Lemons & Limes

I associate lemons with summertime. Hot, muggy weather conjures up images of tall glasses of cold lemonade and iced tea with a wedge of lemon tucked within. I used to enjoy frozen lemon sorbet or lemon meringue pie this time of year, so it seems appropriate to feature these citrus fruits today for Food Friday.

Lemons and Limes

My association with lemon’s sister fruit, lime, is not as strong. In fact, until recently, I didn’t think I liked limes. My relationship with limes came from green, “lime flavored” Life Savers and other hard candies. I never like the green ones! Looking back now I realize that was a very poor judgment against limes, as the flavored candies didn’t offer an accurate taste experience.

In the book Life Changing Foods, Anthony William shares that the roots of lemon and lime trees go deep into the earth, drawing up dozens of trace minerals that get passed on to us when we consume the fruits. They also offer valuable traces of bioavailable sodium and mineral salts, making them ultra hydrating and electrolyte producing.

Lemons and limes have the most highly absorbable vitamin C available. They also offer bioactive calcium and phytochemicals, called limonoids, that bind the calcium and vitamin C together. This enhances the bioavailability of each and creates alkalinity in the body, which helps to prevent the growth of most cancers.

Lemons and Limes

These two fruits have powerful antioxidant properties that fight against disease. Lemons, in particular, help to expel mucus, making it useful when dealing with colds, flu, bronchitis or pneumonia. Both citrus fruits are amazing cleansers of the liver, kidneys, spleen, thyroid and gallbladder. They rid those organs of toxic substances such as plastics, synthetic chemicals, radiation, and nutrient poor foods.

When going through any type of detox, it’s a great idea to drink a lemon or lime water first thing in the morning. Lemon or lime water flushes the toxins out of the body, that the liver draws out. Freshly squeezed juice is a great antibacterial, antiseptic cleanser for small cuts or abrasions, helping to prevent staph infections. And a warm cup of lemon or lime water, with honey added, calms busy electrical impulses and neurotransmitters, aiding in a restful night’s sleep.

I use freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice frequently when I make healthy sauces and dressings. And I use lime juice, squeezed directly onto foods after cooking, to bring out their best flavors. I also keep a pitcher of lemon/lime water in the refrigerator and make sure I drink at least one glassful a day. I’ve shifted from using an occasional lemon wedge in my water and avoiding limes completely, to keeping these citrus fruits on hand and using them daily. I am grateful for the healing power and zesty tang of lemons and limes!

Lemons and Limes

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

I love melons. Chilled chunks of cantaloupe and watermelon, combined in a big bowl, or served individually, makes a satisfying summer meal. I’ve already experienced adding watermelon to juices and smoothies. Watermelon/mint is a great combo for a refreshing smoothie.

I had not tried creating a smoothie from cantaloupe…until today.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Anthony William posted an easy smoothie recipe a few days ago, calling it Cinnamon & Vanilla Cantaloupe Smoothie. It looked wonderful and I was excited to try it.

Last night my daughter Adriel and son-in-law Nate gave Greg and me a HUGE cantaloupe, the biggest one I’ve ever seen. It was perfectly ripe and its sweet scent filled the house. I knew what I would be creating for Try This Tuesday!

Cantaloupe Smoothie by Anthony William

1 cantaloupe, roughly chopped (or half a HUGE cantaloupe)

1 cup of ice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla

1 – 2 tablespoons of raw organic honey, if cantaloupe isn’t very sweet.

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

This yummy smoothie not only packs the flavor, it delivers health benefits as well.

Cinnamon has the highest antioxidant level among all foods. Cinnamon helps to ease nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion and arthritis. It lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar.

Vanilla has a calming effect on the nervous system and reduces anxiety and stress. The aroma of vanilla has been shown to induce feelings of happiness and relaxation. The active ingredient in vanilla…vanillin…soothes an upset stomach, aids digestion and eases headaches.

And cantaloupe is high in vitamin C, which is important for supporting the immune system and fighting bacterial and viral infections. This melon relieves nervousness and calms anxieties. It keeps the heartbeat normal and regulated when under stress, while keeping muscles relaxed and free from cramps and hypertension. Cantaloupe helps to remove excess sodium from the body, reducing water retention and bloating. (Info from Anthony William.)

I enjoyed sipping on this frosty, delicious smoothie this afternoon as the sky darkened and thunderstorms rolled through the area. The cinnamon and hint of vanilla turned the drink into a special treat that reminded me a bit of pumpkin pie…healthy pumpkin pie!

