6 Bedtime Teas

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When I talk to people about their health, insomnia comes up frequently. Defined as sleeplessness, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

In the US, three million people a year experience sleeplessness. Causes include poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, certain medications or chronic pain and illness.

Most sufferers rely on over the counter or prescription drugs to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. For years that was true for me. I took allergy meds every night for the drowsiness they induced. When I realized how dull they made my brain, I switched to melatonin.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, my ability to sleep has improved greatly. I no longer take anything at night, to help me sleep.

I’ll be sharing several posts around this difficult to heal condition. Today I start with herbal remedies…six bedtime teas.

6 Bedtime Teas

6 Bedtime Teas

Easing insomnia is a complex matter of changing habits, eliminating foods and situations that impede sleep and consuming the right foods to help calm and relax the mind and the body.

Instead of reaching for meds, try drinking one of these herbal bedtime teas about an hour before turning in.

Chamomile

Long used as a healing herb for inflammation, chamomile also reduces anxiety and soothes the body into sleep. The antioxidant apigenin binds to receptors in the brain, lowering anxiety and initiating drowsiness.

Regularly drinking chamomile tea helps people to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, improving the overall quality of their rest.

Steep two teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

6 Bedtime Teas

Passionflower

Passionflower tea is made from the dried leaves, stems and flowers of the plant. Traditionally, passionflower decreases anxiety and improves the quality of sleep.

In a recent study, those who drank passionflower daily for a week reported better sleep quality, compared to those who did not drink the tea. Another study showed that passionflower, when combined with valerian root and hops, is as effective as the prescription drug Ambien in improving insomnia.

Steep two teaspoons of dried passionflower in one cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

Lavender

This aromatic herb helps calm the body and mind through its healing properties and its scent. For centuries lavender has helped people to sleep better, especially those with anxiety disorders or chronic insomnia.

Drinking the tea and inhaling the soothing fragrance from the hot drink lowers heart rate and calms nerves. Those who drink lavender tea frequently find that their quality of sleep improves. Plus, they awaken with more energy and less fatigue.

Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender blooms in one cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

6 Bedtime Teas

Lemon Balm

One of my go to herbs, lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It has many healing properties. As one of the bedtime teas, lemon balm calms inflammation, relaxes tense muscles, reduces stress and improves sleep by initiating a sedative effect.

With its citrusy scent, lemon balm offers aromatherapy benefits as well. And it is extremely easy to grow your own plants.

Steep this mildly flavored tea by combining two teaspoons of fresh or dried leaves with one cup of very hot water. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired.

Peppermint

Another member of the mint family, peppermint contains anti-inflammatory properties that relax tense muscles and reduce stress. In fact, peppermint’s ability to work as a muscle relaxant induces feelings of calm and peace, making it an ideal tea to drink before bedtime.

Peppermint also relieves nausea, an upset stomach, and gas and bloating, soothing the digestive system so that sleep can occur.

Steep two to three teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint leaves in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes. As a bonus, peppermint is very easy to grow in the garden or in containers.

6 Bedtime Teas

Ginger

For a few people, ginger acts as a stimulant. However, if digestive problems such as an upset stomach or nausea are keeping you awake, ginger is an effective sleep aid. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties calm achy muscles and joints, soothing pain so that the body can relax into sleep.

Ginger also relieves tension and lowers stress.

Steep a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Or combine a teaspoon of dried ginger with a teaspoon of dried turmeric and add a 12 to 16 ounces of warm almond/coconut milk to create this wonderfully healing nighttime drink.

Bedtime Teas for a Better Night’s Sleep

Consistently drinking one of these bedtime teas signals the body that it is time to prepare for sleep. The healing properties of the herbal teas soothe the body in myriad ways while lowering anxiety and stress.

Choose one tea and try it for a week or enjoy a different tea every evening. Herbs can be combined too, to create fresh, delicious blends that are just as effective.

In the coming weeks, watch for posts with more tips for eliminating insomnia from your life.

6 Bedtime Teas

Click links below, to order dried herbs for bedtime teas.

