Yes, it’s a new year, and if you’re like me and indulged in whatever you fancy during the holiday, you probably gained some weight. I have finally cracked my body’s weight loss code by implementing a few strategies. My first strategy is doing a 16 to 17-hour fast where I only drink herbal teas. My second strategy is to eat as cleanly as possible. No gluten or dairy, little to no red meat, and eliminate as much sugar as possible.
Herbal teas are a great way to support my weight loss efforts. Not only do they provide hydration, but many herbs have properties that can aid in metabolism and fat burning. Here are ten herbal teas to consider adding to your weight loss routine:
1. Green Tea
Green tea is one of the most popular herbal teas for weight loss. It contains a compound called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been shown to boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, green tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
2. Oolong Tea
Oolong tea is another excellent option for losing weight. It is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, oolong tea has been shown to inhibit the absorption of fat and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
3. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion is a natural diuretic that can help reduce water weight. It’s also known to help improve digestion and support the liver, aiding in weight loss.
4. Lemon Tea
Lemon is a natural detoxifier and can help improve digestion. The high levels of vitamin C in lemon can also help boost the immune system and support weight loss efforts.
5. White Tea
White tea is a less processed version of green tea and has been shown to have similar weight loss properties. It is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, white tea has been shown to inhibit the absorption of fat and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those looking to lose weight.
6. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, ginger tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
7. Lemongrass Tea
Lemongrass tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Additionally, lemongrass tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
8. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is an excellent choice for losing weight. It has thermogenic properties, which can help boost metabolism and burn fat. Peppermint tea is a natural appetite suppressant, making it an excellent choice for losing weight.
9. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea contains antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free. It can help promote feelings of fullness, reducing cravings for snacks and aiding in weight loss.
10. Rose Hip Tea
Rose hip tea contains antioxidants that may help protect against cell damage and reduce inflammation, which can improve overall health. Rose hip tea is a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake. It is also a great source of Vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and may help with weight loss by decreasing stress hormone levels and inflammation.
It is important to note that drinking herbal teas alone will not cause weight loss. A healthy and balanced diet and regular exercise are also necessary for weight loss. Additionally, you must consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or exercise routine.
These herbal teas can be a great addition to a weight loss program. Green tea, oolong tea, white tea, ginger tea, lemongrass tea, and peppermint tea are all great choices that can help boost metabolism, burn fat, and curb appetite. They are also easy to incorporate into your daily routine and make a delicious alternative to sugary drinks.
Peppermint tea does not require hot water to produce. Add fresh peppermint stems to a pitcher of water and allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator.
Remember, for best results, herbal teas are part of an overall weight loss plan in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The information presented is for informational, reference, and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for a diagnosis and/or treatment. All health-related questions should be directed to your healthcare provider.
The information presented is for informational, reference, and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as a substitute for a diagnosis and/or treatment. All health-related questions should be directed to your healthcare provider.
(This article was first published on Medium.com the publication Living and Lovin Herbs)
I recently heard a story from a friend of mine about someone they knew who slipped in the tub while attempting steam inhalation treatment with essential oils and hot water. This person had been fighting off a bad cough and head cold for weeks, and all the over-the-counter medicine they tried provided no relief. A doctor only advised them to drink fluids, take Acetaminophen in case of fever, and return for a follow-up if their condition worsened. My heart ached for this person, wishing I could have suggested natural remedies to help them while they waited for the virus to run its course.
Doctors tend to be hesitant about prescribing antibiotics for viral infections as regular use can cause the body to become resistant to them as we age. That’s why my friend’s friend could have benefited from one of these herbs for lung health:
Lung health is essential for overall well-being, allowing the body to absorb oxygen properly. Unfortunately, pollution, smoking, and chronic stress can negatively impact our lungs. Luckily, natural remedies can help keep the lungs healthy and breathing easy. This article will give you information on 15 herbs that can support lung health and improve respiratory function.
What Herb Is Right For You?
When selecting the appropriate herb(s) for your respiratory needs, consider your cough type — is it wet or dry? Are you feeling warm or chilled? Is your head congested or running? Here are a few key features to remember when deciding on the right herb(s).
Certain herbs can help break up and expel phlegm.
Certain herbs can reduce inflammation in the chest and bronchial tubes.
Some herbs have potent antioxidants that assist with healing.
Certain herbs can help bolster your immune system.
Herbs For Improved Lung Health
Peppermint: Herbs high in aromatic essential oils can help decrease inflammation and open bronchial, which increases lung capacity. Peppermint can also reduce muscle pain and spasms and aid in digestion. Note: if you suffer from reflux or GERD, do not drink peppermint in high doses. Drinking this as a tea (hot or iced) is effective.
