Like mother, like daughter, when it comes to health
“Overall, I’m liking the cleanse a lot more than I thought I would, and I feel really great,” said the email message from my daughter – my Starbucks-drinking, Chipotle-eating, meal-skipping daughter. This is the same girl who turned up her nose as a kid when I dished out green vegetables.
When they were growing up, my kids always thought I was a little weird, trying new foods, practicing yoga, not like other moms. “What’s she doing now?” they must have been thinking. Now my daughters are asking me to send them herbs at college and gently offering tea and chinese herbs to their sick roommates. And this cleanse thing has apparently caught on…
It started when she put in a request for “that cleanse stuff” over the Christmas holiday. I thought she was humoring me, since her sister and I were making plans to cook yummy Winter Cleanse recipes over break. But this was serious business, I soon learned.
I humored her back by sending a list of cleanse-friendly foods, herbs and recommendations like ‘get a massage’ and ‘let yourself rest’. I figured there way no way was she gonna take this seriously, so I didn’t bother to lecture about sticking to it, the importance of discipline and how to forgive herself for sneaking chocolate.
To my surprise, she emailed me a 300-word description of her cleanse experience that sounded like the perfect testimonial for everything she’s ever heard me say about health.
Now, she’s one-upped me by downloading an app to track daily percentages of protein, carb and fat consumption. She’s using words like bean burger and ‘getting creative about cooking’. Seriously. Ask anyone. This girl hates to cook.
It just goes to show that your kids, no matter how much they object to your healthy choices and green foods, really do listen and pick up a few pointers along the way.
And we learn from them, too. Time to download that app.
Spring cleansing changes the way you look at breakfast!
This simple Springtime dish makes enough for 2 meals, in 20 minutes. And there’s still enough time to get ready for your busy day.
Start with 1/2 chopped onion, 2″ slice of tempeh, crumbled, and 8-10 shredded brussel sprouts. Saute in 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil or ghee for 5-6 minutes, then add 1 small, thinly sliced beet, 3-4 large chopped chard leaves and stems and 1/2 cup black beans. Pour in 1-2 Tbsp. water and place lid on for 4-5 minutes to steam. Season and enjoy!
Spring greens, especially the bitter-tasting ones, aid in the digestion of your food by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes. AND, they provide oodles of fiber, minerals and vitamins. Beets are a super food for the Liver while providing the sweet flavor we often crave when we’re weaning off of processed sugars.
Lunch on a cleanse is tasty and appealing
Lunch during a Spring Liver Cleanse can be as easy and filling as this quick blend of asparagus, onion, portabella mushroom and carrots over long grain and wild rice. There’s no need to starve yourself or drink slimy beverages that make you gag.
We’re all short on time to take care of ourselves, and the first place we seem to skimp is in the kitchen. We rush through cooking, or substitute processed and fast food for real, fresh ingredients. Healthy cooking is worth a few extra minutes, especially when the result is a happier, lighter you.
This quick, healthy cleanse meal took barely 30 minutes to prepare, start to finish. I served it for dinner with oven-broiled red snapper, then brought the leftover to work for a yummy light lunch. [Yep, that’s two meals in 30 minutes!] And it didn’t leave me with that familiar afternoon sleepy feeling like a heavier lunch can.
Come back later this week for more colorful and tempting photos of my cleanse dishes. Something tells me it’s time for BEETS! Stay tuned…
Get out of your rut by adding some healthy Spring cleansing practices
In Chinese medicine, we understand that a healthy Liver means more than a nicely ‘detoxed’ body. It also holds the key to the free and healthy expression of emotions, like righteous anger, sadness, fear, and even the need to be creative.
When we are robbed of the ability to express ourselves and our needs freely and appropriately, we get stuck. We stop growing, we lose the courage or resolve to change and evolve. Our sense of direction and drive to excel at what we do just peters out.
If you feel stuck, directionless, or without focus or inspiration, maybe your Liver could use a cleanse. What better time than after a dark, cold Winter to wake up your body with lighter, greener foods?
For millennia, cultures around the world have formed detoxing or cleansing rituals around certain seasons or spiritual practices. Consider the use of sweat lodges in Native American cultures, European healing spas, Ayurvedic Panchakarma, even the Catholic Lenten season of fasting, prayer and alms-giving.
