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A Little Spice Makes Everything Nice

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

 

Let’s talk about health benefits of a few of my favorite spices: cardamom, cinnamon and ginger. Cardamom originated in India and is available in most grocery stores (ground) and specialty health food stores (pod and plant). It is rich in Vitamins A & C as well as potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It is well-known for having anti-carcinogenic properties as well as being good for cardiovascular health. It is also an anti-depressant and is often one of the essential oils used in aromatherapy.


 

Cardamom Tea

4 cardamom pods

4 black peppercorns

4 clove

1 cinnamon stick

4 slices fresh ginger (quartered)

*Heat all ingredients in 2.5 cups of water for 2 hours. Strain and serve with a teaspoon of honey and a splash of milk (sub almond or coconut milk for dairy free)

 

Have Nausea…Take Ginger! Ginger is the cure-all for all types of nausea including morning sickness, alcohol hangovers and motion sickness. It can also be used to aid in digestion. It originated in Southeast Asia more than 5000 years ago but spread quickly to other regions as its healing properties became more widely known. Traditional Ayurvedic (meaning life knowledge in Sanskrit) hailed ginger as a gift from God. It also has anti-microbial properties so it can be helpful when fighting a cold or other immune-suppressing illness.

 


 

Ginger Salmon

1 Filet wild caught Salmon

1 stem fresh chopped ginger

1 garlic clove chopped

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

S&P to taste

*Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly rub evoo on salmon then add garlic and ginger plus salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes until salmon flakes off easily. Serve with a side of baked asparagus or other green vegetable and/or brown rice.

 

The use of cinnamon goes back to around 2000BC when Egyptians used it as a perfuming agent in the embalming process. Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. Those stems are dried and during the drying process they roll up into sticks. The sticks can be used alone or they can then be ground up to form the powder we most commonly use in various recipes. Cinnamon contains large amounts of polyphenol antioxidant making it a huge superfood. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help the body fight infection and repair tissue damage. Cinnamon has also been linked to reduce heart disease, lower blood sugar and blood pressure as well as cholesterol. Try a teaspoon in your coffee in the morning!

 


Basil Cinnamon Peaches

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup raw sugar (Or use 3 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar)

3 strips lemon zest (1-by-2-inch strips)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 3-inch piece cinnamon stick

3 ripe but firm medium peaches, halved lengthwise and pitted

1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

*Combine water, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon stick in a large nonreactive saucepan (see Note); bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Add peach halves. Return to a brisk simmer, cover the pan and simmer, turning the peaches occasionally, until they are tender when pierced with a skewer or paring knife and the skins are loosened, 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the ripeness of the peaches). Transfer the peaches to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Return the liquid to a boil and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in basil and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes.

Slip off and discard the peach skins. Place the peaches in a storage container and strain the cooled syrup over them. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.

Time to Veg Out

Monday, March 16, 2015

Farm Fresh Veggies

 

I woke up this morning craving fresh tomatoes. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting a homegrown tomato freshly picked off the vine with a dash of salt and pepper then you know exactly why I’m craving tomatoes! It is a little piece of heaven and totally moan-worthy in my book. J That being said it’s time to start working on my garden so I can have tomatoes ready for the summer. And for those of you who don’t have the time or the desire to plant a garden those tomatoes are just a click away. One easy way to get fresh veggies is to sign up for a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program. You can easily Google a program in your area and there’s a good chance that there’s a local farm nearby that has a program or offers onsite pick up of fresh farm veggies. And did I mention farm fresh eggs?!

 

For those of you that are in the Charleston area here are a few programs you can check out.

  • -Ambrose Family Farms: This is my personal favorite and I try to do either the winter or summer share program depending on my schedule. I would recommend the medium share for a 4-person family. Plus you can always head to the Stono Market on Main Road if you want more veggies.
  • -Legare Farms
  • -Gruber Farms

 

For my Columbia, SC peeps….try these

 

There are a few other large retail companies that are now partnering with local farms to provide customers with access to fresh produce. Check out Overstock.com and search for ‘produce’ and add your zip code to see if there is a program near you. There is also a Costco-like retailer, ThriveMarket.com, which also sells fresh veggies and a wide range of other products that you can have delivered to your door. There are free shipping options with both of these retailers to make it a little more cost efficient.

Everyone should have access to fresh produce regardless of where you live. And buying fresh farm veggies is usually very inexpensive and you’re supporting local business so it’s a win for your wallet and for your local community.

Eat the Rainbow

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eat the Rainbow



 

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you always eating the same things every day? Variety of food is an important factor in eating. Studies show that increasing variety of fresh, whole foods helps to round out nutrition and ensure that you get a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Maybe you have heard that you should “eat the rainbow”, enjoying one food from each color of the rainbow every day.

 

 

Examples of foods from the rainbow:

Red – apples, berries, red peppers

Orange – sweet potatoes, carrots

Yellow – squash, lemons, pineapple

Green – cucumbers, kale, spinach, zucchini

Blue – blueberries

Purple – blackberries, eggplant

 

 

Antioxidants

 

By enjoying a rainbow of colors in your diet, you are accomplishing something very important: You are eating an antioxidant rich diet. Antioxidants are natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. They are believed to prevent disease and aging by fighting free radicals in the body.

 

What are free radicals? - They form when the body incurs any type of stress - stress from unhealthy foods, toxins in the environment like cigarette smoke, aging, changes in hormones and our breathing.

 

Focusing on antioxidants is great way to stay healthy without jumping on the bandwagon of another fad diet or counting calories until you’re blue in the face. By eating a colorful diet, you will be supplying your body with more power to fight off free radical damage, keeping it younger and healthier for longer.

 

If you’re finding it difficult to get started, try choosing one or two colors that are usually missing from the food you eat. Focus on eating foods with these colors for the next two weeks, long enough to create a new habit and notice any change.

 

©International Association of Wellness Professionals


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