Herb super-foods: Balance your internal systems

You may not realize this but your body is supposed to be pH balanced. It’s one of the key indicators of good health. If our pH is out of balance you will suffer from illness. The ideal pH for humans is 7.35. If you go lower your system will be acidic and if you go higher your system will be more alkaline. Being too acidic can cause a lot of damage to your system. You won’t be able to access vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, your intestines will be out of whack, and your hair and skin will not look healthy. You may even have sleep issues, headaches, infections and be more susceptible to other illnesses. Your stamina and moods will be affected. Fortunately it’s possible to balance your internal system with herbs and so called super foods. But first you must give up processed foods, artificial sweeteners, smoking, and other bad habits that can cause your system to be acidic. Once you do this, you can then also add in other supplementation with herbs to further balance your system. You want to replace acidic forming foods with alkaline forming foods such as: potassium rich foods, calcium rich foods, magnesium, naturally found sodium (not table salt), fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, seasonings and herbs. Simply start adding fresh herbs to all your meals. For instance, you can make a nice meal with whole wheat pasta tossed with fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, and a little olive oil. Sprinkle mint on some fresh fruit or lemon sorbet. Use cilantro instead of salt at the table on whatever you want it on. Consider using ingredients you’ve not thought of before like seaweed, kelp and dandelion. Also, if you get tired of drinking water, which you should be drinking daily, try having a nice cup of hot herbal tea. Green tea is the most alkalizing of all, and it will also curb your hunger between meals. Use honey or natural Stevia instead of sugar to sweeten for the best results. Simply starting your day with a glass of water with the juice of one lemon in it will get you off to a balanced day. Then, before each meal have a nice cup of herbal tea, to balance your system and curb cravings. Then simply add any herbs that you desire instead of salt to your meal, and you’ll find that you start feeling better with in just a few weeks. Chickpea Hummus * 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained * 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice * 2 TBS basil leaves (more to taste) * 1 clove garlic, crushed * 1/2 TBS unsalted, raw sesame seeds Process all in a food processor until well blended, you may need to add water to get to the consistency you desire. For extra flavor add a bit of hot peppers or chilies to taste.

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Benefits of Raw Honey

The bees have lent us some of their immunity in the product of their hives. If you have never eaten raw honey, you are in for a taste and health treat. Facts about Raw Honey Honey has been around as long as there have been bees. We see cartoons about bears getting stung mercilessly while trying to grab some of this sweet confection from the hives. If they risked pain, there must be something good about it. Here’s a little about the process. Bees gather nectar from plants and return it to the hive. Through the enzymes secreted in their saliva and the nectar, the bees create honey and store it in their hives. Bee keepers keep bees and remove the honeycombs once the honey making process is completed by the bees. Raw honey differs from processed honey in that it is taken from the bees and then jarred in its natural state. Different types of flower nectar can produce different colored honeys with different tastes. The honey is not heated as processed honeys are. Therefore it retains its enzymes, pollen, royal jelly, vitamins and minerals. You may even get a jar that still has the honeycomb in it. There is talk about unpasteurized honey containing impurities. If there are any, they are of such low amount that the benefits of eating the raw honey would outweigh any negatives. And, it wouldn’t be enough to be harmful to human beings. Health Benefits of Raw Honey Raw honey is a natural sweetener. If you want to cut back on the white sugar or even the brown, try using honey to sweeten your coffee, desserts, and your glazes for your meats. Honey is an antiseptic. It can be used to help fight infection in wounds and burns. There is also an antibacterial effect that assists here as well. Because of the heating process, this same effect is not necessarily true of processed honey products. Honey is an antioxidant. This means that eating it can help you fight the free radical damage that leads to arthritis, heart disease, wrinkling and other signs of aging within and on the outside of the body. Raw honey contains many vitamins including: niacin, riboflavin, B complex vitamins, biotin, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K. Minerals present are: potassium, zinc, copper, calcium and phosphorus. The body needs all of these. You may have heard that honey can soothe a sore throat. It can also help stop coughs, prevent colds and act as a laxative to help with motility in the intestinal tract. Add honey to your tea to help you sleep when you are restless. Use this sweet health booster as a first line of defense for common ailments.

