Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon grape root is a flowering perennial, related to the barberry plant. I learned about this herb in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Join me in discovering the healing benefits this plant offers, naturally.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Oregon Grape Root Info & Nutrition

Oregon grape is native to western North America and it is especially prevalent in the Pacific Northwest, as the name suggests. The herb is bushy, with shiny holly-like leaves. It is commonly found in mountainous regions and adapts more easily to its environment than the barberry herb does.

The plant reaches two to six feet in height and produces small blackish-blue berries that resemble tiny grapes. Oregon grape berries are edible but not palatable, possessing an intensely tart flavor. It’s the golden yellow root that’s used medicinally. The herb is often substituted for goldenseal, as the two have similar properties.

Like goldenseal, the Oregon grape plant contains the same powerful alkaloid, berberine, making it an herbal antibiotic.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Benefits of Oregon Grape Root

Include this supplemental herb in the diet to receive these healing benefits:

• Improves liver health by killing viruses and bacteria inside the liver and preventing them from invading the heart. Oregon grape root improves bile production and reduces pathogenic activity in the intestinal tract, which allows nutrients to be absorbed better.

• Heals skin irritations and conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

• Strengthens bone marrow and assists chemotherapy and radiation patients in their recovery.

• Soothes the digestive tract. The bitterness of this herb has a positive effect on the digestive system. It soothes and sedates the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract. Because it stimulates the flow of bile as well, the herb’s properties loosen wastes in the intestines and help prevent a myriad of complications such as constipation, stomach cramps, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, gallbladder disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Fights infections resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA. Oregon grape root is effective in treating eye infections, skin wounds and urinary tract infections.

Oregon Grape Root Benefits

Using Oregon Grape Root

As a supplement Oregon grape root can be purchased dried to brew tea, and in tincture and capsule form. Use in the same way as goldenseal, for a couple of weeks at a time, with at least three weeks between use.

Order Oregon grape root supplements through the links below.

Check out my Amazon Storefront to order Oregon grape root or other supplements.

Cindy Moore Amazon Storefront

Or order through this link:

 

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Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, a member of the brassica group. Other veggies in this family include cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. Many people think they dislike Brussels sprouts, partially because they look like miniature cabbages.

Not only are they full of flavor, they are packed with nutrients as well. Learn more about this versatile vegetable and give them another try.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels Sprouts Facts & Nutrition

These little vegetables became popular in Brussels, Belgium, which is where they get their name. They grow in clusters on a large single stalk. Brussels sprouts have been eaten regularly in Belgium since the 13th century, although it’s possible they go way back to Ancient Rome.

Brussels sprouts grew well in areas with cool climates, such as the Netherlands. Eventually these crops spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. Today, Brussels sprouts are enjoyed across Europe and North America. Several thousands of acres are planted in coastal areas of California, the US state that produces the highest yield of Brussels sprouts due to its coastal fog and cool temperatures year around.

High in antioxidants, Brussels sprouts are anti-inflammatory, and rich with vitamins A, C and K. They also contain folate, manganese, potassium, thiamin, fiber, omega-3s and iron.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Brussels Sprouts Benefits

The many health benefits of these veggies and their ease of acquiring and preparing should put them at the top of a grocery shopping list. Bring more Brussels sprouts into the diet to boost health in these ways:

• Sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts cleanse the liver as they loosen old toxins and poisons in the cells. The sulfur bonds to the toxins and stays with them as they are flushed from the body.

• Lowers risk of cancer as they protect against free radical damage, or oxidative stress, and DNA-mutation.

• Strengthens bones. The high vitamin K content keeps the skeletal structure healthy and helps to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis or bone fractures due to loss of bone mineral density. Vitamin K also helps with blood clotting, bone calcification and turning off inflammation in the body.

• Boosts the immune system. Vitamin C acts as a protective antioxidant in the body, reducing inflammation and cell damage which results in protection against bacteria, viruses, toxins and other harmful invaders that can cause diseases.

• Reduces risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. Vitamins C and K, antioxidants and omega-3s in Brussels sprouts work together to keep arteries clean from plague buildup, to lower cholesterol levels, to fight high blood pressure, to increase blood flow and to maintain healthy, strong blood vessels. These benefits reduce the chance of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications.