 


 

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Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

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It’s known by many names, this easy to make dish. Some call it beefy macaroni or macaroni dish. Others call it hash or just stew. My mom calls it one pot meal. I call it goulash. My kids grew up eating it.

The actual name of this tasty meal is Hungarian goulash. Originating in Hungary, goulash is a meat and vegetable stew, seasoned with paprika. Although it is now eaten around the world, it is one of Hungary’s national dishes and symbolic of that country.

Traditionally, goulash is prepared with tender chunks of beef or for a quicker version, ground beef. I haven’t eaten goulash since shifting to a plant based lifestyle. However, with leftover brown rice macaroni in the fridge, this evening presented the perfect opportunity to cook up a pot of vegan and gluten free goulash.

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

I not only avoid meat, dairy and eggs, I also don’t eat foods with gluten in them. Pasta doesn’t have to be off the menu however. Gluten free pastas are readily available. Look for them in the gluten free section of regular supermarkets and health conscious food stores as well. My favorite product is a brown rice pasta available as macaroni, spaghetti and other pasta favorites. It cooks just like regular pasta and looks and tastes the same. It just doesn’t have the gluten in it.

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

This tasty goulash recipe has all the flavor without the meat and wheat pasta.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash
Author: journeywithhealthyme
Cost: $2/person

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (Optional) May water saute instead.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red beans
  • 2 cups gluten free macaroni, cooked
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Add one cup dried gluten free macaroni to pan of boiling water. Allow to cook while prepping veggies. Need two cups cooked macaroni.
  • Heat coconut oil over medium high heat in large skillet. Or add small amount of water to water saute. Add onions, garlic and green bell pepper, cooking and stirring until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add diced tomatoes. Heat through. Stir in red beans, paprika, sea salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring, until beans are heated through.
  • Drain gluten free macaroni and add to bean and tomato mixture. Mix well and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Serves 4.

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

The Taste Test

So, how is goulash, without the beef?

I didn’t miss the meat at all. The vegan and gluten free goulash was full of the robust flavor of veggies and pasta in a rich tomato sauce. The paprika gave a hint of spiciness without overpowering the vegetables. I loved it.

The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. A pinch of cayenne pepper ups the heat level. Or lean toward Italian spices like oregano and basil. Thyme and rosemary bring their own unique flavors to the mix.

On a whim, I added a can of red beans to my goulash, as a protein source. Mushrooms make a flavorful addition as well, or add carrots. I like using what I have on hand, which was, after all, the inspiration for creating goulash tonight. Leftover pasta should never go to waste!

This satisfying and delicious vegan and gluten free goulash goes into my menu rotation. I’ll enjoy playing around with the ingredients!

Vegan and Gluten Free Goulash

You might like these vegan recipes too:

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Vegan Black Bean & Corn Salsa

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Find gluten free pasta by clicking on photos below:



Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

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I’ve grown catmint in my garden for years. This herb, which is closely related to catnip, is considered more ornamental for garden use. Catmint blooms with purplish blue flowers in late spring and summer and thrives in full sun.

Both varieties are members of the mint family and both are attractive to cats. In fact, that’s why I keep this easy to care for perennial in my garden. My three cats love to spend time roaming around the garden and they check out this herb frequently. I’ve seen them rub against the plant and nibble on the leaves.

I’m experimenting with using catmint for a variety of purposes, for the cats. As I worked with the plant, I wondered if its distinctively scented leaves possessed health benefits for people. Of course it does!

Late this afternoon, I experienced my first cup of catmint tea.

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

The active ingredient in catmint (and catnip) is nepetalactone. It is thought to contribute to the following benefits in humans:

Stress Reliever

Catmint has a calming effect on the entire body, relieving stress and quieting the body and the mind. This makes the herb beneficial for reducing anxieties and easing restlessness and insomnia. While calming anxieties, catmint strengthens the immune system which helps the body become less reactive to stress.

Digestive Aid

The plant’s calming effect soothes the stomach as well, relieving nausea, diarrhea, cramping, excess gas and bloating. Because catmint has antispasmodic properties it can even ease tightness in the gastrointestinal tract, eliminating abdominal discomfort.

