Posts filed under ‘holistic nutrition’

I’ve moved!

Hi there!

If you landed here, I invite you to come on over to my new website/blog:

www.EnjoyDeliciousHealth.com

See you soon,

Simla

November 26, 2009 at 1:57 PM Leave a comment

7 Healing Herbs: What to Have in Your Fall / Winter “Medicine Cabinet” (a.k.a your pantry)

Herbs. So underrated. Their potent flavors liven up any dish graced with their fresh crispness or dry, crumbly comfort. And your immune system rejoices when garnering their support. Perfect for the Fall and Winter seasons when we face an onslaught of viruses, bacteria, and other would-be invaders.mint

Here, I’ve highlighted just a few of the amazing healing herbs you should have in your pantry plus some easy tips and tricks for using them in everyday dishes. These herbs are easy to find and easy to use. They are all antioxidant powerhouses with dozens of beneficial phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients).

And, remember:  herbs are potent. Just because they’re good for you doesn’t mean you need to or should eat a lot of them. Typical serving sizes are anywhere from 1/2 – 3 TBS of fresh herbs or 1/2 – 2 tsp of dry herbs, depending on taste. Just like with any food (“healthy” or not), moderation is key. Here, I’m referring to herbs that you can eat as part of meals, not special herbal oils or medicinal preparations, which may require you to get personalized advice from an herbal expert (for example, parsley oil can be used to induce labor, which you certainly don’t want to do if you’re otherwise healthfully pregnant).

Parsley
From the same family as carrots, celery, and fennel, parsley is a versatile herb that usually gets dismissed as a garnish. It’s one of my personal favorites and I always have a little “parsley tree” sitting in my fridge, with the stems submersed in a cup of water to keep it vibrant. Parsley contains one of the highest levels of chlorophyll of any edible plant. Chlorophyll is a breath freshener and a fantastic blood purifier. Parsley is a digestive aid, can help dry up mucous-y conditions and helps in the treatment of ear infections and earaches. It contains several times the vitamin C content of citrus and has high levels of provitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can work as a diuretic, though, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids if you are down with the flu or a cold.

Thyme
Apart from being a fantastic herb to cook with, thyme is a natural antiseptic that has antibacterial and antiparasitic properties. It also has antispasmodic tendencies; coupled as a digestive aid, it can help soothe gastrointestinal distress. It can also loosen phlegm as an expectorant, in case you’re feeling somewhat mucous-y and don’t have parsley on hand.

Dill
Delicate dill is a digestive aid and infection fighter as an antibacterial. Also known as a calming agent, along with basil.

Oregano
Similar to thyme, oregano is an expectorant and digestive aid, as well as an antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, antifungal) herb. It’s also been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you’re not pregnant or on blood-thinners or other medications, you can try a simple tea like the one I like to make if my system feels a bit rundown:  fill an empty teabag (you can get them at almost any coffee shop or grocery store) with 1 tsp of dried oregano and steep it 3-5 minutes for a refreshing, warming tea, up to three cups a day. Don’t do this more than 2-3 times a week, just to be on the safe side. I repeat: this is not conducive for a daily tea habit.

Rosemary
A helpful decongestant and antimicrobial, and powerful antioxidant used since the good ol’ times to preserve meat and keep it from spoiling, along with thyme (now, that’s a powerful antioxidant!). You can prepare Rosemary as a tea to help with digestive issues or as a decongestant – refer to the Oregano example.

Mint
Not surprisingly, the source of mint’s lovely aroma is also the source of many of its many healing properties:  the oil called menthol. Mint has been shown to kill the herpes simplex virus and is a proven antibacterial as well as decongestant, anesthetic, digestive aid, and muscle antispasmodic.  Peppermint tea is a fantastic treat any time of day, although pregnant women should only drink the tea brewed very weakly, as the antispasmodic properties could relax the lining of the uterus.