• Restores digestive health. Glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts protect the sensitive lining of the digestive tract and stomach, reducing the chances of developing leaky gut syndrome or other digestive disorders. Sulfurs help to detoxify the digestive system while a high fiber content keeps it running smoothly.

• Protects eye and skin health. Vitamin C fights UV light damage that can lead to skin cancer and aging, while vitamin A offers protection against damage to the skin as well as the eyes. Consuming Brussels sprouts helps to slow aging, boost the skin’s immunity, and fosters new cell growth.

• Improves brain health. Brussels sprouts’ powerful antioxidants, vitamins C and A, and other nutrients stop oxidative stress and inflammation that are capable of damaging brain cells.

• Balances blood sugar and fights diabetes. Brussels sprouts contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels. This compound increases insulin sensitivity and prevents pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes. It also helps reduce complications for those with existing diabetes by managing blood glucose and preventing further oxidative stress and inflammation.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Ways to Enjoy Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed raw in salads and slaws or run through a juicer with other veggies and fruits. They can also be lightly sautéed, steamed or roasted. Cooking Brussels sprouts lightly brings out a sweeter flavor while retaining crunch and nutrients.

This vegetable pairs well with other veggies such as onions, carrots, and garlic. There are many excellent recipes that can be found on Pinterest.

Try these Garlic Brussels Sprouts as a side dish or pair with roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes for a healthy and satisfying main dish. Just try them. Again. And reap amazing benefits.

Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Cold weather makes me crave warm comfort food. This easy to pull together Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has all the right ingredients to quality as comfort food. Plus this plant based version, adapted from a recipe by budgetbytes.com, is full of healthy goodness, making it guilt free!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked lentils

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced or chopped

2 cups green peas, cooked

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon gluten free flour

1 cup vegetable broth

4 cups mashed potatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until softened. Add carrots and celery and continue to sauté until veggies are cooked through. Add salt, thyme, paprika and pepper to vegetables, stirring and continuing to cook.

Sprinkle flour, stirring to coat veggies. Add vegetable broth and peas. Simmer over low heat until gravy thickens slightly. Add cooked lentils. Mix well.

Turn veggie mixture into 2 quart oven proof casserole container. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes, or until mixture is hot and bubbly. Turn oven to broil, if desired, and brown potato topping slightly. Watch carefully so Potatoes don’t burn. Let cool five minutes and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Tips

I prepared the lentils in the pressure pot, using 1 cup dried lentils and 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Cook for 6 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. Or lentils can be prepared in a small saucepan on the stovetop.

While lentils cooked, and cut up potatoes bubbled on the stove, I sautéed the pie filling. As the mixture simmered, I drained the potatoes and mashed them with a small amount of unsweetened almond coconut milk. Vegetable broth can be used too. Create a design on the mashed potato topping by using the tines of a fork.

I broiled the potato topping for 6 – 7 minutes, to brown slightly, checking often to prevent burning.

Enjoy!

This plant based Lentil Shepherd’s Pie was delicious! The veggie mixture was perfect. However, other veggies such as mushrooms could be added as well, making this recipe very adaptable.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie goes into my weekly rotation, especially during the cold winter months! Let me know if you try this recipe.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Goldenseal Health Benefits

Although I’ve only recently discovered the healing properties of Goldenseal, this plant is one of the top selling medicinal herbs in the United States.

Native Americans used it for years as a treatment for skin disorders. Goldenseal is now appreciated for a variety of health boosting reasons.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

What is Goldenseal?

This perennial herb is a member of the Buttercup family. The sprawling plants grow low to the ground, preferring rich shady soil in the forests of North America. Goldenseal’s name comes from the yellow-gold scars that form on the base of a stem when it gets broken. The scars resemble a gold wax letter seal, hence the name.

The plants have fuzzy stems with five to seven jagged, lobed leaves. Its small white flowers turn into raspberry-like red berries. Goldenseal roots are bright yellow or brown, twisted, and have a sharp, bitter taste.