Get inspired with a healthy Spring Cleanse. Love your Liver, which the Chinese say is most active in Spring, and your whole body will thank you. Watch my blog and Facebook page for pictures of the delicious and filling foods I’ll be eating this Spring. For personal guidance on how to conduct an effective, healthy cleanse this Spring, schedule a visit with me today at 402-933-6444.
Look to Nature for natural healing from seasonal misery.
Does the sight of a Spring flower give you mixed feelings? You find the color refreshing after a long, gray Nebraska winter, but your head feels attacked by the onslaught of sneezy, drippy, itchy misery that Spring pollens bring?
Would you be interested to know that Mother Nature herself has given us really simple, effective remedies for this seasonal misery? On the one hand, she delivers a nightmare of nasal nastiness, and then she provides a gift that calms, soothes and relieves it all. In fact, she’s got a whole bag full of tricks to relieve your Springtime blues.
Some of my favorites:
*Nettle leaf tea – stinging nettle leaf, when it’s collected at the right time, dried and infused in hot water, provides gentle relief for mild allergy-related symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sniffly nose, headache pressure and other minor irritations. It also just happens to be a superior herb for the kidneys, primarily because it’s chock full of minerals and vitamins that nourish our tired adrenals. And that means your immune system will love it, too! This simple ‘weed’ has tremendously powerful rejuvenating properties.
*Eyebright tea or tincture – guess what part of the head this one’s perfect for? When you find your eyes tearing up and watering, reach for eyebright. Got itchy ears or tired eyes? Eyebright tea. Here’s another tip: for red eyes that itch like crazy, make yourself a cup of eyebright tea, soak a wet cloth in the tea and apply the cloth directly to the eye. Usually one application is enough to relieve the irritation. This works with an ordinary green tea bag, too!
*Pe Min Kan Wan – do your allergies have a tendency to become sinus infections? This Chinese herbal ‘teapill’ works wonders. At the first hint of sinus pressure, congestion or pain, or when mucus and phlegm make it hard to lay down and sleep, Pe Min Kan does its magic by preventing infection and clearing up your head without drying you out like anti-histamines can.
*Local Honey – granted, a once-daily teaspoon of local honey isn’t likely to clear up this season’s symptoms, but if you stick to it, by this time next Fall or Spring, you could be tip-toeing through the tulips with a clear nose. Local honey is incredibly good at ‘innoculating’ your immune system in small doses over a long time, giving it a fighting chance with local plants. And it’s anti-microbial, making it a soothing, healthy treat in your morning tea or straight up!
How about scheduling a Quick Stop, 15-minute visit this Spring? For less than most co-payments, visit me for a simple solution to your seasonal challenges! Call 402.933.6444 to set up your Quick Stop appointment soon. Only $20 plus herbs.
Saute 1/2 chopped onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add 4-5 large chopped mushrooms after about 3 minutes. Stir and saute together until onion is translucent. Transfer to serving dish. Scramble 2 large eggs mixed with 1/4 cup almond milk and cook until soft and barely done (Eggs will firm up perfectly in the dish). Transfer to same serving dish. Heat 1/4 cup black beans with 1/2 tsp. olive oil in skillet until warmed. Place over eggs and vegetables in dish and top with chopped tomato, salt, pepper and herby spices of your choice. Eat!
Sunday breakfast never tasted so good!
White bean soup with gluten-free cornbread. Snow day deliciousness.
When I think of snow, I think soup. So, of course I spent our Nebraska snow day in the kitchen cooking up a bowl of tummy-warming homemade soup.
Here’s how to start a pot of white bean soup cooking for your family:
Soak a 1 lb bag of white beans, great northern or navy beans in water overnight. In the morning, drain and set aside.
Chop one onion, 6-8 stalks of celery, 5 large carrots, 4 cloves of garlic and 2 turnips. Place in soup pot and saute in 2 Tbsp ghee, butter or oil until onion is translucent.
Add drained beans, 6-8 cups water, 1 heaping Tbsp vegetable bullion, 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 tsp thyme leaves and 1 lb neck bones, smoked ham or turkey bone or ham hock.
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. Take the bones out, remove all the meat you can and throw bones away (or make your doggie really happy and share). Return meat to soup, adding salt or seasonings to taste. Cook 5 more minutes and serve with gluten-free cornbread (I used Bob’s Red Mill – very tasty and easy mix). YUM!