And…I have half of the cantaloupe left over, chilling in the fridge, to be enjoyed later.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Feverfew

Feverfew is one of the medicinal herbs that I’ve been aware of for many years. Used for centuries as a proven and powerful remedy for migraines and headaches, this herb has many other health benefits as well.

Feverfew

The feverfew plant is short and bushy, with feathery leaves and white and yellow daisy-like flowers. Native to the Balkan Mountains of Eastern Europe, feverfew now grows throughout Europe and the Americas. The leaves and flowers are used medicinally, although both can be added to salads as well.

Feverfew has been called the “medieval aspirin” because of its pain relieving properties. The biochemical parthenolide is responsible for this herb’s pain easing effects. Taking feverfew daily lessens the pain of migraines and helps to prevent the reoccurrence of these debilitating headaches, by preventing the widening of blood vessels that precipitates an attack. Feverfew also relieves the symptoms that accompany migraines, including light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting.

Feverfew reduces inflammation in the nervous system as well as in the joints, making it beneficial to those suffering from arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This herb is a potent anti-inflammatory for the skin, easing redness, swelling and itchy rashes. Feverfew heals damaged skin cells, improving the appearance of the skin.

Feverfew

Research has demonstrated that feverfew has anticancer properties that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. And the herb has anti-thrombotic abilities, meaning it can help to prevent blood clots from forming and growing. This in turn improves blood circulation while reducing the risks of heart attack and stroke.

It is also helpful for these conditions: allergies, asthma, tinnitus, dizziness, infertility, stomachaches, fevers, muscle and joint stiffness, menstrual problems and psoriasis.

Feverfew may be purchased as capsules, tinctures, liquid extracts and creams, or as dried leaves and flowers, to make tea. I currently take feverfew in capsule form, although I intend to add this plant to my herb garden. Feverfew is an easy perennial to grow, in a sunny location. It can be invasive, making it a good plant to grow in a container so that it doesn’t overtake the rest of the garden. The flowers bloom from July to October.

I’m excited to include feverfew in the garden, planting it in one of my many containers, and using the leaves and flowers to make teas and tinctures.

Feverfew

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Bee Balm

This plant, considered an herb and also a wild food, is in full glorious bloom in my backyard garden. The bright purplish pink blooms attract my attention every time I step out the back door. I decided to feature them as a Friday Food in the health blog, and in a delightful twist, bee balm is also highlighted in the daily blog as well.

Been Balm

I’m not the only one attracted to this fragrant herb with the brightly colored flower. When I went out to snip some leaves and blooms to make tea, bees were flitting from plant to plant, making this herb aptly named. Bee balm, also called wild bergamot or Monarda, is a perennial that grows throughout North America. The blooms range in color from white to pink to red to purple.

A member of the mint family, bee balm has a scent and a flavor that more resembles oregano. In fact, the leaves can be finely chopped and used in the same way as oregano. The leaves and the flowers are edible and can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes. Both also make a flavorful tea. The bright flowers can be steeped in cold water for a refreshing iced tea, or steeped in hot water for an aromatic and soothing drink. Additionally, both the flowers and the leaves can used to make flavored vinegars.

Bee Balm

Medicinally, bee balm really shines. It is high in vitamins A and C, and has powerful anti fungal, antiseptic properties.

Bee balm can be taken internally to treat colds and flus, ease inflammation in the mucus membranes and clear congestion, reduce fevers, and soothe sore throats. The herb is a great tonic for the entire digestive system, easing nausea, gas and bloating. Bee balm is high in thymol, which is used as an active ingredient in commercial mouthwashes, making the herb effective for healing infections in the mouth while freshening the breath.

A tea made from bee balm soothes nervousness and anxiety, and when consumed at night, it helps combat insomnia.

Bee Balm

Externally, adding boiling water to bee balm and inhaling the steam helps to clear congested sinuses and soothe raw throats. It can be infused in honey, vinegar, or water and applied to the skin to treat burns, rashes, insect bites, eruptions and infections.

Bee balm can be used fresh in culinary dishes, as a tea or made into tinctures. Dried it can be used in cooking, steeped to make tea, made into skin salves and ointments, or combined with other dried herbs to make potpourri.

I enjoyed a cold iced tea this afternoon, made from bee balm leaves and flowers, lime juice and fresh, sliced strawberries. I’m looking forward to making a tincture for the first time using this herb. More about that process in an upcoming blog post. In the meantime, I’m enjoying this showy and versatile plant!