The underground stems and roots of the herbaceous plant are dried and used to make teas, tinctures and capsules. Goldenseal’s powerful healing benefits are due to the alkaloids berberine, canadine and hydrastine. These phytochemicals produce an astringent effect on mucous membranes, reduce disease-causing inflammation and have antiseptic properties.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

Goldenseal Benefits

Include this herb in the diet for these healing benefits:

• Liver health. Destroys pathogens, both bacterial and viral, in the liver. Goldenseal expels bacterial debris, viral byproducts, neurotoxins and other pathogenic wastes. It also benefits the nearby lymphatic system.

• Natural antibiotic and immune booster. When combined with echinacea, Goldenseal enhances immunity by increasing antigen-specific antibody production. This powerful duo is a natural bronchitis remedy and aids in the fight against allergies, cold and flu.

• Fights cancer. The berberine in Goldenseal has been found to induce cell cycle death in cancer cells in multiple studies. Berberine also shows promise in destroying tumor cells.

• Improves digestive health. The herb’s bitterness stimulates appetite, aids digestion and encourages bile secretion. The berberine in Goldenseal relieves bacterial diarrhea and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) symptoms.

It also helps to heal gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis, constipation and hemorrhoids. Goldenseal inhibits the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that can cause gastritis, ulcers and stomach cancer.

• Heals mouth disorders. A tea can be made from the herb and used as a mouthwash to heal sore throats, gum irritation, and canker sores while reducing inflammation and bacteria in the mouth.

• Protects heart health. The berberine in Goldenseal helps to treat arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. It improves heart function and health in general by lowering bad cholesterol.

• Heals skin ailments. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, Goldenseal is effective against acne, eczema, dry skin and psoriasis. It can even help eliminate dandruff.

Goldenseal Health Benefits

How to Use Goldenseal

The herb is available dried for teas, in tincture form and as capsules. Look for Goldenseal products in health stores and health conscious grocery stores or purchase online. See links below.

To brew tea, add 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried Goldenseal to one cup of hot water. Cover cup and let tea steep for 15 minutes. Add raw honey to sweeten, if desired.

It is recommended that use of this herbal supplement not exceed three weeks at a time. Use for up to three weeks and then take a break of at least two weeks between uses.

Check out my new Amazon Storefront, for Goldenseal and other supplements and products. Or order Goldenseal by clicking links below.

Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

 

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Most of us know that carrots are considered good for the eyes. However this versatile and popular root vegetable is packed with nutrition and healing properties that go beyond eye health.

Check out these top 6 reasons to eat carrots.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Carrot Nutrition

Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A, and they provide ample amounts of vitamins B, C, D, E and K. Carrots are a rich source of vital minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. They are highly cleansing due to their fiber content, and an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Carrots have been cultivated for thousands of years. They originated in parts of Asia and the Middle East. Western carrots, common in the US, are primarily orange in color and sometimes called carotene carrots.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

Top Healing Benefits

Bring more carrots into the diet, for the following benefits.

• Good for the liver. Carrots deliver important glucose to the liver, along with crucial vitamins and minerals. Raw carrots are high in antiseptic phytochemical compounds that inhibit the growth of unhealthy microorganisms.

• Protect the brain. Carrots help to prevent Alzheimer’s, improve memory, and protect against other types of cognitive decline. This is due to carrots’ ability to lower oxidative stress in the brain, which can weaken nerve signaling ability.

• Defend against cancer. Consuming high amounts of carotenoids from fruits and vegetables can protect against cancer recurrence. Studies show that the antioxidants in carrots lower inflammation, which fights leukemia cells and reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancers.

• Lowers the risks of heart disease and strokes. Eating more deep orange colored vegetables, such as carrots, decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in women. Carrots lower oxidative stress which improves the body’s defense against cardiovascular disease. Carrots also lower cholesterol and boost bile production, which increases the body’s ability to digest fat. This aids the digestive system in properly absorbing nutrition from food.

• Improves skin health. Beta carotene is important for healing wounds. Carrots have been used for hundreds of years in poultices. They heal infections, cuts, and other wounds by increasing the skin’s ability to heal faster and to fight infection, irritation and inflammation.

