Experimentation with herbs and essential oils is a glorious thing…
After experiencing several months of immune stress and shut down, I’ve enjoyed new avenues of exploration in health and wellness, including discovering the benefits of numerous plants, including a great new favourite — hyssop from Israel, (which I found was wonderfully delicious sprinkled on salads, scramble eggs, pizza, and just about anything!)
After looking into the health benefits of all manner of plants, including those used as essential oils, I tried a new blend of patchouli, lemon, orange, frankincense, and bergamot, 10 drops each in 2 cups of sweet almond and coconut natural oils. This makes for a wonderful massage oil after exercise and is warming and calmative for strained muscles and aches. By the way, bergamot oil is famously used in Early Grey tea, a favorite beverage of mine, especially on cold wintry evenings.
With all of my plant (planetary?) meanderings, I can’t help notice I’ve found little time to blog. I’ve missed you all, however, since many things bright and beautiful await, I must keep exploring… See you again soon. We’re blessed with a wonderful world…let’s keep savouring good things and make the most of every day.
In focusing on spices for health and wellness, I would be remiss not to mention cardamom. This uniquely flavoured and delicate native spice from India and Nepal is growing more and more in popularity, (in fact, Starbucks has introduced a lovely Cardamom Latte this fall that’s already a ‘fave’ of mine). If you aren’t familiar with this unassuming ‘pod’ its worth looking into.
Available in pods or as a crushed spice, I like adding a pod or two to a cup of steaming black tea. Some people find cardamom minty in flavour, I find it slightly smoky and earthy, a cross between mint and vanilla. Dig around to discover and learn more about cardamom’s goodness. Used in traditional medicine for many years, this spice has valuable antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory benefits, (which is more than enough to make me want to keep it in my spice shelf!) Use and experiment with cardamom for both savoury or dessert preparations, and visit Healthline’s list of cardamom benefits or additional highlights at Organic Facts.net.
AllRecipes.com has a marvellous line-up of cardamom-featuring recipes to try, including two I absolutely love – Chicken Korma (or for a delightful black tea or coffee ‘dunking’ treat), Cardamom and Espresso Chocolate Cookies.
Damp weather and cooler temperatures…snow’s just around the corner in Canada’s mid-west. No better time to focus on preparing homey comfort foods, stews, and broths. As you do so, think about adding spicy elements to meals to boost and strengthen your immune system. I love brightening up a rainy fall day with a hearty bowl of chicken soup. If you’re on the go and can’t find time to make broth, there are plenty of great low-salt brands available, packaged or in tetra packs. I add steamed veggies and a peppery chili or “chilli” paste or lemongrass paste just before removing hot soup from the stove.
Both chili paste or lemongrass add warmth and extra flavour while providing a boost to your immune system. My favourite brand is Gourmet Garden. Browse the company’s website by herb or spice for recipes. These amazing Aussie products are available in many fresh produce and grocery aisles across North America — a fabulous import from Down Under…
I also cannot say enough about the importance of investing in your wellness by choosing quality nutritionals. Vitamins C and D are a must during fall and winter, especially in northern climes. I recommend Proflavanol®C-100 or Proglucamune® from Usana. The benefits of cellular science are many and will help keep your body primed to ward off nasty colds, flus and virus strains.
Enjoy a bright new season of wellness…warmth…and all things good…
We’ve all heard of people who are solid and reliable and referred to as the “salt of the earth“. It’s kudos to them, for without question salt is one of the world’s humblest, most valuable gifts. Esteemed for centuries, common table salt (or NaCl as it’s referred to chemically), is a savoury flavour ‘must’. Today, discreet salt-seekers are prone to choosing sea salt or rock salt (like Himalayan pink salt) (my favorites). Salt derived from the sea or ground from a rock salt like Himalayan salt, can deliver health-boosting trace minerals or elements like potassium, magnesium, zinc and calcium, while not ‘taking over’ food but adding more delicate flavour than regular iodized salt. Sprinkle some on a bowl of plain popped corn or in your next stir-fry. EcoWatch and Healthline provide a good overview of various salts on the market and what to expect in terms of benefits.
