Turmeric (Curcuma Longais) also known as the ‘Golden Spice of Life’, is a tropical herb belonging to the ginger family Zingiberaceae, which has been domestically cultivated in India since ancient times. Apart from its virtues in the kitchen, this gorgeous spice is a major part of Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. It is also known for its use in cosmetics, dyeing and coloring. Turmeric is used in Indian ceremonies as it is considered highly auspicious. It is used in pujas (worship) in almost all Indian cultures and is used as a part of the marriage ritual called the Haldi rasam. Here are just some of its uses and benefits –
[private]Turmeric is said to prevent cancer and childhood leukemia thanks to the ‘curcumin’ it contains. It helps in detoxifying the liver. Turmeric aids in fat metabolism so helps manage your weight along with improving digestion, reducing gas and bloating. Turmeric eases menstrual cramps. Turmeric has anti-bacterial properties along with anti- inflammatory and anti-septic properties. A natural Dettol! Turmeric is a great healing agent. Dab it on cuts and other wounds or mix it with water and gargle for a sore throat. An immune booster due to its strong anti-oxidant activity which fights off free radical (the bad guys) attacks in the system. Its strong anti-inflammatory property’s also act against the development of rheumatoid arthritis, and delays it. Reduces joint pains. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Turmeric also moderates your insulin levels. Rub it on meat and poultry to reduce the levels of heterocyclic amines (HCA’s) by up to 40 percent. HCA’s form on chicken and meat when cooked over high heat like grilling and barbque-ing. Consumption of HCA’s is linked to higher rates of cancer. It makes your skin glow and reduces pigmentation. Turmeric will reduce symptoms of eczema, asthma, sinus, hay fever, migraines and other inflammatory conditions. It’s great to deal with serious digestive issues like IBS and Chrones Disease.
I bet you feel like some turmeric NOW.
Add it to curry paste, smoothies, stir-fries, baked veggies, and hummus, add to the water when cooking brown rice or any other grain.
Literally meaning ‘Food of the Gods’, this amazing bean was once used as currency in Mexico, before money. It has around 621 anti-oxidants, whereas blueberries have around 22. Yep this little bean is loaded with agents that fight oxidative stress – what makes up sick and age. It’s also one of the highest sources of magnesium so really good for aching, tight and sore muscles, heart health, anxiety or a twitching eye. And you need magnesium to get calcium into your bones and teeth. It’s also packed with fibre so it’s lovely to help elimination thereby aiding bowel health, curb sugar cravings and decrease an insatiable appetite.
How about adding a teaspoon to your coffee to make a very healthy mocha, or add it to your smoothies, truffles, Bliss Balls, ‘Cacao Crackles’, or Mousse. (Recipes on my facebook page, by Googling me or in my recipe books.
3. Good Sugar
Raw Coconut Palm Sugar – hooray! It’s an unrefined, vegan and gluten free whole sugar, and very yummy. Use it as you would (have used to before you knew better) refined sugar – 1:1 ratio. It’s not as sickly sweet as the white stuff so you may need a little more. It’s easy to find and use, and eat. It’s a bit more expensive than white sugar but that’s because white sugar is subsidised by the government. The real cost of white sugar is much higher to our health, planet, agriculture, economy and wallets.
Also look for raw agave, coconut nectar, Panela (rapadura), maple, rice or spelt syrup or raw honey.
These curious plants have been prized, cultivated and used for centuries by many cultures. Organic minerals (from plant life) are the most important to us. Some of the richest and most complete forms of minerals are seaweeds such as kombu and wakame. Seawater and the fluid in the womb is very similar, consequently, much of our requirements for proper metabolism are hidden in these little treasures. They contain 10 to 20 times the mineral content of land plants.
Many of us in the west shy away from these strange looking plants, probably because we don’t know what to do with them or realise just how vital they are for longevity, (and perhaps because we think they may taste like the seaweed we see on the beach.) Each of the varieties will help remove radioactive waste, toxic metals and excess fat in the body. They are one of the few good natural sources of fluorine for teeth and bone health. At the time of writing there is much concern about products imported from Japan since the Fukoshima disaster. Look for sea veggies from either New Zealand, Australia or Alaska. (Excerpt from my first book ‘Elixir’, 2nd edition.)
If you aren’t already including seaweeds on a regular basis – what are you waiting for? Look for agar, arame, bladderwrack, dulse, hijiki, kombu, korengo fronds, nori and wakame. Start with arame as it has a very mild taste. Arame is used to treat thyroid imbalances, due to its exceptional content of iodine. It promotes hair growth and prevents its loss; is a very high source of calcium and iron, therefore helpful for teeth, bones and anaemia. It promotes a beautiful, glowing, wrinkle free skin. It has100-500 times the amount of iodine than shellfish (depending on where it is harvested) and contains more than 10 times the amount of calcium than cow’s milk. Its protein is easy to digest.