• And, carrots are important for eye health. Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health and help to prevent macular degeneration and even blindness. Lutein and zeaxanthin work to reduce the risk of age-related vision loss.

Carrots contain very high amounts of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene. This vitamin is necessary to protect the eyes, especially as the body ages.

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

How to Consume Carrots

There are several ways to benefit from the healing properties in carrots.

• Raw carrots have a higher fiber content. Look for organic carrots. They don’t have to be peeled, as there are nutrients in the skin. Just scrub the carrots with a brush to eliminate dirt and debris. Eat raw carrots as snacks, dip into hummus, add to salads or grate and add to veggie rolls.

• Cooked carrots may have higher antioxidant properties than raw. Add carrots to soups, stews, mixed veggie dishes, sautés and stir fries or steam them as a vegetable side dish.

• Juice carrots. Add carrots to juice blends or juice alone. Juicing delivers live enzymes and concentrated nutritional benefits to the body in an easily digestible format. Carrot juice boosts immunity, raises energy levels, and aids digestion.

There are many juice combinations that are not only healthy but extremely tasty. Try juicing carrots with apples, celery, ginger and lemons. Check out these two juice recipes HERE that contain carrots.

I add chopped carrots to simple stir fries, along with onion, garlic and celery. This weekend I’ll be trying a vegan shepherd pie, containing lentils, carrots, onions and garlic, topped with dairy free mashed potatoes.

Watch for the recipe next Tuesday!

Top 6 Reasons to Eat Carrots

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Tea bags are readily available to purchase. And packages of fresh or dried herbs and flowers are available as well. It’s easy and fun to create tea blends that soothe or heal a number of ailments.

Today’s Try This Tuesday post includes some of my favorite DIY tea blends.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

What You Will Need

Enjoying freshly brewed tea at home requires a few simple items.

• a mesh tea ball or mesh basket and mug set, to hold loose tea

• glass containers to store loose herbs in

• teaspoons – I enjoy using wooden ones

• a teapot with a lid, to steep larger servings of tea

• an assortment of fun tea cups or mugs

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Thyroid Healing Tea

by Anthony William

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Clear Skin Tea

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Immune Support Tea

1 teaspoon dried peppermint

1 teaspoon dried echinacea

1 teaspoon dried lemongrass

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Digestion Support Tea

1 teaspoon dried chamomile

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried mint

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Liver Strengthening Tea

by Anthony William

1 teaspoon dried burdock root

1 teaspoon dried red clover

1 teaspoon dried dandelion

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Sore Throat Tea

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried licorice root

1 teaspoon dried rose hips

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Hot Flashes Tea

1 teaspoon dried hibiscus

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon dried nettle

1 teaspoon dried raspberry leaf

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Combine herbs in mesh ball or basket and place in very hot water. Steep for 15 minutes. Add honey if desired.

Colds, Allergies, Flu Tea

I make this one by the teapot and sip on it all day. I’ve warded off colds and general feelings of “coming down with something”, by drinking a pot of this tea.

In a large mesh tea ball, combine:

2 teaspoons dried nettle leaf

2 teaspoons dried peppermint

2 teaspoons dried elderflowers

2 teaspoons dried lemon balm

1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (optional)

Add mesh ball full of herbs to large tea pot. Fill with boiling water, cover, and steep for 15-20 minutes. Add honey if desired. I place a tea cozy over the pot and keep the tea warm.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Create Your Own Tea Blends

Become familiar with the healing properties of different herbs and you can create your own custom tea blends. I recommend Anthony’s books, Life Changing Foods and Liver Rescue, for info about powerful herbs. Or Google “herbs for headaches” or whatever ailment is troubling you to find suggestions.

The mesh tea balls can be purchased at health food stores or kitchenware shops. They come in different sizes.

Dried herbs are available in health food stores and health conscious grocery stories, or online. Often they can be purchased by the ounce. Another great option is to begin growing them in containers or a small herb garden. The practice of gardening increases the health benefits!

If you have favorite tea blends, share in the comments. And watch the blog for more DIY blends.

DIY Tea Blends to Make for Different Ailments

Order Anthony’s books and a mug infuser set below.