I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year. I had to Google ‘Year of the Water Snake’ to figure out what to celebrate tomorrow, February 10th, the first day of the Chinese New Year.
One website told me not to sweep the floor or clean on Sunday because I might sweep away my good luck for the year. I’m not to use knives or scissors or I may ‘cut away’ my good luck. And red is the color to wear, particularly something brand new.
Easy enough any day of the week.
You know what I like about these cultural holidays? They remind me that people everywhere have their own special ways of honoring what’s good about living. And in a world where there’s so much bad news, I like to stay plugged in to joyful and optimistic thinking wherever I can get it.
The Chinese say that good health starts with good thoughts, or at least that’s how I interpret 5-Element theory. It’s certainly been true in my life. I’ve always been optimistic, but I learned a valuable lesson during cancer recovery. My intentions become my reality.
So this Chinese New Year, I intend to show appreciation for kindness, have more fun, see the humor in life, and expect abundance. Doesn’t that sound more interesting than “lose 10 pounds” or “get in shape”?
Roasted veggies make a yummy Winter cleanse dish
As promised, I’m sharing New Year cleansing and detox foods I’ve prepared. So, here’s a photo of a tasty, steamy pan of roasted oven vegetables, fresh out of the oven…cauliflower, beets, sweet potatoes, red onion, bell pepper.
Combine 8 cups of any vegetable (especially root veggies like turnips, beets, carrots, etc), greens, onion, garlic or whatever suits your taste with 1/4 cup of olive oil (olive or sesame oils are cleanse-friendly). Generously season with salt and pepper and an herby blend you like, and oven-roast at 400 degrees for 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. Serve with salmon or a favorite fish, buffalo steak, or a wild game dish.
These were party perfect for a friend’s 50th birthday bash, without the party food guilt. And a perfect way to start the New Year, after all the festive seasonal foods and frolicking.
Who says cleansing has to be tasteless and boring? There’s nothing like the smell of roasting veggies on a cold winter’s day. It warms the home, and the body, before it even hits your mouth.
And the best part is, you don’t have to starve to cleanse. Cleansing is about tonifying and strengthening your deepest tissues, promoting rejuvenation and vitality. You can eat as much as you like and receive all these cleansing benefits without fear of adding pounds.
What other foods can you say that about?
Every Autumn, I get a little closer to nature by eating more of the foods that are abundant in the Fall, which happen to be nutrient-dense and easy to stretch over several meals. Take butternut squash for instance. Since I rarely use a whole squash for a single recipe, sometimes, a 3-pound squash will expand to several meals, with a portion going into a breakfast egg dish, a lunch side dish, a roasted vegetable mix and served with wild rice and turkey for dinner. Give me a crockpot and a good knife and in under 20 minutes, I’ll have a delicious, budget-stretching stew assembled in the morning. A little of everything from the week’s groceries goes into a dish like this. Just thinking about how delicious a home-cooked stew will taste makes my mouth water on the drive home later that day.
The money I save by eating with the season includes the dollars I won’t spend seeing a doctor for a cold-weather sinus infection, the sick days I won’t have to take from work, and the restaurant bill I won’t have because there’s nothing fresh at home to eat. That’s the beauty of Fall menus. The foods stay fresh for weeks, without the perishable quality of tender spring greens or summer berries. Try your farmer’s market for colorful squash, root vegetables and game meats this time of year.
As seasons go, Fall is my favorite, and not just because I get to gorge myself on acorn squash, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, daikon radish, apples, pears and wild game (duck, turkey, deer, quail). These colorful, vitamin-rich foods contain healing and fortifying vitamins and minerals that keep my body healthy, warm and strong as cold weather approaches. After a spicy bowl of buffalo stew or squash soup, I feel satisfied in a way that seems especially suited to a cool, blustery day.
Need help getting creative in the kitchen? Here’s a trick I’ve learned to make use of chunks of leftover vegetables and other foods: google your ingredients and see what recipes pop up. A favorite website of mine, with the tag line “every recipe in the world’, is yummly.com. It lets you search for recipes with almost any food and preference imaginable – gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, low-calorie, and just about any flavor combination you can think up. You’ve got a masterpiece waiting to prepare in the kitchen!
Still not confident you can cook your way through Fall? Schedule a visit with me to talk about healing recipes and how to include herbs that make your menu more interesting and healthy for you and your family. Call 402-933-6444.