Chamomile: This herb is perfect for children sensitive to smoke from brush fires. It can be made strong, and it is also a calming herb. If steeped for a long time, the tea will taste slightly bitter but perfect for better digestion.
Chamomile tea can be used as an eyewash for raw irritating eyes. Make a cup of tea and allow it to cool. Take the teabag out of your cup and gently place it over your eyes and squeeze a small amount of tea out. It is also effective as a tea (hot or iced) before bed.
Turmeric is known to be an antioxidant and has compounds that reduce inflammation. This herb can be taken as a tea, tincture, or in dried form and in high doses. Turmeric is also known to reduce heart disease and increase brain function.
Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) herbalists use licorice root because of its demulcent properties. It protects the mucous membranes from excessive particle pollution. Small amounts of licorice root should be added to tea recipes and should be drunk for no more than 10–14 days is recommended.
Note: This herb can increase blood pressure, low potassium levels, weakness, paralysis, irregular heart rhythms, and heart attack. People who eat a lot of salt or have heart disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure are more sensitive to licorice. They can have these problems after eating smaller amounts of licorice.
Marshmallow Root is another wonderful demulcent. It helps to protect those with sensitive mucous membranes. It also cools and soothes the entire system, specifically stress-induced constipation.
Lavender is an herb that helps reduce anxiety and stress. Lavender tea should be made strong; the aroma will help relax and aid breathing capacity.
Echinacea is known for stimulating the immune system and reducing inflammation by decreasing the chances of getting sick while under stress. It can be taken as tea, tincture, or capsules.
Reishi Mushroom — this herb is a Super Hero Herb! It’sIt’s one of the most studied herbs around. It has a long list of healing properties to list here. For our purposes, it boosts the immune system and aids in lung conditions, including asthma and bronchitis. It is an adaptogenic herb that helps reduce the body’s heightened stress response.
Reishi can also be taken long-term in either tincture or capsule form.
Mullein is another herbalist go-to for lung issues. Mullen is best known for being used as a lung tonic for either a wet or dry cough. It can be taken as tea (hot or iced), tincture, or capsules.
Lobelia is a bronchial dilator and antispasmodic, which helps with bronchitis, pneumonia, or a general cough. Lobelia can become toxic in the body and cause serious side effects. This herb should not be taken in large doses or for long periods of time. This herb should be taken in small amounts in tincture form or tea.
Tulsi or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum spp.) Another favorite of mine. Holy Basil is an adaptogen that helps reduce the feeling of overwhelm and general stress. This herb can be taken daily as a tea or capsule.
Ashwagandha is another herb I take daily to help with an overwhelming feeling. This herb is an adaptogen. It usually comes in a powder and can be sprinkled in drinks such as coffee and milk (e.g., Golden Milk). This herb can also be taken in tincture form or capsules.
Garlic herbal actions are antimicrobial, diaphoretic, hypocholesterolemic, cholagogue, hypotensive, and antispasmodic.
If used daily, garlic helps to support the body in various ways that no other herb can match. It has been effective in antimicrobial, acting on bacteria, viruses, and parasites of the alimentary tract. The volatile oils are excreted via the lungs, making garlic helpful in controlling respiratory infections, such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, recurrent colds, and influenza. (Hoffmann 2003)
In general, garlic can be used as preventive medicine against most infectious conditions digestive and respiratory systems. In the digestive tract, garlic is thought to support natural bacterial flora development while killing pathogenic organisms. (Hoffmann 2003)
Garlic also has a wide range of effects on cardiovascular health. It can reduce serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels while raising high-density lipoproteins (HDL) levels. It can act as an effective inhibitor of platelet-activating factor (PAF). (Hoffmann 2003)
I ferment a half jar of finely chopped garlic for six weeks in local honey. If I feel a little stuffy or have a raw sore throat, I’ll take a tablespoon of fermented garlic and honey 3 x day or until the symptoms go away.
Raw Honey has been used as a folk remedy for centuries, and research has shown it has many health benefits and medicinal uses. In some hospitals, they use honey to treat burns and wounds.
For sore throats and stuffy noses, honey in a cup of hot water with lemon and ginger can go a long way in relieving those symptoms. Many herbalists (me including) reach for our jar of fermented garlic and honey on the first hint of a sore throat; however, don’tdon’t give children under one because honey can carry botulism.
Corn Silk (Zea mays) stamen has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Native American Medicine.
Corn silk is taken for depression, inflammation of the prostate, inflammation of the unitary system, kidney stones, congestive heart failure, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease, high cholesterol, jaundice, liver health, and obesity, to name a few conditions.
Most herbalists add corn silk to their cold and flu remedies for calming inflammation and fatigue when sick. Corn silk can be taken as a tea, capsules, and tincture.