Basil
Basil, oh, basil, how I love thee. Let me count the ways:  you’re an antimicrobial (anti-bacterial/viral/fungal/parasitic), fever reducer, concentration improver, immune system regulator, adrenal (stress hormone) regulator, and just plain delicious. One of my favorite teas (as any client of mine who has rummaged in my tea drawer knows) is Holy Basil, or Tulsi, tea. A brand called Organic India makes a good one. Try it out.

So, run out and stock up on these green herbs that belong in your Fall / Winter pantry. Fresh or dry, doesn’t matter. But it’s fun to use both, as they lend themselves to different preparations and flavor profiles in foods.

How to Use Herbs

The fresh herbs are delicate, so rather than cook with them, fold them into cooked meals right before serving, or sprinkle the finely chopped herb on top before serving, such as on top of grains, soup, or stews, or make a fresh herb salad and add in other favorite ingredients. Fresh herbs will last up to a week. Store fresh parsley, rosemary, oregano, and dill like I do – with their stems in water. I set them in a tumbler on the side ledge of my fridge and they flourish there all week long, reminding me to tear off a handful every time I open the fridge door. For mint and basil, wrap them up in a dry paper towel (or just wet the ends of the towel near the stems’ ends) and store in the veggie bin away from light and direct blasts of cold air in the fridge.

The dry herbs, if stored properly away from heat and light, will last you quite a while, and are fantastic as teas, meat or poultry rubs, for flavoring stews and soups while cooking, sprinkled on top of grains with maybe some sesame seeds, and in salad dressings.

And you can always dehydrate fresh herbs to make your own dry herbs. Just lay them out on a clean, dry towel, in direct sunlight if possible, until they are completely dried up, then crumble up and store in a cleaned, reused herb bottle, preferably glass.

Recipes

Check out some of my recipes that make liberal use of herbs:

Aegean Summer Herb Salad

Radish Gazpacho

***

© 2009 Delicious Health, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE?
You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

“Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, Founder of Delicious Health, Inc., is an integrative health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach and change agent whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy Balanced Beings (TM). To learn how to increase your energy, tame your stress, and take back control of your health, register for her free monthly eZine at www.enjoydelicioushealth.com.”

October 3, 2009 at 4:03 PM 1 comment

Meditation for Health and Healing Teleclass – begins Oct. 11, 2009

Meditation for Health and Healing Teleclass from 29Gifts.org

Angel Stork, Energy Expert and 29 Gifts Meditation Teacher (and one of Simla’s personal mentors!), will help you find a sense of healthy balance and develop simple, new techniques to focus your energy for vital health. This class is appropriate for anyone dealing with an acute or chronic health challenge, as well as those who want to build on their current healthy foundation. The iStock_000006891127Medium_BALANCED_ROCKSclass is also beneficial for anyone who is healing past wounds from trauma, abuse or those dealing with the impacts of emotional or psychological imbalances.

The visualization-based style of meditation we teach is appropriate for experienced meditators as well as total beginners who have trouble even sitting still for five minutes.

THIS CLASS WILL SELL OUT SO CLAIM YOUR TICKET NOW!
(see below for special Delicious Health discount code)

You will learn how to:

  • Ground and center yourself so you can clear your heart of judgment and fear, which can help foster a sense of dis-ease.
  • Cultivate a sronger relationship with yourself as a healthy being and develop a more healthy perspective.
  • Uncover limiting believes and reframe them into a new vision of your healthy self.
  • Make space for compassion and change, tap into “lost” energy and open to divine support for healing.

Live TELECLASS DATES:
Class 1: Sunday October 11, 2009
Class 2: Sunday October 18, 2009
Class 3: Sunday October  25, 2009 – –

CLASS TIME:
All classes are a live 45-minute call at 5 pm pacific; 6 pm Mountain; 7pm Central; 8 pm Eastern

ALL CLASSES WILL BE RECORDED AND POSTED IN A PRIVATE DISCUSSION GROUP ON 29Gift’s WEBSITE. If you miss a class you can listen to the recording before our next class. The recordings are also available so you can practice the meditation on your own between classes. The private discussion group is a tool so you can post questions and observations over the course of the class and get support from Angel, myself and your fellow classmates.