Bee Balm

Healthy Blueberry Scone

I enjoy the tradition of afternoon tea, a habit I’ve cultivated after my first trip to Scotland in 2014. After switching to a plant based lifestyle, my tea time foods changed dramatically. Gone are the finger sandwiches, the sweet treats and the shortbread cookies. Instead I typically have fresh fruit with my tea or a simple snack such as hummus and veggies. Occasionally though, I long for a popular afternoon tea food…the scone.

In Scotland and England scones more resemble tall, light, fluffy American-style biscuits. They are sweeter than our biscuits, and so delicious served with strawberry preserves and clotted cream. I can’t have such scones now. I know I wouldn’t feel well if I ate one. So for months I’ve been adapting different recipes, in search of an acceptable blueberry scone recipe. After many failures, I at last have a winner.

Healthy Blueberry Scone

This recipe is adapted from one I found on Pinterest, by Alisa Fleming, who was going for a Panera scone copycat.

With adaptations, here is the recipe.

Healthy Blueberry Scones

2 cups gluten free flour

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries (or 1/4 cup dried wild blueberries)

1 cup full-fat coconut milk, from a can

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, coconut sugar, baking powder and sea salt in a large bowl. Add frozen blueberries and stir to coat berries in flour mixture. Add full-fat coconut milk and vanilla. Stir until ingredients are well mixed and sticky dough forms.

Drop mixture by the spoonful onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 10 scones.

Healthy Blueberry Scone

Healthy Blueberry Scone

For the flour, I use a cup of oat flour and a cup of garbanzo flour. Another good gluten free choice is almond flour. The coconut sugar resembles coarse brown sugar. It is much less sweet and drier. And it is very important to use canned full-fat coconut milk. I shake the can well before opening, to mix the coconut water with the fat that has collected at the top of the can. I save the left over coconut milk and use it to make another batch of scones.

These blueberry scones are so easy to make, and they are gluten, dairy, refined sugar, egg and oil free. And the taste? They are wonderful and satisfy my desire for a tea time treat. As healthy as they are, I only indulge in these scones once a month or so. Most of the time, my afternoon break unfolds quite well with an herbal tea and a juicy piece of fruit. I save the blueberry scones for a special treat!

Healthy Blueberry Scone

5-MTHF

This supplement, with the strange name, plays a crucial role in good health. One in three Americans have a genetic mutation that prevents them from properly utilizing folic acid, also known as vitamin B9. Folic acid is important to our health, due in part to its role in a biochemical process called methylation. The important thing to know here is that methylation, which should occur billions of times a day in the body, is essential for our health.

Folic acid is the synthetic form, used to fortify foods, and it is available in supplement form. 5-MTHF, also called methyltetrahydrofolate, or more simply, methylfolate, is the metabolically active form of folic acid. It is found in certain whole, unfortified foods, like raw leafy greens. This form of folic acid has to be separated from its protein carriers, in the body, in order to be absorbed.

Once absorbed, folic acid has to undergo several biochemical conversations to become 5-MTHF. Half of all Americans have genetically insufficient enzymes to create 5-MTHF. Which is a long explanation for why taking a 5-MTHF supplement is so critical. Millions of people can experience improved health and a longer life taking 5-MTHF, and since most of us don’t know whether we have the mutant or impaired genes or not, it becomes important that we all take this supplement daily.

5-MTHF

5-MTHF helps with DNA synthesis and repair. Having adequate levels of 5-MTHF reduces the risks for tumors and certain types of cancers, including childhood leukemia, breast, colon, cervical and lung cancers, helps to prevent depression, and eases arthritis symptoms.

This supplement reduces homocysteine levels. High levels of this amino acid damage arteries, which contributes to heart disease, and can also cause stroke, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease, depression, miscarriage, birth defects, hearing loss, osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes complications.

According to Anthony William, in his books Medical Medium and Thyroid Healing, 5-MTHF helps strengthen the endocrine system and the central nervous system. It is extremely helpful for supporting reproductive health that has been compromised by the Epstein Barr virus. This supplement is an ally in healing from EBV caused issues such as infertility, endometriosis and PCOS.

I began taking this supplement to help heal and support my central nervous system, after 20+ years of inflamed sciatic nerves due to the shingles virus. After learning about how important 5-MTHF is to overall good health and longevity, I’ve continued to take it daily, long after my sciatic nerves healed.