Plantain (Plantago spp.) seed husk is mainly known as an unwanted weed in highly manicured lawns in my area; plantain has several health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and blocking microbial growth in wounds and the body in general. Many herbalists add plantain to their teas as a supporting herb to their herbal remedies. Plantain can be used as a tea, capsule, or tincture.
Irish Moss / Sea Moss (Chondrus crispus) This herb has been around for centuries and is known in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Caribbean Islands such as Jamaica. The algae have been used in skincare products to make paper, cure leather, and cheese.
However, herbalists also used sea moss in their apothecaries for centuries to heal burns and boost the immune system and probiotics, to name a few benefits.
According to WebMD, researchers have been doing studies on whether sea moss can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’sParkinson’s Disease in order adults with some promising results. Other studies have suggested that sea moss can boost the immune system and protect the body from contracting salmonella.
This herb would be considered a supporting herb in any remedy for treating the lungs and respiratory system. It’s important to note that a little of this herb goes a long way. Sea moss can be taken in capsules or taking dried moss, rehydrated in water, and either making it into a gel or whole to a smoothie, soup, or stew. A small amount can go a long way.
Mallow is a demulcent, and its secondary action is an expectorant, making it the perfect primary herb in any herbal remedy. Its primary use is for the irritated throat, dry cough, and bronchitis. This herb can be used as a green in cooking, tea, and tincture.
Many herbs can help support lung health and improve respiratory function. From peppermint to garlic, each herb has unique properties that can help improve lung function. It’s important to note that while these herbs can benefit lung health and respiratory support, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new herbal supplement.
Remember to take care of your lungs; they are essential for survival. By incorporating these herbs into your daily routine, you can take steps to improve your lung health and overall well-being.
If you are interested in further exploring the use of herbs for lung health, my E-book, “Herbs For Lung Health,” is available for free on Living and Lovin Herbs. It includes detailed information about how specific herbs can help support healthy.
Buy Me A Cup of Tea!
If you would like to buy me a cup of tea, Thank you kindly! I appreciate the gesture and would be delighted to accept it. Click Here!
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to clear the negative energy from 2022 from my body, family, and house. It’s been one hell of a year where we all got sucker punched! I’m glad the year is over and praying this year won’t be so intense with life-altering events.
An ancient process called smudging clarifies old energy and invites new positive energy. Although studies on the health effects of smudging are lacking, I found one study that validated that natural smoke products have some benefits.
“wood and a mixture of odoriferous and medicinal herb on aerial bacterial population caused over 94% reduction of bacterial counts in one hour (60 minutes), and the air remained disinfected and clear for up to 24 hours. “
There is no doubt that medicinal herbs promote healing; however, some studies referenced in other articles on the health effects of smudging referenced the healing properties, but if you read the studies, they site the herbs were ingested in some form, such as a tea or capsule versus burned. I am pointing this out for transparency reasons, as the two are different.
On the other hand, sometimes we need to have faith that the ancient Elders and Spiritual Leaders of the First Nation people knew what they were doing by burning herbs to purify, clear negative energy, and bless a space.
Smudging is a tradition that is common to First Nations tribes. It involves one or several medicinal herbs, including woods and resins gathered from the earth. The four most common sacred herbs used in First Nation ceremonies are tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass.
The most popular plant used for smudging is sage. Sage is known for clearing out negative energy and purifying people and spaces. However, it’s important to note that white sage, the most popular herb in First Nation tribal ceremonies, has been over-harvested in the west, southwest, and Mexico.
The popularity of white sage is in high demand by non-First Nation people internationally. Because I don’t want to support or encourage this sacred plant’s continued over-harvesting and/or poaching, I don’t use white sage. An alternative is Mediterranean sage, also known as common garden sage. The chemical properties between the two plants are similar and will still do what we ask the plant for energy to do. Purify and clear our space.
Other commonly known herbs are not always connected to smudging but offer the same energetic properties — herbs such as rosemary, lavender, and Palo Santo wood. I’ll share a list of herbs and spices that you can burn.
Purpose of Smudging a House
Smudging is a great practice that can substantially impact your physical, spiritual, and mental health. It reduces illness and helps promote mental clarity while reducing anxiety and stress.
Regular smudging can also help lift your mood and leave you feeling lighter, more positive, and more connected to yourself and those around you.
According to the Smudging Protocol and Guidelines published for School District №58 in British Columbia, Canada, their Elders/Spiritual Leader’s rationale for the cleansing process is as follows:
We smudge to clear the air around us.
We smudge to clean our minds so that we can have good thought of others.
We smudge our ears so that we will only listen to positive things about others.
We smudge our whole being so we can portray only the good part of ourselves through our actions.
We smudge to cleanse negative energy within our own being or any negative energy in a space.
The smudging ceremony allows people to stop, slow down, be present, and be mindful so they can ground themselves, reconnect with themselves so they can, focus, let go, and rebalance their energy.