Investment in your health: $45 for all three classes – only $15 per class.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Delicious Health FRIEND DISCOUNT: Register by Monday, Oct 9th and save $10. You’ll get all three classes for only $35. What a bargain. To claim your savings just click the red link on the registration form that says “Enter Discount Code” and type  in “friend”.

Call-in information (a 712-area code) will be provided to all registrants via email prior to our first class.

October 3, 2009 at 11:52 AM Leave a comment

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

Do you have an Invisible Illness? Welcome to the club!

Groucho Marx, comedian and actor, once said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.” The Invisible Illness “club” is like that for me. I was invited – against my will – to this club in the summer of 2006. And then, just like Mr. Marx, decided to withdraw my membership. I now live in near/full remission. [Search for “Simla’s Story” on this blog to find posts that go further into details about my life living with and healing from invisible illnesses.]

I’m posting the following “30 Things” as a contribution to highlight the start of National Chronic Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2009 TODAY, Sept 14, 2009. II Week 09 is hosting a 5-day F*R*E*E Virtual Conference with 20 fantastic speakers who are vibrant, well-versed in the art of living with invisible illness, and there to offer you and/or the ones you care about support and encouragement and entertaining, engaging information. Register and attend this conference by clicking here.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know
by Simla Somturk Wickless of
www.enjoydelicioushealth.com

1. The illness I live with is:
Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, immunotoxicity, undifferentiated connective tissue disorder, multiple chemical sensitivity (all in remission – 95% of the time)

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:
2007

3. But I had symptoms since:
2006, and maybe even years earlier on some of the conditions but wasn’t diagnosed properly

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:
Change my career (from management consultant to health & nutrition consultant)

5. Most people assume:
That somehow I’m stronger than they are or that my medical conditions must not have been very serious because I was able to get to the point where I now live in full remission. Both are incorrect.

6. The hardest part about mornings are:
Waking up when my body is not ready to wake up – a feeling of utter and painful exhaustion.
Or if I ate gluten the day before: feeling deeply exhausted and having inflamed, painful joints and soft tissue as a result.

7. My favorite medical TV show is:
Grey’s Anatomy, because of the drama, not the medicine.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:
My laptop.

9. The hardest part about nights are:
Used to be the all-over itching caused by my drug-induced liver inflammation and excruciating nerve pain in my legs. Nowadays, occasional nerve sensitivity in my legs, or if my adrenals are off, insomnia.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins.
Down to about 10 from 45+. WOO HOOOO!

11. Regarding alternative treatments I:
Bet my life on them and I won.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:
Invisible. I’m a very private person. This way I get to choose how and where I share information about me.

13. Regarding working and career:
You must love the work you do to be truly healthy. I LOVE my work now. It feeds my health and soul. And I wouldn’t have found it had my illnesses not found me.

14. People would be surprised to know:
That I am thankful to my conditions for the strength of self, renewed life purpose, and revised priorities they brought to me.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
I don’t have all the freedoms I used to have, if I want to live in full remission, such as eating anything I want.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
Heal it to where, as long as I manage my triggers well by avoiding or mitigating them, I live pretty much in full remission.

17. The commercials about my illness:
Drive me nuts. Prescription medication should not be advertised on TV.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:
When I couldn’t walk, it was walking.
When I couldn’t read, it was reading.
When I couldn’t think, it was thinking.
Now, living in remission, it’s the ability to eat whatever I want, as I have to be very mindful of certain foods triggering my symptoms. I’m planning on overcoming that too.

19. It was really hard to have to give up:
Cheese and coffee and wheat, as these are some of the foods that trigger my symptoms.
I’ve regained the ability to do almost everything else that matters to me.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:
Blogging! =)

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:
I now have those days back and I am grateful for every second.