I purchase and take the capsules, which are very inexpensive, while also eating foods that contain this form of folic acid. That list of foods includes raw leafy greens, beets, legumes, onions, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, citrus fruits, berries, seeds, rosemary and curcumin. It’s a simple, daily practice that is reaping huge health benefits in my life.

5-MTHF

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Leafy Greens

I’ve never been a big salad eater. I’ve always preferred vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, beets…pretty much anything other than lettuce. Most of us who have grown up eating iceberg lettuce find salads boring and fairly tasteless, unless they have cheese, eggs, croutons, and bacon bits piled on, and the whole thing is covered with fat and sugar laden salad dressings. That’s not healthy at all.

Since eating more veggies has become my way of life, a surprising thing has happened. I frequently crave leafy green vegetables. Kale, arugula, spinach, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, romaine and butter leaf lettuce are not only full of flavor, they deliver powerful nutrients and health benefits to my body.

Leafy Greens

Anthony William shares, in Life Changing Foods, that it is a misconception that greens, often labeled as “roughage”, are difficult to digest. On the contrary, leafy greens require very little work from the digestive system. What does happen is that the leaves scrub and massage the linings of the stomach, small intestine, and colon, loosening old trapped yeast, mold, and other types of fungus, along with debris and pockets of waste matter, so they can be carried out, making elimination very productive.

Pain or discomfort from eating raw salads is usually due to sensitive nerves or inflammation in the intestinal track. Adding butter leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and/or spinach to the diet daily, in small amounts, can help. Over time, leafy greens heal intestinal disorders. They create a more alkaline stomach composition by raising hydrochloric acid levels, which in turn kills off the unproductive bacteria that creates the bad acids responsible for acid reflux. One of the specific types of bacteria that leafy greens reduce is H. pylori, which is often responsible for stomach ulcers.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens create alkalinity in the other body systems as well, especially the lymphatic system, which can become the most acidic due to a barrage of chemicals, acids, plastics, pesticides, heavy metals and pathogens constantly entering the lymphatic passages. Leafy greens help to expel, purge, and drain the lymphatic system of these toxins so that it can remain alkaline. This is where those greens really have an important role in the healing process, because the alkalinity of the rest of the body is dependent on the lymphatic system being alkaline.

Leafy greens contain vital mineral salts which are critical for neurotransmitter and neuron support, and they are also the fundamental basis for building electrolytes. These greens are high in enzymes, vitamin A, B vitamins such as folic acid, healing alkaloids, micro nutrients for restoring the endocrine system, and forms of chlorophyll and carotenes that are specific to these vegetables. The nutrients work together to feed all the organs and systems of the body, making leafy greens foundational to our health. Leafy greens are also antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-mold.

Leafy Greens

For those who worry about getting enough protein in their diet, leafy greens have the most bioavailable and assimilable proteins you can find, readily available for the body to take in. Leafy greens help reverse all protein related diseases such as gout, kidney disease, kidney stones and gallstones, gallbladder disease, hepatitis C, lymphedema, connective tissue damage, osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and heart disease, all of which arise from protein sources that are not breaking down or assimilating, and are instead causing deterioration of the body. (Info from Anthony William.)

Who knew leafy greens played such an important role in optimal health? I didn’t until recently. Now, when I crave leafy green veggies, I pay attention to my body’s needs and bring them into my diet. I enjoy big bowls of raw mixed greens, with the addition of a few chopped raw veggies, and homemade fat free and sugar free dressings. I also include greens when I am steaming veggies. I add a huge pile of greens in the middle of the steamer, with the other vegetables surrounding them, as the leafy greens cook down considerably. Greens can be juiced with other veggies or added to smoothies as well.

With my new interest in foraging, I’ll be adding additional leafy greens, such as plantain, violet leaves, dandelion leaves and wild lettuce to the mix and to my diet. No dull or boring salads for me!

Leafy Greens

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Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Living the plant based lifestyle, I’ve come to appreciate the value of healthy flavorful sauces and dressings to drizzle over salads and veggie bowls. A few ingredients and a blender is all that is required to create sauces that range from sweet and mild to tangy and spicy.

Having just posted about garlic as a featured food on Friday, I followed up today with this easy Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing.

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing by Anthony William

1/4 cup raw tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

2 medium dates, pitted

1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with favorite salad greens or a veggie bowl or use as a dip with veggies. Makes 2 servings.