How To Smudge Your Home Or Space
Smudge Stick or Loose Leaf? Smudging your home or space is essential for creating a sacred and peaceful area. It’s a widespread practice in spiritual circles, and with good reason — the smudging prayer combined with burning herbs or smoldering smudge sticks can help bind us to a higher power while realigning our energy.
To start smudging your living space, add a loose-leaf herbal blend or smudge stick to a heat-proof bowl and allow it to smoke.
I prefer using loose-leaf herbs that sit on top of a charcoal disk. These disks are orderless and chemical-free and will allow your herbs to smolder longer rather than creating a small fire in a bowl. In addition, you can control the amount of herbs you want to burn versus a smudge stick that may continue to burn after your smudging is done. I find this wasteful.
If using a loose-leaf herbal blend, place the disk in an incense burner, light it, and let it smoke for a few minutes before sprinkling herbs on top.
I like to use a small cast iron burner with a lid. That way, I can walk through rooms without worrying about burning embers flying out and causing a fire. For other containers, such as a seashell, be careful. Heat can crack the shell and cause a fire. Safety first when smudging!!
When smudging a room, some ancient traditions recommend circularly moving the smoldering bowl and saying your prayer as you move through your space. Feather fans are also used to help the smoke penetrate through the room.
Remember to smudge entry doors into your home (e.g., front and back doors), hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and walk-in closets. These are all spaces that can trap negative energy.
“A sacred prayer is a call to the Universe designed to accompany your ritual and reflect the specific intentions you have set.”
So ask yourself, what is your purpose for burning herbs? If you want to say a prayer or blessing, Kiera recommends you say it at a minimum once while smudging and several times throughout your day after you are done.
Here are some of her examples from her book.
“Thank you for the miracles, all in your perfect ways and all in your perfect timing.”
Receiving Divine Abundance
“Thank you for the divine health, wealth, and abundance that flows to me in all ways.”
Releasing Unhealthy Attachments
“I fully and freely release that which no longer serves me. All is well.”
“I choose to release the opinions of others. It bears no weight on my self-worth.”
“I love my body, and my body loves me in return.”
“God speaks through me.”
If none of these prayers or blessings resonate, then you can write your own prayer. Kiera suggests the following when writing your prayer or blessing:
1. Set a clear intention. What specific outcomes do you wish to manifest?
2. Decide on two or three keywords related to your intention.
3. Write one or two sentences that succinctly reflect your desired outcome. This statement should be made with gratitude as if it has already occurred.
Alternatives to White Sage For Smudging
First Nations have certain herbs that are considered sacred herbs for their ceremonies- herbs such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass, juniper, and lavender. These herbs, in particular, release bad energy from the space home and invite new energy.
However, don’t be limited to those previously mentioned sacred herbs. There are thousands of herbs and herbal blends that you can make or purchase. I’ve used the following blend, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, olive leaves, and rose petals. I’ve also used Palo Santo wood as a single herb.
Here are some medicinal herbs, flowers, and spices that have a pleasant fragrance and powerful metaphysical properties and are appropriate for smudging. (Sourced from Sacred Herb Bundles For Energy Cleansing pg. 27)
Apple — Love, beauty, wisdom
Chamomile — Peace, purification, protection
Lotus Flower — Rebirth, fortitude divinity
Basil — Health, happiness, protection
Clover — Faith, hope prosperity
Lemon — Purification, protection, energy boost
Rosemary — Focus, mental clarity, health
Cinnamon — Love, success, prosperity
Lavender — Love, relaxation, serenity
Dill — Luck, romance, prosperity
Eucalyptus — Health, purification, protection
Ginger — Passion, progress, prosperity
Hibiscus — Passion, femininity, creativity
Peppermint — Prosperity, growth, renewal
Palo Santo — Stress release, protection, good fortune
Rose — Love, happiness, friendship
Sage — Purification, protection, wisdom
Sweetgrass — Peace, purification, positive energy
Vanilla — Love, peace, good fortune
Yarrow — Courage, wisdom, protection
If you’re looking for a way to clear the energy in your space, invite positive energy, and offer a blessing or prayer. Smudging may be for you. This ancient practice has been used for centuries to purify one’s home or space many benefits come along with it. After smudging, people often report feeling better, lighter, more positive, and more connected.
If you want to learn more about smudging, I recommend two books on the topic that I have found helpful in making my own blends for burning.
On Sunday, daylight savings begins, and we will be doing the final lap of winter before spring officially arrives on March 20th. Who is excited about this? We’ve made it through another winter!
The Spring Equinox is one of two days where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres will have equal daylight. It’s the official start of spring and the days are noticeably longer. But did my garden get the memo its time to wake up?