Arame is great in a pickle. I add 1 tbsp to the pot whenever I’m cooking quinoa or brown rice, steamed veggies, soups, and stews – anything with water. Or put in the colander and drain hot noodles over the top of it – this will easily hydrate it. The taste is mild and I know I’ve got a bit hit of minerals, omega 3 and other nutrients in there with just a few strands.
Beautiful Beetroot’s medicinal qualities – it purifies the blood, wonderful for digestion – promotes regularity, alkalines the blood, cleanses the liver, a good treatment for kidney stones, excellent therapy for chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, you can use the leaves for wound dressings (Hippocrates told me that), high in iron, folate, vitamin A + C and calcium, a great source of antioxidant, improves memory, stabilizes blood pressure, cardio- protective (heart health), increases stamina and endurance, skin problems, insomnia and enhances metabolism. Pretty good reasons to eat fresh beetroot or juice. Canned? No!
Try making Beetroot Chips, Relish, Borscht (soup), Kvass (fermented beets), Beetroot Hummus, and Baked Beets, steam it or add freshly grated beets to a salad. Of course juice it or add to your Green Smoothies.
The name of this grain is pronounced as keen-wa, but in South America it’s keen-oa. Prized by the Incas, who called it the ‘mother grain’ or ‘super grain’, it has only become available to us in the past twenty years, but the past few years have seen it explode in popularity. No surprise really as it’s a nice gluten free alternative to rice and pasta. Plus it’s a seed and not a grain, so it’s much easier on our digestive tracts. Fortunately it is now widely available and becoming more so. Try to buy Australian quinoa as the type we are importing from Peru has caused the price to increase so much in its homeland that the locals can’t afford their staple food anymore.
Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain or seed, has more calcium than milk and contains a good deal of iron, B vitamins, fibre and phosphorus. This grain is also gluten-free and high in essential fatty acids.
Cook quinoa as you would brown rice, using the absorption method, or cook it with equal quantities of, millet or brown rice, or less amaranth and brown rice. It can be bitter, so be sure to wash it well. You can buy red, black or white quinoa, flakes, noodles, flour and milk.
Chia is edible seeds that come from the desert plant ‘Salvia hispanica’, which is grown in Mexico and dates back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. ‘Chia’ literally means ‘strength’ and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds to boost energy. Chia is the richest plant-based source of omega 3s, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. In fact, chia is comparable in protein to soy. Chia seeds slow the conversion of carbs’ to sugar, making them great for weight loss and increased energy.
Chia seeds will keep for 2 – 4 years without refrigeration, and more than 4 years if refrigerated. They like a cool, dry location so in humid climates it’s best to keep them in the fridge. Chia won’t go rancid as quickly as flaxseeds do. Even if you grind them into a ‘meal’, they still keep their long shelf life of about 1 – 2 years, unlike flax meal, which goes rancid in less than 90 days. Bugs don’t really like these plant oils so usually there’s no need to spray them with toxic chemicals so they are naturally organic.
White or Black Chia Seeds? The white ones have slightly more omega 3 oils and the dark ones have slightly more protein. The black seeds have more antioxidants thereby protecting the fatty acids. Buy them mixed!
Chia seeds are one of the seeds that your body can break down without grinding them. Once you add water to them they will go gooey, but this mucilaginous consistency is one if its great virtues. If you don’t like this texture, then have them on their own. Just be sure to drink plenty of water afterwards, as they absorb about nine times their weight in water. If you have diverticulitis or other bowel problems, start with 10 g (2 tsp) a day until your bowel is used to this much fibre. If you like, you can slowly increase the amount to 30g. They are available as bran, ground seeds and oil.
You don’t need to take both fish oil and chia seeds. Chia seeds contain alpha-linoleic acid which converts to EPA and DHA in the body. Fish have already done this conversion, so when you eat fish you get the EPA and DHA, whereas with Chia the conversion takes pace in our gut.
Flaxseeds – Also known as linseeds, flaxseeds have become increasingly popular over the past twenty years, and with good reason. They contain ALA oils that turn into omega 3s in your gut. They are the richest source of omega 3 fatty acids and they also contain a good deal of magnesium, potassium, fibre, B vitamins, protein and zinc. Flaxseeds strengthen immunity, keep the arteries and heart clean, reduce the pain and swelling so often associated with arthritis, and lower blood cholesterol. They are very useful in weight loss, for cell renewal, depression (including post-natal), migraine, hives and other allergies, enlarged prostate, liver function, phlegm reduction, stomach ulcers, period pain, hormone balance, irritable bowel syndrome, PMT, ADHD and HIV/AIDS.
The dosage is one to three tablespoons of oil a day, which you can use instead of olive oil on your food—but please don’t heat it. Or grind up the seeds yourself. Add them to your breakfast, smoothes, dessert, Bliss Balls and yoghurt.