22. My illness has taught me:
That doctors are fallible, that our medical system is very broken, and that it is not designed to deal effectively with chronic, systemic conditions.
That “alternative” medical approaches are my default choices.
That the body, mind, and spirit are all connected and will all heal given half a chance.
That we are healthy when our world is healthy, and vice versa.
That healing requires you to get to know your body and and its signals, to listen to your intuition, to decide to get your health back and then follow through no matter how hard it gets or how many naysayers there are.
That real, beautiful, delicious food is fantastic medicine.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:
But you look great! (When I was really suffering. Now it’s ok. =)

24. But I love it when people:
Are patient. When I shuffled vs walked, when I couldn’t be social… my family and true friends came through and showed it in their kind patience.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:
“It’s ok to feel bad, but it’s not ok to feel bad about feeling bad.” (from my husband)

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:
You are not your illness.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:
How it can be a blessing in disguise and a huge life lesson (or several hundred).

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:
When I was bed-bound and couldn’t walk for several months, my husband surprised me by carrying me out to the car he had rented (we don’t own a car) and driving me to the beach so we could roll down the windows and I could get some fresh air and sun on my face.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:
It’s very important to me that those living with an invisible illness know and see from others’ experiences that they CAN live well and even heal fully from a chronic invisible illness.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:
Warm and fuzzy, and happy that you took the time to understand a little better. Thank you.

September 14, 2009 at 12:04 AM 5 comments

Helloooo, Sugar!

Why do you butter me up, buttercup, just to let me down?

and

Ah sugar, ah honey honey
[You are my candy…]
And you got me wanting you

and

Pour some sugar on me…

All popular lyrics, all probably written by sugar addicts. It’s not hard to imagine: lovesick songwriter, writing the lyrics as she snarfs down a pint of icecream or as he drowns his sorrows with a wine spritzer.

Ok, just having some fun there but – really – you know those sugar cravings? The ones that seem to take over beyond any reason, or hang around on the periphery of your consciousness until you take those fateful steps towards your hidden stash, vending machine, or corner Starbucks? Sugar cravings love to come alive around 3-4pm, right after dinner, or (and?) when you get home from another stressful day at work. Or when you’re bored. Or sad.

It’s not your fault. We’re genetically programmed to crave sugar. Way back when, that probably translated into us raiding bee hives. These days we can bypass the stings and just make do with a chocolate chip cookie… or three.

Sugar cravings are the result of a constellation of factors and they’re very unique to you. No two people, no two bodies are alike. Your life habits, food choices and patterns, emotions, brain chemistry, blood chemistry, stressors, time of day, and nutritional deficiencies all feed into it. Pun intended.

While we tend to associate “sugar cravings” with baked goods, chocolate, and candy, I include artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and pasta, bagels, most cereals, and other refined-carb-heavy foods in there as well. Sugar can wreak havoc on your body, contributing to or directly causing stress, anxiety or depression, energy slumps, yeast infections, autoimmune symptoms, migraines, diabetes, IBS, and a weakened immune system. Sugar feeds cancer and has even been connected to alcoholism. My personal pet peeve regarding sugar is that it saps me of my fabulous natural high when I do choose to have some. Not so sweet.

The good news is that you can rid yourself of sugar cravings in as little as a week. You can learn to deconstruct your cravings, learn about your body’s signals and what they’re telling you, and harness that deep power to your advantage so that you can have uplifting, steady energy throughout the day. No more guilt trips or dreading the scale. No more jittery nerves. No more crashes and burns. No more distracting cravings.

Wouldn’t it be great to no longer be a slave to sugar but just enjoy it when you feel like it, without g-u-i-l-t? The process is fascinating, fun, extremely effective, and deceivingly simple.

If you want to get there, join me on September 17th for my live webinar, Sugar Blues! Click here for details and to sign up. I may not give this webinar again, so join me while you can! It may just change your life.

And if you don’t, don’t say I didn’t try to help you, sugar.