Late March and early April is the time when we see the first signs of spring in our garden. Tender wildflowers start to poke their heads above their winter blankets of mulch and leaves. Flowers like crocuses, violets, and tulips are usually the first to show their faces.
I wondered if the crocus had a story or a special meaning similar to the rose and other flowers? These questions led me down many rabbit holes, and who knew this small, pretty flower had so much passion associated with it.
The book The Secret Meaning of Flowers says the crocus means attachment, cheerfulness, exuberance, foresight, gladness, jovial, joy, mirth, the pleasure of hope, visions, youthful, and gladness.
In addition, I found an article that said “crocus” means thread, referring to the long, thread-like stamens. It also stated the word also derives from the Greek word Krokos because the plant gives us saffron from its stamens.
This flower also has several love stories originating from ancient Greek Mythology.
One version says Crocus was a young man and had an affair with a nymph called Smilax. He became bored and unhappy with the relationship, and the gods didn’t like his behavior and decided to turn him into a plant. Smilax turned into a beautiful yew tree known as a slow-growing tree with hard but flexible wood. Perfect for Cupid’s bow and arrow.
Another Greek version stated that Crocus killed himself because he was so grief-stricken when the gods refused permission for them to marry. The goddess of flowers, named Flora, took pity on the two lovers and turned them into plants so their love could bloom forever.
Then there is this version that says Smilax wasn’t interested in Crocus. But the ole’ boy wouldn’t take the hint to go away. In frustration, she turned him into a flower so she could have some peace and quiet.
Then we have the great Greek love story of Zeus and Hera (the goddess of women, marriage, and children). The story goes they were “enjoying each other’s company” so passionately that the river bank they were on erupted with crocus flowers.
Since then, these two lustful lovers have been associated with passionate love. In some parts of the world, crocuses bloom near Valentine’s Day and are the preferred “passion” flower rather than roses.
The Crocus species (Crocus Sativa) has medicinal properties grown commercially for saffron and seeds all over the world. So please, please, do not go out and start chewing on a crocus plant. These plants in our yards are poisonous!
c. Sativa has carotenoids that have been shown in clinical studies to inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Saffron helps reduce depression supports eye health and cognitive function.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), saffron is used for depression, shock, cramps from moon cycles, PMS, skin disorders, stomach weakness, and an appetite suppressant.
There you have it; when your crocus starts to pop its pretty purple flowers above ground, I hope you will remember they are flowers created by mad passionate love of one kind or another as well as a healing herb.
Chevallier, Andrew, Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 2016; 89
Hello Everyone! I hope you are doing well under the circumstances. My family is all hunkered down at this point. My Hubby is now working from home, and that took a few days to get him organized. I had to move out of my office so he could move in. I’m now working at a table on a dinosaur laptop for the time being. But Hey! These are some crazy times at the moment. You do what ya gotta do!
To update you on what the plan is during this quarantine – I am going to try and have greens available for pickup only. The CT State Dept. of Ag is requesting farmers to open their farmstands to the community as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a farmstand due to parking issues at our home. However, I will have microgreens and herbs available very soon – micros – hopefully by next week or weekend. All orders must be pre-paid before pick up. Due to my daughter’s immune issues, I will not be making in-person sales. I’ll post what’s available on the TSF Product Page, FaceBook and the blog as well. If you want an email alerting you that week’s cuttings, please sign up in the sidebar.
I do accept Paypal and all major credit cards. Paypal account email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Microgreens are still the same price as before $3.00 per/oz.
Other products available for sale right now are herbal teas. There are 7 different teas. Teas sell for $8.00 per jar.
Lavender Harmony Tea
Minty Mint Herbal Tea
Lavender Rose Bedtime Tea
Cinnamon Rose Tea (with Coconut Milk)
Blueberry Raspberry Hibiscus Tea
Pumpkin Pie Tea
Farm to Bath
Yes, we have plenty of soap and other bath and body products available. Free shipping is available on all orders $30 and over. If you want to pick up your order – that’s fine too, just email me your request so I can process your payment separately prior to pickup. Again, no person to person sales. All orders must be prepaid.
Hello Friends! Happy New Year! I am happy to announce that my podcast about herbs is now live. Living and Lovin Herbs is about different ways you can use herbs.
Whether it’s for:
growing them in your garden
using it in bath and body products or
creating a chemical-free home
I’ll share with you its history and traditions, because who doesn’t like a good story! If I find a good book related to the subject, resources that might be helpful, I’ll post a link under book recommendations and reference found in the show notes.
The goal of this show is to demystify herbs, their uses and make it easier for you to incorporate them into your daily life.
There are 4 shows posted on iTunes ready for download. You can also go to the website livingandlovinherbs.com where you can listen to the show, check out the pictures related to the podcast, download free recipes and other information related to herbs.
