Saturday, April 30, 2011

Healing Soup & New Toys in the Kitchen (again!)

Hey there folks! I have been a little lax on the blogging lately as I have been SUPER busy in my day-to-day these past few weeks! So anyway, I now have tons to write so let's get to it!

To start with, I was feeling the seasons change a couple weeks ago and I caught whatever bug was going around around. It was body aches, sore throat, and general icky-ness for about 2 weeks as I continued to do my millions of things without stopping, working, riding the bus everywhere (because our car was out of commission for a little while), not taking time to prepare healing foods, etc. So at the end of the 2 weeks, I had to work at my job-job on Thursday, and my part-time gig half the day Friday, and then I was beat! I took the evening to rest, but Saturday I was still feeling bad, but slightly better, so I decided to get someone to work for me Sunday so I could have that extra day to heal my immune system.

I was looking for something I could do to aid my immune system in the healing process, so I did some research and discovered some key ingredients that I wanted to get into my system.

1. Garlic:
     This age old superfood is a member of the Allium family of veggies, along with onions, chives, shallots, and leeks, and is known for being a powerful antioxidant as well as being antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-coagulant, and helps to maintain healthy blood circulation. Need I say more? I could probably do an entire blog on how awesome garlic is and, luckily, I love the stuff so this was no problem getting into my diet! :)

2. Lemon:
     High in Vitamin C and full of phytochemicals, which are chemical compounds found in plants that help boost the immune system and keep cells healthy!

3. Ginger:
     Known as a "warming" herb that is good for the digestive & circulatory systems, as well as being a good treatment for colds, aches & pains, and coughs...and it's yummy to boot!

4. Honey
     For sweetness, yes, but also good for the throat, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, & anti-fungal

...and so I brewed a tea. Hot water with all of the above (except the garlic which I chopped up and swallowed) Another really good tea/ingredient for sickness-healing is Astragalus. I have a really delicious blended tea with this in it and I swear it helped me get over my cold as well. It contains virus-fighting complex sugar molecules called polysaccharides, which help to boost the immune system, and also contains antioxidants as well as being antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

So, with this tea in hand, I decided to also make myself a healing soup for lunch. Something I could use to beat up any bad bacteria or virus in my system...which led me to remember my probiotics! Probiotics are friendly bacteria that thrive in the colon and help your body fight off sickness and dis-ease. These can be found in things like kimchee, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. I happen to love most of these (with the exception of the dairy yogurt) and have actually been really wanting to make my own coconut kefir, but that's for another day. Again with the phytochemicals - caratenoids found in yellow, red, and orange veggies - I decided carrot would be good, as well as some sea veggies for a mineral-rich kick and a good source of iodine, B vitamins, iron, and calcium...for which I had some Pacific Nori in my cabinet. This was an impromptu dish but it turned out amazing!

Here is the approximate recipe I used for the soup:

3-4 T Miso
1-2 Carrots, shredded
1 peice of Nori, torn into shreds
Pinch of Cayenne 
(a pepper with powerful mucus loosening & immune boosting properties)

I boiled the carrot & nori until soft, but saved the water containing all the nutrients that boiled out. Then it was time to let the water cool. You don't want to cook miso in water that is too hot or you will kill the friendly bacteria that live inside, and for sure you never want to boil it. You want these guys to survive and make it to the ecosystem that is your gut. :-) You can do the finger test, put your finger in the water and if you can hold it in there for at least 5 seconds, it should be ok for the miso. 

The good news is, it totally worked! I was feeling way better in no time after I ate this soup, and combined with my extra day of rest, I was back to good! :)

Ok so, on to other things...

LONG POST, I know! 
I have a new best friend in my kitchen...again...and it's name is Breville! 

It was still drying from being used this morning, so I just took a pic of the box but, oh! I am in love!! This baby makes a mad juice like you neva' seen! :D
Here is the deliciousness I made this morning: Apple, Carrot, Ginger, Strawberry ♥♥♥!!! So yes, the days are warming up, and the juicer is here to make me cooling, nourshing, fanfreakintastic drinks and I couldn't be happier!

On the note of being happy, I have to say I am thrilled to announce that I am also now working (volunteer for now) at a local wellness center doing multimedia work and helping out with office duties, and absolutely loving it! I may not be making any money at it, as of yet, but I am thrilled just to be working in a place that makes people happier and healthier and it is a definite breather from my normal job as a bartendress. (:

I am still focusing strongly on working through my nutrition training, which is going super well, and I am glad just to have an opportunity to stretch my wings and gain a little experience in the wellness world. I am loving it so far, and it is also making me realize that I wish there were more hours in the day to do all the things I wish I had time for! But, one thing at a time. It's good to be busy doing things that make me happy. I find that it's all about working and living toward finding our own happiness. It is so important to be moving in the direction of getting paid to do what you are passionate about, because you are selling hours of your life, and you want to make it worth your time and least that's how I see it.

So, hooray for future planning and hooray for spring! The weather has remained fairly cool, here in Oregon, but with several sunny warm-ish days popping up and certainly TONS of beautiful flowers blooming all over the place! I will leave you now with some pics of the beautimus live things we have planted in and around our house this spring...followed by a funny video parody about plastic bags.

Have a lovely day! :)

Bought these guys on Earth Day

and made them friends! :)

had to give the leftovers their own home

This is our kitchen basil and spider plant, doing well! 

and Dark Eyes, also purchased on Earth Day

they had lots of different colors of these, they were all so beautiful it was hard to decide!

That's it for now, hopefully I will have garden pics to post soon! 

Enjoy the video! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vegan Choices Help the World, and You! :)

I am not saying that everyone should be, or needs to be 100 % vegan, but I think it's important to understand the facts and implications of our actions and be conscious in our decision making, remembering that all of our choices have implications on our bodies and the world around us. Choose to respect yourself and others as much as you can, even if you are not a vegan. I am not completely 100% vegan, but I know that my actions and choices are powerful and I think that just by choosing to eat vegan more often, and demanding vegan options of our merchants, we are helping to save energy and water while also helping our own bodies by lowering the intake of acidic animal fats that, in large amounts, can lead to problems like heart disease and cancer.* Even if you are not a vegan, it is important that we all be aware of these issues. Hope you are all having a beautiful week and I will leave you with this video:

*Plus, vegan foods are yummy and chocked full of vital vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to thrive!

*Send out some love to your local organic merchants. Buy or grow some of your own delicious foods! :)