Hemp has the perfect balance of Omegas 3,6 & 9 – 2:1:1, as this is the ratio in which they are found naturally in human cells.
Many EFA (essential fatty acid) supplements are blended to reach this golden ratio, but hemp oil naturally contains the omegas in these proportions. And as they are all from this one perfect source, the body can metabolize the omegas in hemp more readily, so is easily able to reap the benefits.
Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis – but ‘Industrial Hemp’ contains very little if any (0.03 or les) THC (the stuff that gets one ’high’) while marijuana contains around 30%.
Grown since ancient times and documented as far back as Ancient China, Hemp contains its own built in insecticide called ‘terpene’, which is responsible for its pungent smell. And the leaves once juiced have been hailed as a ‘cure for cancer’. But as there is no legal support, this can’t be proven – yet. Hemp is high in carotenoids, which we know decreases the risk of eye disease and some cancers among other things. Pests don’t like hemp, maybe due to the ‘terpene’, so there’s no need for toxic sprays.
Hemp has a unique, easy to digest and absorb protein called ‘Edestin’. Like soybeans it is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 22 amino acids – AND it contains antioxidants. It naturally contains 50% protein and after processing may be increased to 97%. Hemp contains no carbohydrates and is more stable than other hemp products. It’s a great alternative to the less digestible soy and whey protein powders.
Some more health benefits of hemp –
– Weight loss by increasing metabolic rate
– Increased and sustained energy, and recovery after chronic fatigue
– Balancing blood pressure
– Helps reduce behavioural issues in children and adults
– Improved circulation
– Reduction of menopausal symptoms and PMT
– Reduces arterial plaques
– Makes for a soft and velvety skin and helps with acne, psoriasis and eczema
– Reduces inflammation thanks to the Omega oils
– Improves digestion
– Reduces arthritis and osteoarthritis
– Reduces hypertension
– Boosts immunity
– Reduces sugar and junk food cravings
– Improves brain function, probably due to the protein and EFA content
– Control of blood sugar due to the high protein content (33% when hulled)
– Contains good amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre
– Helps relieve the symptoms of AIDS
– Symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s reduced thanks to Glutamic acid – a neuro-transmitter
– Liver and kidney disease reduced due to albumin, a protein usually manufactured by the liver
This luscious green leafy vegetable has more antioxidants than any other veggie! Enough of a reason to eat it I reckon. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress in our bodies, which enable it to function more efficiently. Kale is wonderful for cleaning out an overworked and grumpy liver, contains heaps of calcium, iron, fibre plus magnesium and folate.
Like other dark green leafy’s, kale is full of iron and vitamin C, which encourages the production of collagen, prevents skin damage, and fends off wrinkles.
It’s so easy to grow and keeps giving all year. There are a few different types – Tuscan/Cavalo Nero (black cabbage), Russian, Rainbow, Scottish and Redbor. It is part of the brassica family along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage.
In the warmer months – Lightly cook it in coconut (or macadamia or olive oil) with garlic, ginger and turmeric for an extra boost of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, or pop a leaf into your smoothie, juice or hummus, bake in a low oven for yummy chips – after dressing in an oil of your choice and seasoning, or chop finely and add to a frittata or veggie patties with cooked quinoa. Or simply toss it in heated coconut oil and sauté with grated garlic, ginger and turmeric until it has just wilted. Serve with cooked quinoa and hemp seeds and drizzle with Tahini Dressing. Yum yum!
Ginger is one our best anti-inflammatory foods. It has been widely used for centuries throughout the world for treating nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, flatulence, an upset stomach, colic and motion sickness. It’s also used to treat the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections like bronchitis, sinus and coughs, and also to help ease menstrual cramps, arthritis and muscle pain.
Ginger helps the body to absorb and assimilate nutrients from food better.
You can add the essential oil of ginger to your bath, or grate it into some boiling water with raw honey. Or you could make a compress by adding lots of grated ginger to a pot of water and then soaking a small cloth in this water. Wring out and apply topically to the affected, inflamed area. Repeat a few times.
This humble fruit/nut, provides a nutritious source of meat, water, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. So valued as a source of food and medicine, the Coconut Palm tree has been referred to as ‘The Tree of Life.’ These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing.
The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is reputed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
We now know that the medium chain fatty acids (mfca – the fat content) that makes up the coconut, helps to lower the risk of both atherosclerosis and heart disease. It is primarily due to the MCFA in coconut oil that makes it so special and so beneficial – the very reason we were avoiding it. (Excerpt from ‘Elixir’.)
Coconut is available whole young and fresh, as water, milk, cream, oil, flour, flaked, desiccated or shredded or now as yoghurt or ice cream.
So there you have it – the 10 foods to leave behind in 2013 and the Top 10 to take with you into 2014 and beyond.
The happiest of New Year’s to everyone. I look forward to our continued sharing, teaching and learning.
In Love and Wellbeing,