My goal is to post 2 shows per month. If I can do more I will, but I’m a one woman show and still managing the farm and Farm to Bath.
Happy Spring!! Astronomically speaking that is. But that doesn’t mean its warm outside and flowers are blooming here in New England. Mother-nature can be cruel sometimes and tease us mercilessly with a beautiful warm sunny day and dump a foot of snow the next.
So technically (at least around here) we wait until the end of April to officially declare spring. In the meantime, if you live in a similar climate as we do, why not begin work on your winter body now. So when the warmer weather is here to stay, you’re looking and feeling pretty darn good!
On another note, did you also know that today is also International Happiness Day? What are you happy about? Post it in the comments below. I’d love to know.
I’m happy that today is a bright, warm sunny day. This is the first day I opened the greenhouse to cool things off and bring in some fresh air. I’m excited that soon, I’ll be back in the garden planting this seasons herbs and flowers for our Farm to Bath herbal bath and body products. Cue the confetti… Whoohoo!
It’s Our Ancestors Fault Or Is It?
According to scientists we consume an additional 200 calories per day during the long winter months because of low levels of Vitamin D. Other researchers believe its part of our DNA we inherited from our ancient ancestral relatives.
Back in the day eating more calories was critical to surviving a long winter. The more “fluffier” our relatives were the better chances they survived the cold, harsh winters than the skinny rail thin ones. Remember there were no McDonalds or grocery stores to supply them with food when it ran out.
They either starved to death, froze to death, or survived on their reserved body fat. It was survival of the fittest or in this case the fluffiest. Thank goodness we don’t have to live that way anymore and can control our environment and what we eat!
Whatever the reasons we gain weight, come spring, what goes on, must come off. Whether it’s our DNA flipping its hibernation switch (my analogy) or we’re getting more Vitamin D because the days are longer. Our body is telling us its ready to shed the extra pounds.
What Are Detoxifying Foods?
There is a whole industry devoted to detoxifying one’s body, and sometimes it can be confusing and misleading. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is some middle ground without committing to a strict detox cleanse and spending hundreds of dollars for someone to tell you what you already know. Stop eating junk!
There’s no one size fits all to detoxing. You just need to be aware of what you’re eating. I call it “conscious eating.” Eat more plant-based foods and herbs. Eliminate foods high in sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and processed foods.
Here is a general idea of what a detox lifestyle looks like. Typically there are 3 goals:
“(1) to remove potentially “toxic” foods, (2) to eat a simple diet so that detox organs like the liver can focus less on digestion and more on detoxification, and (3) to increase your consumption of water and foods that encourage the detoxification organs to do their job more efficiently.”
Body into Balance, Maria Noel Groves, 97
Just stated, eat a simpler diet, especially in the spring. This is when your body is ready to shed its winter weight. This may be the reason why trying to stay fit during the winter is like pushing a car uphill. Your body isn’t listening because you may be Vitamin D deficient and its in hibernation mode.
Don’t get me wrong, weight loss can be made at any time of the year, but it’s tough to fight those comfort food cravings during the cold winter months if you’re low on Vitamin D. Just be aware of what you’re eating and have a plan.
Talking to your doctor is also a good idea. Have your Vitamin D levels checked as a precaution. It’s important to have a baseline, so you know if your weight gain is related to a Vitamin D deficiency.
I get mine checked annually, and my doctor adjusts my Vitamin D supplement dosage as necessary. The bad news is as I get older, my Vitamin D levels drop too severely low levels during the winter months; which is triggering other health problems.
The good news is, all of this is in my control. My doctor tells me I can mitigate any future damage by merely getting outside and walking and eating more nutrient-dense foods.
After doing a lot of research on winter weight gain and Vitamin D deficiency, I found some detox and weight loss friendly herbs and vegetables that are nutrient dense that I’ve added to my diet. I thought this would be helpful to you in achieving your own health goals.
Garlic and Onions
Mushrooms (cooked in Broth)
Flax and Chia Seeds
Culinary Herbs and Spices (especially Turmeric)
Body into Balance, Maria Noel Groves, 97
All of these foods listed can play a superstar role in detoxing your body naturally and should be easy to incorporate into your diet daily. However, there is one green that is a real Superhero. It hits 3 of the most common health goals most people want to achieve.
Dandelion Greens – The Superhero Green!
Photo by Brenda J. Sullivan
I love this green and try to incorporate it into my diet as much as possible. It’s one of the few herbs that does so much good for the body. A once favorite herb/green during the Great Depression, it hardly gets a mention in herbal and culinary circles today. But, there are still a few diehard fans out there.