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Mullein: The Common Weed that Heals

Mullein is an herb has been used medicinally since ancient times. The leaves, flowers and roots of the mullein plant are all used. I’m most familiar with this plant as a common weed that grows in my area. How wonderful to discover its healing benefits.

Mullein The Common Weed that Heals

What is Mullein?

There are three hundred species of this biennial or perennial herb in the Verbascum family. Common mullein grows up to seven feet tall and has a single stem with large, thick, velvety leaves and pale yellow flowers.

Mullein contains flavonoids, saponins, tannins, terpenoids, glycosides, proteins and oils. It also contains mucilage, a substance thought to be responsible for the soothing actions the herb has on mucous membranes. Mullein’s saponins contribute to the plant’s expectorant properties.

Mullein The Common Weed that Heals

Mullein’s Healing Benefits

This herb has amazing healing properties.

• Treats ear infections due to astringent properties. Tinctures containing mullein or a combination of mullein and other herbs can be found in health stores and online. They are a natural remedy for ear aches and infections.

Mullein tincture or oil can also be used as a natural way to treat ear infections in dogs.

• Reduces inflammation in the liver, calming spasms and soothing toxic liver heat. It decreases mucus formation within the liver’s blood vessels and cells and expels it.

• Powerful disinfectant, treating internal infections in the urinary tract, kidney and colon, and external infections on the skin.

• Eases bursitis, a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near joints. Bursitis occurs when the bursae become inflamed. The most common locations are the shoulders, elbows and hip joints. A clean cloth can be soaked in mullein tea and then applied to the inflamed area, to ease pain.

• Improves respiratory disorders including bronchitis, dry coughs, sore throats, hoarseness, asthma and tonsillitis. Mullein leaves contain powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that rid the body of mucus and soothe raw, inflamed areas such as the throat.

Mullein The Common Weed that Heals

How to Use Mullein

Mullein may be purchased as a powder, tincture, oil, capsule or in dried form to make tea. It’s also available in tea bags, alone or combined with other herbs.

Add 1 -2 teaspoons of dried mullein leaves or flowers to 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes. Slightly warmed mullein oil or tincture can be dropped in an aching ear to treat infections.

I currently use an alcohol free mullein tincture, ingesting one dropperful twice a day. I’ll be adding mullein tea to my hot tea rotation or combining it with other herbs for a powerful healing blend.

In the summertime, mullein can be found growing as a weed in areas where the ground has been disturbed. This plant grows in my backyard garden, and I’ve pulling it up and tossing it! No longer.

The plant is easily recognizable by its tall spire of small yellow flowers. Check out this video about identifying and foraging for mullein. Or order online by clicking links below.

Mullein The Common Weed that Heals

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of these products, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

Health Boosting Acorn Squash

I’ve eaten a lot of summer squash…the yellow kind and zucchini. However a less than successful attempt, years ago, to prepare a big spaghetti squash left me leery of the many other varieties available.

My desires to try new things, to eat nutrient dense foods and to come up with something fresh for holiday meals all coalesced when a cashier at Natural Grocers handed me a recipe card featuring stuffed acorn squash. Not only did the recipe turn out great, I also discovered that acorn squash is full of health boosting properties.

Health Boosting Acorn Squash

What is an Acorn Squash?

Named for its acorn shape, this winter squash is part of the Cucurbita family of vegetables. It was a staple in the diet of many Native American tribes. Acorn squash, like the butternut squash, is packed with essential nutrients that include: vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium, manganese, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, folate, calcium, phosphorus and copper. It’s also high in protein and fiber.

Most acorn squashes are dark green with a hint of orange near the top, but they can also be golden yellow or white.

There is a difference in the nutritional value of raw acorn squash versus cooked. In baked acorn squash, the quality increases significantly for almost every vitamin and mineral. However, three important antioxidants found in raw acorn squash…beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin…drops to zero when cooked. For that reason, it’s good to eat acorn squash both raw and cooked.