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Tahini is a sesame paste. It’s available at health food stores or health conscious grocery stores such as Natural Grocers. The tahini and olive oil combine to create a rich Mediterranean flavor, and pairs well with the garlic and subtle sweetness of the dates. I used 3 garlic cloves when I created the dressing today, and I added a pinch of ground red pepper for a touch of heat. Salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

I placed the dressing in the refrigerator while I made a salad.

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

I wanted greens today. I’ve learned to pay close attention to my cravings. Since I’ve eliminated unhealthy cravings, I can now trust them and receive them as signals from my body, telling me what it needs. I started with a bowl containing fresh organic spinach and arugula, and added kale from my garden and dandelion greens from my backyard.

For the rest of my salad, I decided to select ingredients intuitively, trusting my instincts to guide me to what I needed.

I included cucumbers, red and orange peppers, tomatoes, chick peas and half an avocado, diced. I had pulled other veggies out of the fridge but this assortment seemed right for lunch today.

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

I drizzled on the garlic tahini dressing, which had thickened up slightly as it chilled, creating the perfect consistency. The dressing was so good! The whole salad was delicious and satisfied my craving for greens while nourishing my body.

The garlic tahini dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge. I don’t think mine is going to be in there that long!

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

This recipe, and 49 others, are in Life Changing Foods by Anthony William. Order your copy below.

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Olive Leaf

I have many associations with the olive tree. The olive leaf, along with the olive branch, has long been known as a symbol for peace. In addition, I was familiar with the health benefits of the fruit of the tree, the olive. And I’ve had the pleasure of walking in the olive groves of Tuscany in Italy, and sampling cold pressed olive oil while there. I did not know, until recently, that the olive LEAF has many health boosting benefits as well.

Olive Leaf

The leaf of the olive tree is a powerful and effective medicinal that contains tremendous healing properties for the immune, cardiovascular, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and lymphatic systems. It is particularly beneficial in fighting viruses and bacteria in the body such as shingles, herpes, E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, and Klebsiella pneumonia, and it can help to wipe out colds and flu viruses faster than most over the counter medications.

This leaf can significantly lower blood pressure and maintain it at a healthy level. It contains a compound called Oleuropein which helps to prevent the constriction of arteries, increase blood flow, and improve functioning of the heart. It also helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and prevent the risk of strokes and heart disease.

Olive Leaf

The olive leaf has been known to benefit those suffering with diabetes, high cholesterol, bronchitis, gastritis, and auto-immune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, addison disease, guillain-barre syndrome, arthritis, colitis, lupus, celiac disease, eczema, scleroderma, psoriasis, cardiomyopathy, graves disease, and HIV.

Plus, it contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties which help to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and increase energy and flexibility in the body. It is also a great digestive aid and helps to remove excess acidity from the body. (Info from Medical Medium website. Visit his site HERE.)

Olive leaf extract can be found online or at your local health food store in liquid, tincture, cream, and phyto-cap form. Dried olive leaf can be found in tea and capsule form. I take olive leaf in capsule form although I’m very interested in obtaining dried leaves for tea.

I still associate olive leaves with peace. Now, I also think of them as an incredible ally as they deliver health and wellness to my body.

Olive Leaf

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Garlic

Garlic was one of those foods that I used to avoid, even though I knew it provided health benefits beyond protecting me from supernatural baddies! The whole garlicky breath thing was a deterrent. My how my perceptions have changed.

Garlic

Garlic has been used medicinally since the ancient times. Anthony William writes, in Life Changing Foods, that this powerful food is even more important to our well being now. Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and rich in the phytochemical allicin, a sulphur compound that prevents disease.

Garlic kills unproductive bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites in the intestinal tract, without wiping out the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that our guts need.

Garlic

Garlic is perfect for fighting colds, flus, strep, pneumonia causing bacteria, and viral related cancers. It also extracts toxic heavy metals from the colon and boosts the immune system.

The antiviral and antibacterial properties in garlic defend the body against Epstein Barr and strep by killing off the virus cells. This prevents urinary tract infections, sinus infections and small intestine bacteria overgrowth. It also flushes toxic viral and bacterial wastes out of the lymphatic system.

I’ve shifted from avoiding garlic, to always having it on hand. It is in my top five for favorite foods to cook with. I feel panicky if I realize I’ve run out! Minced garlic goes in my stir fries, sauces and dressings. In fact, it finds its way into most of my recipes. And, I don’t notice any garlic scent lingering after I’ve eaten it.

Watch for the Try This Tuesday blog post next week. I’ll be trying a Garlic Tahini Dressing recipe!

Garlic

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