthy, you better make this your favorite winter drink. Turmeric milk is also called golden milk. It is an age-old Ayurvedic recipe that truly delivers the healing to one's body. It is taken when someone has fever, cold, cough, pains, or recovering from surgery or accidents.
In my recipe, some more highly beneficial spices have been added to aid in digestion (cardamom & ginger), cinnamon for sugar and taste, black pepper for better turmeric absorption..Let this be your immune-boosting, tempting drink to savor up anytime during the cold months.
RECIPE TIPS: Look for the article (includes my youtube video) below on my Turmeric Milk recipe and read through it to understand it better. Then, go and make the recipe.
3. Aloe Vera Juice - Tasty, refreshing and magical is how I describe aloe vera juice. It is a 'must' especially for those who are trying to improve their digestion or have inflammatory conditions like leaky gut, ibs/ibd, intestinal inflammation, stomach aches, obese patients, diabetics, cancer patients or just anyone with compromised immunity. It is also great for those fighting candida or any other virus/yeast/fungus infections.
Due to its anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties along with being a great digestive aid, it is great for winter time. It will also help in joint issues and keep you pain-free along with all the other foods mentioned here. So, order some and start right away!
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Aloe vera juice is bitter so look for a high quality brand that says 'bitter free,' 'fractionally distilled,' and 'no preservatives or additives.' Depending on your condition, take between 2oz to 6oz daily.
4. RAW Probiotics - If everything starts with healthy gut, then doesn't it make sense to keep our gut supported with high-quality, raw probiotics?
Chances are you will eat a lot more than you should during winter holidays and most of that food is not really going to be good for you - so lets add up more love and support for our poor digestion that will now have to work extra hard and long hours to digest the heavy, creamy, processed food you put it through!
What happens when you already have sluggish digestion and you still eat these heavy foods? Food does NOT get digested properly and due to inflammation, conditions like leaky gut get worse - where the toxins from unprocessed food are now leaking into the bloodstream.
Do you still need probiotics if you have excellent digestion and never get sick?
NO - you don't. Save your money and continue investing in organic, pure foods and spices like you have been doing all along. It's working so no need to waste money.
BUYING TIPS: Buy at least a minimum of 25-50 billion CFU (colony forming unit) with anywhere between 15-25 strains.
For Inflammation: Joints/Stiffness/Arthritis/Aches & Pains
1. Coconut Butter & Coconut Oil - Two of my favorite things! As you might know by now, all my recipes are made in organic, un-refined coconut oil and some of them are topped with coconut butter, also called coconut manna. And there are good reasons for it.
A study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology showed that virgin coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This is because of its high lauric acid content and this is why coconut oil helps reduce inflammation – which means less or no pain. Therefore, to keep joints lubricated and reduce stiffness, incorporate coconut oil in your diet daily.
Another thing I want to add is that especially during winter months, our body needs extra fats to stay warm and productive. But, like we discussed earlier in this article, you have a choice between good fats or bad fats. What are bad fats? Dairy, animal products, vegetable/soy/peanut/corn/safflower/canola oil...
What are healthy fats? Coconut butter and oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, other plant-based butters like cashew butter, etc. Choose these! And see the difference right away.
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Make sure you buy organic, non-gmo, unrefined coconut oil ONLY. Don't go and buy just any brand in the store without reading these labels and then wonder why coconut oil is not making you feel good?! LOL. Buy the right one! Then use it in savory as well as sweet dishes or simple add on top of your plant-based milk or coffee!
2. Cacao Butter & Cacao Powder - Oh boy! You just got lucky! Billion times tastier and cheaper than any arthritis medicine, these two are heaven sent in winter time.
Cacao butter, also called theobroma oil, is made from cacao bean pod. It is pale yellow in color and is used in making chocolates. Cacao butter is packed with rich antioxidants, vit E & vit K.
Cacao powder is made after the cacao butter has been extracted from the beans. Cacao (or cocoa) powder is very rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, sodium, zinc, phosphorous and potassium. Due to its high magnesium and copper content, it is a 'must' for those suffering from aches and pains. It is also rich in flavonoids.
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Make sure to buy only fair trade, organic, RAW cacao butter and powder for maximum antioxidants. Melt a bit of cacao butter and add to your smoothies, coffee, hot coco along with cacao powder.
3. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) - MSM is an organosulfur compound with very potent benefits. MSM is an analgesic that inhibits pain by reducing nerve impulses. MSM is derived from DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) - a drug used to treat arthritis condition. A 2006 pilot study of 50 men and women with knee osteoarthritis showed that 6,000 mg of MSM improved symptoms of pain and physical function without major side effects.
So, if you have any inflammation or arthritis or aches and pains, you may try some MSM to keep you mobile and happy this winter.
BUYING & DOSAGE TIPS: Buy MSM powder and not the capsules. The capsules are just another source of plastic that you are putting in your body....I thought we are trying to get rid of plastic?
MSM is slightly bitter. Mix in organic orange juice and drink it up. Vit C in the juice helps the sulfur in it get absorbed better. Take a pinch size amount first and see if it suits you.
If not, then you can also apply MSM cream on your joints to help with winter.
FOR OVERALL HEALTH
1. Black Sesame Seeds - All seeds and nuts are great and especially in winter as they provide the body with the healthy fats it needs to survive the harsh weather. But black sesame seeds I mention here specially because winter means holiday season, which means lot of heavy food and sluggish digestion. On top of that, people suffer from joint issues as we discussed.
So, what is one seed that helps all these issues and also provides healthy fats? Black sesame seeds!
Black sesame seeds are super rich in copper - a crucial mineral for joint health. They also have Omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids. On top of that, they are excellent digestive aid as they contain both magnesium and fiber. Just like sesame seeds, these little black ones contain lot of calcium, phosphorous and iron.
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Buy organic ones. Soak them overnight and then add them to your smoothie the next day. You can also add them to your stir-fry, soups, or lentils as you wish. But do take at least 1 tablespoon each day or even alternate days during winter.
Look below for my black sesame seed shake recipe. Yummy!
2. Herbal Teas - Incorporate spices and herbal teas in your regimen during this winter. Not only are they anti-cancer but they also promote detoxification in the body and many are great for inflammation. Look for teas that have turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, etc. Any leaf teas such as green tea or rooibos or any of your choice is all good.
ADAPTOGENIC HERBS: You can also look for teas with adaptogenic herbs - ones that help your body cope with stress and tirelessness. So, for e.g. chasteberry is great for women and ashwagandha is great for both men and women. You can also go for holy basil or tulsi, as called in India. Another great herb is eleuthero - a nervine relaxant.
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Research and see which one calls your name and then buy it. This might just be the secret that helps you get by the holidays and the guests...easier.
3. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar - Last but not least, I really recommend that you add organic apple cider vinegar to your diet, if you already haven't. Hippocrates called it, "the mother of all cures.'
ALL my savory recipes have apple cider vinegar added at the end. It is anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral....and you guessed it - it is immune boosting basically! It creates an alkaline environment in your body, so that inflammation is kept at bay and so are the allergies.
BUYING & RECIPE TIPS: Invest in organic, unrefined one. It should say on the bottle 'with the mother' implying that it has all the strands of protein, friendly bacteria and enzymes that make it so beneficial.
HOW TO TAKE ALL THESE ITEMS DAILY? SOLVED!
All-right. So this is it. Can you do all these items everyday in your diet? Absolutely!
STEPS FOR YOU:
1. Make a schedule and write on it what you would take when.
2. Take your probiotics in the morning on empty stomach with some aloe vera juice.
3. You can take cacao powder and butter, black sesame seeds in the morning with your plant-based milk.
4. Then when you cook, cook with coconut oil and bit of coconut manna. Add my ginger-garlic paste to your recipes as well as take a spoon or so extra especially if you are a cancer patient or have some other health issue. Add apple cider vinegar at the end to your meals. For tips and help, see my recipes page.
5. In the evening, take your herbal tea.
6. After lunch or dinner, sip on my turmeric milk recipe.
7. Take MSM early in the day whenever you can squeeze it in.
There it is! So easy, so doable, so affordable yet such a HUGE difference to your health this winter or whenever! Hope you enjoyed this fun, colorful article and pass it on to your loved ones as well so they too, just like you, can stay fit and healthy this holiday season.
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