September 10, 2009 at 4:55 PM Leave a comment

Slowing Down

Remember those summer days that seemed to last forever when you were a kid? When you’d forget to eat or had not a care in the world because you were having such a great time doing other things? When you’re living your days with abandon and savoring each delicious detail, recreating this type of flow is easy. You’ll feel and be healthier, more positive, and more resilient against the ups and downs of your life.

After a super hectic year, I’ve been having a slow summer and invite you to craft one for yourself as well. Busy? You don’t need a lot of time. When you see a puppy, pet it. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that you are not THAT important – the world will go on without your deadline being met. Savor your favorite cup of tea by tearing your eyes away from the monitor and closing them for a few seconds as you take a sip. These are the details that make up your life.

As a recovering Type A and perfectionist, I am constantly monitoring and countering my natural tendencies to overthink, overwork, and overdo my workaholism (it’s hard when you love your work so much). I know many of you can relate to these tendencies, as super overachievers yourselves.

The past four weeks have produced some of my most successful counter-strategies to date =). Here are some of the ways I chose to get slow this summer. Do any of these inspire you to find your own busy-life-counter-strategies?

  • Checking email only 1-3 times a week.
  • Listening to crickets and petting puppies.
  • Not watching any TV. Definitely not watching the news.
  • Spending tons of quality time with my family and my love, Andy.
  • Watching over 20 hot air balloons pass by literally over my head, at dawn, in the midst of the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. (photo below courtesy of Andy Wickless)
My Mom and Me in Cappadocia

My Mom and Me in Cappadocia

  • Hiking through a pristinely silent valley, once home to several ancient civilizations, munching on a fresh-off-the-branch wild yellow plum. (See photo – courtesy of Andy – thanks, Andy!)
Wild golden plums. A couple made it into my happy tummy!

Wild golden plums. A couple made it into my happy tummy!

  • Taking a much needed break sitting on my bum in the middle of aforementioned hike. (See photo below. That’s me in the red hat. Also by Andy.)
Taking a break in the shade of a makeshift cafe in the middle of nowhere. Gotta love entrepreneurs.

Taking a break in the shade of a makeshift cafe in the middle of nowhere. Gotta love entrepreneurs.

  • Celebrating my brother’s farewell to bachelordom and welcoming an AWESOME new sister-in-law.
  • Taking long showers (much to the chagrin of my father).
  • Eating beautiful, lovingly and simply prepared food, slowly. (Right now: four lusciously ripe figs, with the skins on.)
  • Reconnecting with old friends over tea, walks, and more great food.
  • Meeting new soul-friends and acknowledging this uplifting connection. (“Wow! We just met but I feel like I’ve known you forever!”)
  • Buying another gorgeous Turkish carpet, after 5 hours of Turkish-style bargaining. (I didn’t say ALL slow pleasures were free!)
  • Sifting through family heirlooms and enjoying the honor of wearing my grandmother’s antique ring and watch to my brother’s wedding.
  • Marinating on new business ideas and the age-old question: What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • Being quiet with myself, by myself, for myself.
  • Getting a massage. After the sauna.
  • Reading trivial and monumental books alike.
  • Appreciating history as well as the blip that is our own lifetime.

I admit, it’s easy to slow down on vacation or during the warmer days of summer that seem to lull your body into a slower state. But how about when you get back to real life? As I mull over what shape I want my work to take this coming year, I need to keep reminding myself that my work is but one part, one slice, of my life (I said I was “recovering,” didn’t I?).

A lot of us seem to define ourselves by our work. We use words like “lazy” and “free time” to define the time that we don’t spend working. Isn’t that awful? What woke me up to this tendency in myself was when I found myself writing to-do lists consisting of the items “Brush teeth” and “Eat” when I was too ill to do much else but sleep 20+ hours a day. I felt guilty because I couldn’t DO anything, because I was “useless” and “not productive” and this was my subconscious trying to make it right. It was many months later when I realized I was doing a lot during this time – my body was working hard to heal years of stress and the self-inflicted abuse that workaholism brings, teaching me how to rest, and teaching me how to just be.