According to Rosemary Gladstar, International Herbalist, this green is:
“… One of the most widely used herbs in the world, dandelion is highly respected, both for its preventative and for its remedial qualities…”
Herbal Healing for Women, Rosemary Gladstar, 28
The dandelion chemical composition focuses its energy on nurturing the kidney and liver. The most significant health benefit I discovered is dandelions act like a diuretic.
Unlike, synthetic diuretics, that deplete the body of potassium which can cause other health issues, such as muscle weakness, fatigue, digestive issues, just to name a few problems. Dandelions are high in potassium and replace K naturally at the same time helping the liver and kidneys eliminate excess water and toxins.
Health Benefits Specifically For Women:
In some women, hormonal changes can have severe effects on their bodies. Research suggests that eating dandelion leaves and roots during a woman’s menstrual cycle can help with bloating, PMS and breast tenderness.
Also, dandelions are also known as a bitter. Bitter greens help stimulate the bile in the stomach which encourages better digestion, which detoxes the body and helps with elimination.
This can be important for women who have issues with cravings, bloating and constipation during their cycle. This green can help move things along and reduce some of the discomforts.
Personally, I can gain up to 20 pounds of water weight during my moon cycle. To help reduce the fluid buildup, and the uncontrollable cravings, I’ll take dandelion root supplement daily. I make sure I drink plenty of water and eat fresh dandelion greens several times a week to help flush my system. This keeps things moving through my intestines which is reducing the pressure in my stomach and back. Think of your body as a deflating balloon.
In addition, I cut back on the amount of gluten, starches/carbs (e.g., bread, pasta, white potatoes, white rice, and corn) and the worst offender for PMS sugar!
Move That Body!
Dandelions are rich in Vitamin A, C, Iron and Calcium which are essential for healthy bones among other things. This is important for a woman who is menopausal or has been diagnosed with osteopenia which can happen to women over the age of 50.
Also, moving your body is essential to dropping that winter weight.
Our ancient ancestors didn’t continue sitting around when the snow melted. They got outside and started hunting and gathering to feed their family. So you’re already genetically programmed to move! No excuses here…
I try and go for a walk for at least 45 minutes to an hour a day. If I can’t get that much time in, I’ll find 20 minutes somewhere and jump on the treadmill and do a quick 20. I don’t have a perfect record, but I try to get more days in than not.
If you don’t have a treadmill, do circles around your coffee table, around your kitchen, dining room, bedroom, or in your yard, whatever. Just get moving and work up to an hour, its better than doing nothing. I promise you’ll feel better.
Dandelions Achieve 3 Health Goals:
It is a bitter, that helps get a sluggish gut’s digestive juices moving. Yes, pooping is good for you when trying to lose weight!
It’s a natural diuretic that doesn’t deplete your body of potassium and other essential nutrients. Dandelions are naturally high in potassium, Vitamin A, C, Iron.
It’s perfect for bone health, especially for those who are diagnosed with osteopenia. Dandelions are naturally high in Calcium.
Honestly, I haven’t found another green that can do so much good for one’s body. It truly is a Superhero Green!
Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, sautéed or steamed. I often add them to a brown rice dish or just saute them in a little olive oil and garlic which is my favorite way to eat them.
If you’re interested in eating them wild, the best time to harvest them is in the spring and early autumn. Make sure when harvesting that no fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides have been sprayed or sprinkled on them. So please be careful if you decide to harvest wild dandelions.
Otherwise, you can pick them up fresh at your local health food store or grow them yourself. There are seed company’s that sell the seeds. Just do an online search.
According to the Flavor Bible, dandelions go great with the following foods:
1 tablespoon drained, rinsed and finally chopped capers
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice orchampagne vinegar
Mix ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to blend together. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature first, then drizzle over greens toss well, before serving.
Note: This recipe is enough for several dishes. Only use a tablespoon or so on these greens. Refrigerate the rest.
Dandelion Greens Cooking Instructions:
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat gently infuse
the olive oil with the chopped garlic. Don’t burn the garlic!
Add dandelion greens and sauté until greens are wilted. Salt and
pepper to taste.
Drizzle a tablespoon of the salsa verde over greens and give a quick toss and then serve.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, if you have questions about your health please consult with a licensed medical professional. The information in this article is for educational purposes and not meant to treat or diagnose any medical conditions.
Links within this posting are affiliate links to Amazon
Sorry, this is so late posting – here is my friend Coach Theresa’s latest guest post. Once again she hit it out of the park! Now I don’t feel so guilty! I am definitely going to try her morning drink routine. Enjoy the posting!!!
The Day(s) After A Feast
I dunno about you but it seems like one day of indulging often brings another and another and before you know it you’re guiltily humming Annie’s “tomorrow” inside your head. There’s always a reason to indulge. And you know? It’s actually good for you. So for starters let’s just get over the guilt and purposely indulge in some extra calories every once in a while.