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Health Benefits of Fresh Herbs and Spices

They make your food taste good but that is not their only virtue. Fresh herbs and spices are a complement to any diet. They can help keep your internal system functioning at peak performance. Down Memory Lane Before there were medicines like we have today, people lived off the land for their healing. Wise women and men in the community used their knowledge of herbs to aid in making medicinal preparations for those who were sick. It was not uncommon to see a poultice or a salve in a home. The mortar and pestle were common tools of the trade in healing. Nowadays we have pills and capsules, but they were based on the long ago teaching of herbs. Even if you don’t use herbs and some spices for your health care you can use them to keep your body healthy through a balanced diet. You eat them for the taste, but learning about the added health benefits of what you are sprinkling on your dinner is an added bonus. What you can Avoid with Herbs and Spices If you ask anyone, the most common “spices” on any table are salt and pepper. Our food could be doing so much better. There is an entire world of tastes, smells and textures just waiting for you. And, fresh herbs and spices are abundant. Why, just visit any farmer’s market and you can purchase a potted herb: rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, dill, basil, lemon balm – and the list goes on. Just a few simple steps and you can have fresh herbs to use whenever you need them. Now, what can these herbs and spices do for me, you might ask? For one, the addition of other herbs and spices to your meals, in lieu of salt, can help keep your blood pressure under control. Too much salt or sodium intake can lead to bloating and high blood pressure in those that are already susceptible. And, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, salt is often not on the menu anymore anyway. Other spices can liven up your food and make you less likely to sneak a shake of that salt. Many herbs have cancer properties, meaning that they can lower your cancer risk or slow down the growth of cancerous tumors. Others can lower triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood which can lead to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. They also play a role in lowering blood sugar which is great for those who are dealing with a diabetic condition. Spices are also on the list of healthy foods. You can use dried, but freshly grated spices look and taste much better. Among their health attributes: inhibiting growth of cancer cells, increasing metabolism, reducing inflammatory response in the body, decrease arthritis pain, stopping nausea and providing essential nutrients to the diet. If you aren’t taking advantage of fresh herbs and spices, your diet and your health are missing out.

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Healthy Cooking With Herbs and Spices

One of the joys of cooking has to do with the wonderful smells that come from your kitchen and flow throughout the house. Cooking with herbs and spices makes those smells and flavors come alive like no other addition. Everyone loves the food so much more when it’s well seasoned. There are ways to get the flavors to explode without overdoing it. One way is to avoid adding all seasonings at once. Food should have layers of flavors, so adding one herb or spice at a time, giving it time to combine with the other ingredients before adding another one is a good idea. Another important factor is to always measure your herbs and spices and start with small amounts. You can always add more, but you can create a disaster by adding too much from the start. Herbs and spices are also medicinal, so they are a very healthy addition to your daily food intake. Most herbs are best when used fresh. The flavors are fresher, smell great, and are perfect for roasting or sautéing. Popular herbs are basil, oregano, parsley, bay leaves, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and thyme. Plus, you can grow your own herbs easily right in your window sill. Dried herbs are great infused with oils or other fats. Crush the herbs first then add to the oil and let the flavors sit over night before using for best results. This is a great way to create wonderful dressings, sauces, and condiments. There is no exact science to how much to add, just add a bit, give it some time to combine, then give it a taste. Tasting food as you cook it is the only way to ensure the best flavor experience for anyone who will eat your creations. Spices are usually dried but you can use them in their whole state as seeds or roots with fabulous results. A great example of this is ginger root and garlic. Nothing tastes better than fresh ginger root over dried ginger, and fresh garlic, any day in recipes. Popular spices are peppercorn, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne pepper, chili powder, curry, cloves, cumin, garlic, five-spice powder. Spices give dishes a flavor punch. They go great with sweet or savory dishes and can mean the difference between a successful dish and a flop. As with herbs, a little can go a long way. Try adding a little of a spice to a dish before adding more to ensure the flavor is right. When trying out a new spice you might want to just flavor parts of a dish and taste before adding more. The best thing to do is open your mind and palate and start experimenting with different flavors and cultures. Curries for instance, are really a combination of different spices, so you can have a variety of flavors of curry. Try out making your own curries to see what you like. You can make curried rice to go with a main course of roasted chicken and veggies. Or, mix in your favorite curry combination into mashed potatoes for a little added oomph to your basic mashed potatoes dish. Above all, don’t be shy to try cooking with herbs and spices. Your family will be glad you did.

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