Aside from salts we eat, mineral salt blends for aching muscles and a home-spa treatment year-round are a great health treat. Look for natural blends and beauty products that provide rich minerals directly from renowned sites like Israel’s Dead Sea, (I love Ahava products). The Body Shop’s Mediterranean Sea Salt Body Scrub is another awesome body treat. Don’t write off salt. Discover its goodness — for mind, body and soul…
…‘sleep’ is essential, but a great sleep is priceless. There’s nothing worse than not getting quality zzz’s. Although we all have different biorhythms (and some people seem to need less sleep than others), most scientific/wellness reports indicate that getting a solid night’s sleep (at least 7 hours) is invaluable for overall long-term health.
Calcium and D3 and high science core minerals can support a good night’s sleep, (and remember all supplements work best with a healthy diet). I recommend taking mineral supplements daily, and if you’re over 50, a Cal-D3 with your evening meal. For a probiotic boost overnight, take Cal-D3 before bedtime with a glass of plain kefir or 1/2 c. yogurt. Keep in mind — no great night’s sleep is complete without a breathable high-quality mattress and pillows which properly support rest and body alignment. Invest wisely.
And then —there’s bedding. While synthetics and bamboo/cotton blends are popular because of wrinkle-free easy care, cotton is my #1 choice. TomorrowSleep.com offers interesting info on microfiber vs cotton bedding. Last but not least, if you have an outdoor clothesline, there’s nothing better than air-drying or freshening your sheets and quilts outdoors, esp. during winter, for an ozone-scented sleep from wash to wash. Tip: Change your bedding weekly. Live well, sleep well, (sweet dreams 🙂 )
I say ‘tomat-oh’…No matter, because any way you say it, autumn’s ‘the’ season for red and bright coloured foods, and for me nothing adds zest and comfort to life and this time of year quite like the inestimable tomato.
I’ve heard of late that certain ‘wellness gurus’ claim tomatoes are no longer a ‘good’ or even a healthy food. We’ve heard this about all kinds of things, so I won’t even ‘go there’. Instead, I will say that I love the health benefits and low calorie rich fibre benefits of tomatoes. My favorites are vine-ripened, (garden/organic) and bright-tasting bite-size romas, cherry tomatoes, etc. I like to make homemade tomato soup this time of year, and I will continue to judge the goodness of tomatoes not by the latest ‘good for you, bad for you’ reports out there, but by how much this amazing fruit that dresses up as a vegetable continues to pack a load of lycopene, (an important antioxidant) and other positive benefits. Discover 11 good things about tomatoes at organicfacts.net and if you have a favorite tomato soup recipe, let me know. Here’s one I love from AllRecipes.com
Keep loving good eats!
If you’ve already discovered the wonder of essential oils you’ll understand why I call them ‘brainy beauties’. Essential oils are a wonderful and brilliant way to enhance natural healing and wholeness in your daily wellness lifestyle. Essential oils (or ‘E’ for ‘everything’ oils as I call them) are used in many natural beauty products and are worth investing time and money to enjoy and explore the benefits of use.
Dr. Axe’s website provides one of the best overviews in terms of benefits. I’ve been busy lately looking into blends that will help the lymphatic system and strengthen the immune system. We can all use more of that with environmental and other stressors impacting our lives. Both Dr. Axe and websites like mindbodygreen.com offer great suggestions for basic essential oils to have in your wellness arsenal. Do your homework to avoid sensitivities and a good rule of thumb – never use these oils directly on the skin.
Natural Living Ideas recommends a few oils to start out with and recommends some trustworthy quality brands. I find it fun to shop around for unique blends and to experiment making my own. Here’s a simple restorative body oil to make easily at home (great after exercise or to reduce inflammation). Pour 1 c. of coconut oil and 1/4 c. sweet almond oil into a clean glass bottle with a tightly closing lid. Add 20 drops of frankincense and 20 of sweet orange or mandarin essential oil. Shake well and use regularly to enjoy fullest benefits. Essential oils take time to work and absorb with your body. Be patient with essential oils. Benefits are best realized over time. Stay happy and well!