Each slice of your life should be defined on its own terms, not by what it isn’t. The way I describe this to my clients is to stop defining your life as “work” and “not-work”, and start identifying distinct slices / buckets / categories of activities that you enjoy doing and want to bring (back?) into your life. Make time for these. Without feeling guilty. Or if you do feel guilty, listen to where this is coming from and see how you can learn from that source. Later, as you wean off of the belief that work defines who you are, your life will flow better and you won’t need such distinct rules to ensure your life is fuller, richer, and deliciously healthier.

As for me, I know I want to learn yoga, take hikes more regularly, take more daytrips around the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, learn how to prepare more Turkish recipes as an homage to my heritage, host the dinner parties I keep promising to friends, and find that elusive new hobby that Andy has been telling me I need. There’s a joke in Turkish about the man who married his mistress and how that left a vacancy. Well, my current work used to be my hobby, my mistress. Now I’m married to my ex-mistress and I need a new mistress!

Suggestions, anyone?

***

© 2009 Delicious Health, Inc.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE?
You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

“Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, Founder of Delicious Health, Inc., is an integrative health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach and change agent whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy Balanced Beings (TM). To learn how to increase your energy, tame your stress, and take back control of your health, register for her free monthly eZine at www.enjoydelicioushealth.com.”

August 3, 2009 at 7:50 AM 3 comments

Making Good on My Mission Statement and the Path to Invisible Illness Awareness Week 2009

When I first created this blog, I stated that part of my mission was to share my own story about healing from multiple autoimmune and other health conditions. Recently, I skimmed through my own blog and realized I hadn’t delivered on that promise. I’ve also received several requests from my followers to please get on it.

This also made me wonder why I haven’t started sharing that part of my story yet. Yeah, yeah, I’ve been busy building my practice and the last 18 months have been truly hectic, blah blah blah. The real reasons?

One reason is… I don’t know where to start. Another reason is that my perfectionist tendency to want to do it just so gets in the way of starting. And given that it’s a very complicated story (as life tends to be), I am not sure how I want to organize it in bits and bytes, as I certainly can’t write it in one sitting. (I hear my coach whispering in my ear: “Just take imperfect action!” I’m working on it, Sandy, oh believe me, I’m working on it.)

And, of course, probably the most important reason is that in writing my story, I will need to relive it. Frankly, I don’t want to. I’ve moved on, but I know my story isn’t really just about me. It’s about something much bigger; something that can help many more autoimmune sufferers (I hate that word), perhaps you, live better, live fuller, and not define themselves and their lives by the restrictions, frustrations, hopelessness, and silent agonies dictated by these types of  illness. I say autoimmune, but I’ve survived several non-autoimmune illnesses that were invisible as well, so those too shall be heralded, dissected, and presented for your benefit. Imperfectly.

I recently stumbled across an initiative called the Invisible (Chronic) Illness Awareness Week that will take place from September 14-20, 2009. I immediately jumped on as a volunteer blogger to help bring much needed attention to invisible illnesses such as autoimmune conditions. I don’t believe in coincidences. The mere fact that I had already named my upcoming Fall autoimmune program launch “From Invisible to Invincible TM: How to Take Back Control of Your Health & Live Well With An Autoimmune Condition” seemed like no mere coincidence. [More info coming soon! Email me at hello(at)enjoydelicioushealth.com for more info if you can’t wait.]

So here I go! My intention is to slowly but surely begin sharing more of my story this month, as August is a more contemplative month for me – being summer and getting slow and all. (Read more here on the importance of Slowing Down.)

I look forward to hearing from you. Please join me, post here, and share your story so that we can all learn from each other, promote more awareness about those that suffer in silence, promote compassion for dis-eases that are invisible and yet very real, and give each other support in a positive, upbeat, fun way. Deal?

August 3, 2009 at 5:35 AM Leave a comment

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