My rule is that it’s ok to indulge as long as my digestive enzymes can recognize it as food, that is, no processed yoga mat material or preservatives and trash included in my cheat days. Stick to real food even the sinfully rich variety and with moderation, you will recover. Yes, you CAN have your proverbial cake and eat it too. I do it all the time –figuratively speaking.
If you are on a sustainable plan of everyday healthy living that involves whole foods nutrition and appropriate portion sizes for your body, you are very much ahead of the game. But it’s also easy to have too much of a good thing. Being on track involves following an 80/20 rule and making sure that the 20% doesn’t expand to 80. This is where most of us fail because that proverbial slope can be so slippery.
If you are struggling, take a good look at what you are eating. Often times this sparks a lot of motivation! If you are eating well and within your recommended calories and are still experiencing difficulty with your weight, then we need to look at your activity level, and of course your last check-up.
Keep in mind that when we are hungry it is very hard to objectively assess intake and we are often lenient with ourselves. It is important to examine the picture as a whole. For me, as a mom, I wasn’t counting eating my kids’ leftovers! (leftover cupcake frosting is my favorite. There are, oh so many, external reasons to expand “that exception” AFTER “exception day”. This can start with simply more piled on social events in a given season, accessible leftovers, and vacation time.
Just mentally, all of these external factors can send you off in the wrong direction and seriously throw you for a loop that can get you stuck in a whirlwind of cravings and mindless eating. When I manage my cravings well, my perspective on how I can also handle unrelated situations in my environment also changes. It is very empowering!
My first recommended course of action on my START day is to get a workout in as soon as I wake up. It seriously jolts me back into reset mode. Go immediately when you wake up. Drink some water and carry some with you throughout the day. Start with 5-10 minutes of stretching that is appropriate for the type of workout you will do and then jump right in. Pop in a DVD, go for a walk/run, yoga, a bike ride, a class, whatever it is you do, get there first thing, before breakfast (if your health allows or go as soon as practicable if you need to regulate your body first.) The idea is to go as early as possible.
Exercise will have the amazing effect of making you feel good and simply even reminding you where “the course” (on that track) is so you can get back to it sooner rather than later.
Before your workout, try a warm cup of lemon water with a dash of cayenne. Surprisingly the cayenne is not too spicy in this mixture and has the added benefit of supporting digestion and elimination as well as detoxing the body of that feast. Ditto for the lemon with its own list of benefits. Think of this as a great way to rinse out. This may send you to the bathroom before your workout, so give yourself a few minutes to think that through before lacing up! (True story. Ha!)
Be deliberate in keeping a bottle of water near you throughout the day, and of course drink it. It sounds silly but it IS easy to forget!
Immediately after a workout, I recommend a recovery smoothy rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein. What is great about this is that you are providing your body with a nutrient-dense meal it has to work very little to break down. This high level of nutrition will aid in restoring your balance and help you fight cravings. A simple recipe can use ½ banana or ¼ avocado for creamy texture, 1 cup of leafy greens such as kale or spinach, 1 cup of frozen berries of your choice, a tbsp. or flax or chia seeds and a scoop of protein powder. Add some ice and 6 oz of your favorite milk, another 6 oz of water and blend to a smooth consistency. It’s that easy and it will help you resume your eating schedule much more easily.
This is key. Resume eating whole foods after recovery. Don’t crash diet. Give the smoothy an hour to digest and then have your first meal of the day. You will feel much better and empowered to break the cheats.
Another thing I like to recommend is adding some fresh juice as a snack or a pick me up. You might be feeling sluggish the day after a big feast and you might find yourself reaching for more caffeine. Try and have a fresh pressed juice instead and truly recharge your batteries. A favorite go-to of mine contains 2-3 leaves (with stems) of kale, 2-3 whole carrots, an apple or a pear with about ½ inch of ginger root.
If you cannot access a juicer consider making an effort to add more greens and fruit to your diet to avoid snacking and enjoy some green tea.
If you have a season of temptation coming up, (I, for example, just had 4 Birthdays and a Big Fat Greek Easter within 1 week, yikes!) consider planning ahead and having things in place to set your recovery plan in motion immediately. It will help you bounce back faster and empower you to make more changes. You are in control. You’ve got this. We’ve got this. Cheers, to your health!
CoachTheresaWV is a Health Coach and Personal Trainer whose goal is to help people transform their life through self-care. She believes in lifestyle habits that include fitness and clean living for their empowering and life-changing effects. As a coach, she helps individuals reach their specific goals and put systems into place for continued improvement and sustained change. A mom of 2, Theresa does this for her children as well as a growing online and community following, helping people reach health and fitness goals one day at a time. Follow her at www.TheresaWV.com on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trainandtransformyourlife/ or email her at CoachTheresaWV@gmail.com for a complimentary consultation.