Posts filed under ‘tricks & tips’

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.”

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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

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

5MiniMeals.com – Healthy, Convenient Menu Planning Option for Busy Bodies ™.

Delicious Health has partnered up with 5MiniMeals.com to offer easy, healthy, online menu planning service for busy professionals.

Busy? Tired of having to plan a menu and create a shopping list for your healthy diet? Well, you can have it done for you… every day…for 5 meals a day… for only $14.99 a month. (Can you say “Steal”?!?)

When you sign up with 5MiniMeals.com, you get:

  1. Weekly Menus, 5 meals per day
    Click here for a sample 5MiniMeals Plan
  2. Weekly Shopping Lists
    Click here for a sample weekly shopping list
  3. Online Education Events
    Where yours truly is a regular expert speaker. (You get to join in on these webinars for F*REE as a 5MiniMeals subscriber!)

 

* Delicious Health Special Offer*

Get 50% off your 5MiniMeals First Month’s Membership.
($7.49 for 1 month instead of $14.99)
Use COUPON CODE DH5Mini when you sign up here.

 Contact Sarah at 5MiniMeals.com with any questions here.

NOTE: 5MiniMeals focuses on lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats and fish.  If you’re a vegetarian, have food allergies, or are a really ‘picky’ eater – this might not be the right service for you.  But if you’re into eating a balanced diet with smaller portions and want someone to do the planning for you – then we look forward to hearing how the plan works for you.

June 30, 2009 at 10:30 AM Leave a comment

7-Day Cleanse July 24-30! Real food, real delicious, real deal.

Improve the way you look and feel with Cook! SF and Delicious Health!

We’ve teamed up to provide you with a fad-free, healthy, gentle yet effective, deeeee-licious 7-Day done-for-you cleanse menu… delivered to your door! [For San Francisco Bay Area clients only… stay tuned for future locations.]

Based on the best-selling book, Ultra Metabolism by Dr. Mark Hyman, the Cook! SF One Week Cleanse (July 24-30) provides you with delicious, and YES!, satisfying meals designed to help you lose weight, increase your energy, and reduce internal inflammation.

Cook! SF delivers fresh, mainly organic meal kits to your doorstep at work or at home. Delicious, all-local ingredients are fully prepped and ready-to-cook. With their easy instructions, you’ll “chef up” a gourmet meal in 20 minutes! And for the very busy, Cook! SF also offers a large selection of fresh meals that just need gentle reheating.

Here are some of the great foods Cook! SF provides for you during your cleanse:

  • Halibut with Lemon Caper Dressing with sauteed baby pea shoots
  • Organic Chicken with Roasted Lemon and sauteed organic kale
  • Spring Vegetable Stir Fry with organic shitake mushrooms, snow peas, asparagus, carrots, chives, parsley, garlic, scallions and lemon and a side of organic brown rice penne

 

* Special Offer from Delicious Health*

Sign up for the July 24th Cleanse by July 11th and receive $20 off.  Use Coupon Code:  cDH 0709

Sign up by clicking here today.

Last day to sign up for the Cook! SF Cleanse is July 18th.
Currently available for San Francisco Bay Area clients only.

Contact Cook! SF at 415.513.5328 with questions or visit http://www.cooksf.com/p-218-cook-sf-cleanse.aspx

June 29, 2009 at 7:00 AM Leave a comment

The Proof is in the Pudding! EAT SLOW, CHEW WELL.

A former client of mine sent me this FANTASTIC chart that plots time spent eating per day vs. the national obesity rate in several countries. It’s so very telling. Notice where the U.S. falls in this chart. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Click here for the Chart (Economix, NY Times Blog)

We tend to wolf our food down, barely chewing or realizing what we’re really eating, and then wonder why we crave sweets, why we crash at 3-4pm, why we’re sick, and why we’re fat.

I go over the principles and practices of chewing and mindful eating with my clients. You’d be amazed at what you find you like and are satiated by if you eat this way. Or how natural fat-fighting mechanisms are activated by the simple act of chewing. Or how all of a sudden you don’t have heartburn anymore.

I, myself, am probably the slowest eater you’ll ever find (perhaps apart from my dear friend Erick). I’ve always been that way, but you can learn how to slow down, too.

So… MASTICATE! MASTICATE! And slow down. Life is better slow.

May 19, 2009 at 7:08 PM Leave a comment

KNOW YOUR BODY. Tracking Your Autoimmune Symptoms is a MUST for Healing.

I had pepperoni pizza last night and it was GOOD! Two years ago, that was a total no-no, as my body was a mess and not ready to handle the onslaught of the pepperoni or the pizza dough or the cheese (all of which I react to where my symptoms flare up).

Today, however, I can have some once in a while and be pretty much ok because:

  1. I know EXACTLY how it affects me.
  2. I know EXACTLY how much I can have and how often, to stay balanced and not let my symptoms come back full force.
  3. I know EXACTLY how to support my body afterwards to reverse the effects pretty quickly, within a day or so, so I can get on with it.

And that’s what I want you to be able to do.

If you live with an autoimmune condition, food allergies are a fact of life. If this is news to you, please read this fully!

The “chicken and egg” conundrum comes in because:

(a) Autoimmune means your body has started treating some foods as allergies / intolerances / sensitivities (these are different things) even if you were never allergic to those foods to begin with, usually because, now, your digestive system (which is intimately connected to your immune system) is compromised at a deeper level, and;

(b) When you eat these foods you make the Autoimmune condition worse, which may cause you to become allergic / reactive to even more foods.

And so, which comes first? The Autoimmune condition or the food allergies?

When it comes to Autoimmune, we need to stop thinking in a linear fashion, in straight lines, as in “A happens, then B happens.” It’s more of a circle, see. Think of all the letters in the alphabet strung together like on a necklace clasped around your neck. A, C, P, T are happening at the same time and they might all lead to B and even back to C and P again.

EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED in your body. Autoimmune doesn’t just pop up overnight although it may seem like it (that’s how it showed up for me). If your head hurts and your feet hurt, these are not two disconnected, random symptoms.

And what complicates things even further is that no two people tend to react the same way or have the same symptoms.

For example, when I eat pepperoni pizza, I wake up with a puffy face and puffy hands, my ribcage gets sore around the lower edges and it hurts to breathe, I get a bit short of breath, and usually I start wheezing too. (And, yes, I have no shame or qualms about sharing this…) my stool gets whacked out – but even how that shows up is changing nowadays so I need to pay attention. (FUN! =) But for you, your reaction-causing foods and your symptoms are likely to be different.

The trick is to KNOW YOUR BODY.

YOU know your body best. Not your doctor, not me, not your mom. YOU.

For months, I tracked all my symptoms. I had almost 10 whole pages, typed out, of symptoms. At one point, it was so bewildering because my symptoms would change weekly, sometimes daily. Some would appear only once, such as my legs swelling up from the knees on down, and some were absolute constants, such as the pain in my feet, or tingling and numbness in my hands, arms, legs, and feet. These days, I don’t need to write it all down because now tracking these connections comes naturally; it’s become second nature because I tracked them diligently earlier.

In time, you will start noticing trends and you’ll get to know the signals your body is sending you. You’ll see which choices seem to affect which symptoms show up, whether it’s how much or how well you sleep, exercising too much or too little, inability to express anger, nervous or happy stress, some of your food (either what you’re having OR what you’re not having!). It really can be anything, as this is just life. It’s a circle. Everything is connected.

The point is, you can get your symptoms under control but it’s up to YOU.

If you ever need help figuring it out, you know who to call. =)

May 2, 2009 at 11:12 AM Leave a comment

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