Health Boosting Acorn Squash

Health Benefits of Acorn Squash

Winter squash is known for its disease fighting, immunity boosting properties. Include more acorn squash for these benefits:

• Fights free radical damage. Acorn squash is high in antioxidants, which helps to maintain a healthy body. Free radicals cause inflammation, increasing the risks for diseases such as cancer. The carotenoids in acorn squash help prevent and fight various types of cancer, including skin, breast, lung and prostate cancer.

• Boosts the immune system due to its high vitamin C content and antibacterial and antiviral properties. Not only can extra vitamin C help fight off the common cold and flu, it also keeps the body from becoming even more ill due to complications from common illnesses such as pneumonia. Vitamin C lowers inflammation in the body, fighting infection and disease.

• Reduces high blood pressure, due to its potassium content.

• Protects against neurotoxicity, a toxicity from natural or chemical substances that can lead to permanent nervous system damage. One cause of this condition is exposure to conventional treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation. Eating acorn squash helps protect against lasting injury as a result of these treatments.

• Improves skin for a healthier, more youthful glow. Vitamin C promotes the production of collagen, which helps skin stay clear and wrinkle free. The potassium found in acorn squash reduces the appearance of cellulite in the skin by eliminating the fluid retention common in high-sodium diets.

• Supports prostate health by increasing urinary tract flow and decreasing the swelling of the prostate gland. Another related benefit of acorn squash is its ability to improve prostate health in patients with diabetes. Diabetes is linked to other types of damage caused by oxidative stress. High amounts of vitamin C regulate the function of antioxidants within the prostate and improve the body’s defense against damage to the prostate.

• The high fiber in acorn squash supports healthy digestion and the efficient absorption of nutrients from food. This results in a significant reduction of high blood pressure and improves the levels of fats and cholesterol in the bloodstream, lowering the risks for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Health Boosting Acorn Squash

How to Prepare Acorn Squash

Select firm acorn squash, without soft spots. Slice in two, length wise, and remove seeds, which are similar in appearance to pumpkin seeds. And like pumpkin seeds, acorn squash seeds are edible.

It’s easy to bake the squash halves. Rub the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg or cinnamon. Bake on parchment covered baking sheet, cut side down, for 30 – 40 minutes. The squash can be eaten plain or stuffed with rice and veggies. Try this Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe.

Acorn squash can be peeled, cubed and steamed. Or cut into bite sized pieces and added raw to salads. I’m excited to try an acorn squash soup recipe next!

Health Boosting Acorn Squash

Two New Holiday Recipes

As we near Thanksgiving, I tested a couple of plant based recipes that are suitable for the holidays. Both were a success!

The main question I get this time of year, about living the plant based lifestyle, is this one: “What about the holidays? Do you stay plant based then?”

The answer is simple. Yes I do. If I ate meat and foods heavy with butter, milk, sugar and eggs…I’d feel sick. Immediately. I’m not tempted at all by such foods.

My family prepares a traditional holiday meal, for Thanksgiving, and I bring plant based foods to eat and to share. It works out fine.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Stuffed Acorn Squash

This dish came together easily and was savory and satisfying. I adapted this recipe from one that I picked up at Natural Grocers.

Ingredients

2 acorn squash

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Sea salt & pepper to taste

1 cup brown rice

1 1/2 – 2 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons apple juice sweetened dried cranberries

1 small yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 pears, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons dried sage or 4 tablespoons fresh, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Two New Holiday Recipes

Two New Holiday Recipes

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut each squash in half, length wise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Rub squash flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle each half with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place on parchment covered baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is tender.

In a pressure pot combine rice, vegetable broth and salt, bring to pressure and allow to cook for 25 minutes. Allow natural release. OR combine rice with 2 cups of broth and salt in small sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork.

Soak cranberries in bowl of water. Set aside. In skillet sauté onions, celery and garlic in olive oil until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add pears, sage, thyme and salt and cook 2 more minutes. Drain cranberries and add to veggies, along with walnuts and cooked rice.

Transfer cooked squash halves to baking pan, cut side up. Mound stuffing mixture into squash halves. Add any leftover stuffing to pan, piling around squash halves. Cover pan with foil or oven proof lid. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

The stuffed squash was wonderful! Greg and I each ate half an acorn squash and saved the other two to accompany us to the family Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll add a chopped salad and fresh cranberry relish and that will be my healthy and delicious holiday meal!

