Another new year is upon us. A wonderful fresh start, a time to reflect on new manifestations and dreams. For many, there will be focus on health – here’s a few things to help inspire you.
Herbs, Herbs & More Herbs
Herbs are much more than a garnish on your dinner plate. Fresh herbs not only add flavour, but a big nutritional punch.
Parsley and cilantro are two of my all time favourites. They contain tons of chlorophyll, which acts as a internal cleanser and detoxifier. These guys can even help reduce that pesky body odour.
These herbs help purify our blood, ward off urinary tract infections, ease hormonal mood swings associated with menses, promote healthy liver function, and act as an overall digestive aid. And if those aren’t enough reasons to convince you to eat more of ’em, check this out…
Health Benefits Of Parsley
Kills bad bacteria
The Vitamin C in parsley can help with iron absorption
Disinfects and helps detoxify the body
Prevents bad breath
Purifies the blood
Helps eliminate excess water from your system
Helps regulate menstruation cycles
Health Benefits of Cilantro
Powerful anti-inflammatory capacities that may help symptoms of arthritis
Overall digestive aid
Wards off urinary tract infections
Helps reduce feelings of nausea
Eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation
Has been shown to reduce menstrual cramping
A source of iron, magnesium, and is helpful in fighting anemia
Helps promote healthy liver function
Strong general antioxidant properties
Stimulates the endocrine glands
Helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar
Contains immune-boosting properties
Healthy Mouth, Healthy You
The health of our mouth is a reflection of our health in general, so much that each tooth correlates with a specific internal organ!
To improve the overall health of your mouth, daily oral hygiene is key. I’m a big believer using fluoride-free, natural toothpastes. Earthpaste is my favourite all-natural, clay based toothpaste, and Eugene loves the Ayurvedic blend of botanicals in Auromere; he says, “It gives me fresh breath and leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean.”
If you’re looking to quickly freshen your breath without the use of, I don’t know, let’s say aspartame-infused Trident Layers gum, try this simple, effective and all-natural trick.
Lastly, the tradition of “oil pulling” or, “oil swishing,” has become very popular. This practice can help rid your mouth of unwanted bacteria, while protecting and whitening your teeth at the same time. Oil pulling enthusiasts also claim this practice is capable of improving both oral and systemic health, including a benefit in conditions such as headaches, asthma, acne and in improving stagnant/sluggish lymphatic conditions. I personally love it, and try and oil pull at least 4 times per week. Here’s some great step-by-step, oil pulling instructions.
I can’t say enough about chewing your food. Remember, your stomach doesn’t have teeth. You want to give that guy a break and chew, chew, chew, so that it has a lot less churning-up-your-food to do.
Take it from: this guy.
Banish Electronics from the Bedroom
Screens emit blue wavelengths, which promote alertness and suppress melatonin. Do you very best to banish all media devices from the bedroom. Try and keep the bedroom to enjoyment of those things called “books,” and well, you know – keeping each other “warm.” If you must use your iPhone as an alarm clock, turn it to airplane mode while you’re sleeping.
The next time you get a sugar craving … pause and ask yourself:
“How am I feeling at this moment?” Cravings are triggered for different reasons – some are sensory, others emotional, but they often aren’t based on hunger. Be aware. If you choose to eat that particular food, then go ahead and eat it. Enjoy every bite. Let it be satisfying without judgment. When we feel we can’t choose, we rebel and guilt sets in. This year, let go of guilt: You may find you have fewer cravings as a result. Put joy and pleasure back into eating by being mindful. Pause … be aware … choose mindfully.
Maria Ricupero, Registered Dietitian
There are so many reasons to laugh it off!
Physical Health Benefits:
Mental Health Benefits:
Break Bread Together
I think this is one of my favourites things to do – eat with others, whether it be potlucks or family dinners. I’m not much of a small talker, so conversation around a meal works best for me. I love the idea of sharing food, and sharing stories while you’re at it.
You may have noticed in Europe, that they sit for very long periods of time and talk (and talk and talk) over long, drawn out meals. They engage in conversation, put their fork down, and pause from eating to partake in the stories of the day. This helps improve digestion by giving the body a break in between spoonfuls of food. It also helps us to feel full faster and to be more satisfied after our meal.
One of the common casualties of our frenetic modern-day lives are old-school family dinners – the kind where you sit together around a table and eat a meal of fresh, whole ingredients. Studies on regular family dinners show that not only do they help with weight management, they also help to reduce the risks of teenage depression and risk-taking behaviour. This year, recultivate a close relationship with your kitchen (and your family) at least one night each and every week. And if dinners aren’t the easiest option, consider breakfasts.
Yoni Freedhoff, Obesity Expert, Family Physician, Author
Feed Your Gut
You might not want to hear it, but bacteria strains out number human cells ten to one. Yes, that’s right! What a concept.
This internal eco system of bacteria plays an extremely important role in our health, and in terms of immunity in particular. It’s estimated that up to %70 of our immune system “lives” in our “gut” (a.k.a. intestines, colon, digestive tract). So nourishing and feeding this ecosystem with the right stuff is crucial to feeling your best.
Did you know you have trillions of microbial workers inside you? Like a good employer, you need to give them appreciation, respect and a commitment to their well-being to ensure productivity. In 2015, hire the right candidates by taking probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Pay them well with prebiotic foods, such as seasonal fruits, vegetables and fibre. And don’t forget to give a fermented bonus, such as sauerkraut or kimchi. If you treat your microbial staff well, you will end up with such benefits as improved digestion, balanced immunity, better metabolism and even a brighter mood.
Jason Tetro, Microbiologist and author of The Germ Code
No Guilt Please (The Psychological Pull to Old Habits)
—by Beth, from redandhoney
The discussion around diet and health in our culture usually seems to center around one main factor: willpower. But that’s not what it’s about, really. It isn’t about how strong you can be in resisting that cupcake, and then patting yourself on the back when you do.
There is a very real psychological component to our eating habits that is rarely discussed. There are two cravings that typically work against us: 1) the craving to be “normal” and accepted like everyone else + 2) the craving for those popular substances to which we are addicted (think: sugar, caffeine, carbs, etc.)
In It Starts With Food, the authors talk about how we are addicted to food and unable to stop eating stuff that’s bad for us, despite our best efforts. They say:
“It’s not your fault. You are not lacking willpower. You are not lazy. And it’s not your fault that you can’t stop eating those foods. Now, we’re not trying to say that the choices you make aren’t your own or that you don’t have any responsibility for your current health status (or waistline). But what you have to understand is that these unhealthy foods have an unfair advantage. They are designed to mess with your brain. They are built to make you crave them. They make it hard for you to give them up.”
This really resonates with me. The guilt and shame of making unhealthy choices only hinders our efforts, I think. So if we can remove those negative feelings, that’s a huge step forward.
To a Happy, Healthy New Year!
I love you,