Apples could be substituted for the pears and mushrooms could be added as well. I loved the sweetness of the pears and the crunch of the walnuts. This was my first experience cooking acorn squash. I’ll certainly make these again.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Vegan Pumpkin Bread

This one bowl recipe, that I found on Pinterest, comes from Beaming Baker.

Wet Ingredients

1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, whisked together, allowed to set for 5 minutes)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

2 cups gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8.5×4.5 or 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Add the wet ingredients to a large bowl: pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, sugar, flax egg, and vanilla. Whisk together.

In the same bowl, add the dry ingredients: oat flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Stir together until just combined, making sure no flour patches remain. Batter will be stiff.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer. Using a butter knife, cut a slit down the top of the loaf, making it slightly off center. This will create a beautiful split down the top of the loaf as it bakes. Bake for 50-65 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a toothpick into the center of the loaf. The toothpick will come out clean when the loaf is done.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 2-3 hours, or until completely cool. Lift out, slice and enjoy!

This pumpkin bread is perfect! It looks a bit dry, out of the oven, however it’s not when sliced. The texture is light. The flavor is just right…not too sweet and subtly spiced. I just had a couple of slices with hot tea. Bliss!

Tomorrow I’ll prepare another loaf of pumpkin bread to take to the family gathering, plus the chopped salad, cranberry relish and a black bean/corn salsa with non GMO chips for an appetizer. I’m also baking a batch of vegan wacky cake cupcakes. It will be a fun day of talking, laughing, and feasting. I’m full of gratitude already.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you find much to be grateful for, including health, vitality and wellbeing.

Two New Holiday Recipes

Cardamom’s Amazing Benefits

This spice from India is often called the Queen of Spices. The seeds are aromatic and add a unique, spicy flavor to any food or drink. Cardamom is a versatile spice for culinary purposes. It has amazing health benefits as well.

Cardamom’s Amazing Benefits

What is Cardamom?

This warming spice originated in Southern Asia and India. A member of the ginger family, it is the seed pod that provides the spice. The plants were introduced to North America in 1670 by British colonial settlers. Guatemala is currently the largest producer.

Cardamom is rich in manganese, iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. It also provides protein and fiber.

Cardamom’s Amazing Benefits

Health Benefits of Cardamom

Cardamom is a natural remedy for the following conditions:

• Eliminates bad breath. Chewing on cardamom seeds is effective for cleansing the breath, plus its antiseptic properties kill bacteria that cause cavities in teeth and infections in the mouth.

• Increases bile production and rejuvenates a sluggish, stagnant, overheated liver.

• Inhibits, delays or reverses cancerous tumors.

• Antioxidant properties lower blood pressure and support heart and kidney health.

• High manganese content prevents the onset of diabetes.

• Soothes gastrointestinal disorders such as acidity, flatulence, stomach aches and stomach cramps. Studies have shown that cardamom also has gastroprotective effects that help to prevent stomach ulcers.

• Dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, increasing airflow to the lungs. Cardamom helps to make breathing easier, which benefits anyone suffering from asthma or shortness of breath.

Cardamom’s Amazing Benefits

How to Use Cardamom

This spice may be purchased as seed pods or in powdered form. Most recipes that call for cardamom specify ground cardamom, which is readily available in the spice section at the grocery store.

Cardamom seeds may be purchased in health conscious grocery stores or online. See link below.

I keep both ground cardamom and the seed pods in my kitchen. Tonight I created a cardamom tea to enjoy.

In a small saucepan add 1 cup of water, 2 teaspoons organic honey, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 6 cardamom seed pods (or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom) and simmer for 10 minutes. While tea simmers, warm 3/4 cup non dairy milk, such as almond or coconut. Strain tea into a large mug. Add warmed milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

This is a wonderfully warming drink with just the right amount of spiciness, making it perfect for cold winter evenings. Enjoy the aroma and the flavor…and all the healing benefits!

Cardamom’s Amazing Benefits

Order cardamom seed pods below.

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