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

Respiratory Issues

Catmint’s active ingredient also contains mucilage properties, making is helpful for suppressing coughs. It also relieves congestion. And it speeds up the healing of colds, flus and fevers.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, catmint is effective in healing arthritis, gout, sprained muscles, achy joints and even hemorrhoids. The herb soothes the pain and swelling associated with rashes, hives and bug bites.

Insect Repellent

Essential oil of catmint can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin as an insect repellent. The oil also soothes skin irritations and improves the healing process. Applied to the temples, catmint essential oil helps to treat headaches and migraines.

**Do not use this herb in any form, if you are pregnant. Check with a doctor before using if you suffer from liver or kidney dysfunctions.

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

Preparing Catmint Tea

To brew a cup of catmint tea, add several short sprigs of fresh catmint, or two teaspoons of dried herb to a cup and pour in hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes at least. Sweeten with raw organic honey if desired.

Catmint is also available in capsule form, tinctures, essential oils and salves.

I snipped several fresh sprigs from my catmint plant in the herb garden to create my tea.

This plant has a very pleasant, distinctive scent. I can’t quite pin it down, however the scent stirs a memory of a similar aroma. So I was looking forward to seeing how it tasted.

I was not disappointed! The taste is subtly minty with a hint of spiciness. I loved it, actually. In fact, this herbal tea now ranks in my top five favorites, for flavor!

How amazing, that an herb my cats adore has so many health benefits. Catmint tea goes into my afternoon tea rotation. I think I adore it too!

Health Benefits of Catmint Tea

Purchase dried catmint to make your own healing tea, by clicking on photo below.


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Beyond Meat Brats

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Are you familiar with Beyond Meat, the company creating a stir in the food industry? Their plant based hamburgers and sausage brats are showing up in grocery stores and restaurants.

With all the media attention, I felt curious about the claims that these products are amazing. Let me add that after three years of embracing a plant based lifestyle, I don’t crave meat at all. Greg, who has been plant based almost as long as I have, occasionally does. Or at least, a sizzling burger or brat on a commercial looks good to him.

We decided to taste test the Beyond Meat Brats, for a Try This Tuesday experience.

Beyond Meat Brats

The Beyond Meat Company

This company, founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown, began with the question, “Why do you need an animal to create meat?” Brown wondered if meat could be created directly from plants. It turns out, yes it can.

Their Mission Statement includes the belief that there is a better way to feed the planet, that’s beneficial to people, animals and the earth. Producing savory alternatives to animal based products solves the growing issues attributed to livestock production: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources and animal welfare.

Beyond Meat uses the building blocks for meat…protein, fat, trace minerals and water…to create plant based substitutes without sacrificing taste or texture. Currently the company offers plant based hamburger patties, crumbles (resembles ground beef) and two varieties of sausage brats. Their products are available in grocery stores and health conscious stores such as Natural Grocers. Look for Beyond Meat products in the meat section.

Beyond Meat BratsGraphic from Beyond Meat website.

Beyond Meat Brats

I picked up the Beyond Meat Brats at my local Natural Grocers. I carefully read the label before purchasing.

Beyond Meat Brats contain 16 grams of protein, made from peas, fava beans and rice, per serving. Other ingredients include apple fiber, coconut and sunflower oils and fruit and vegetable juices. The casing around the brats is plant based as well. It’s made from algae. Don’t worry. You can’t taste it.

What they do NOT contain is impressive. There are no GMOs, soy, or gluten in these brats and also no hormones, antibiotics, nitrites or nitrates.

The brats come in the original flavor and a spicier Italian version.

The promise is that Beyond Meat Brats look, sizzle and satisfy, like a pork brat.

I was about to find out.

Beyond Meat Brats

Beyond Meat Brats with Green Peppers and Onions

Since I had green peppers, onions and garlic on hand, I created a simple dinner using those ingredients plus brown rice and the Beyond Meat Brats.

Brats with Green Peppers and Onions

  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, mined
  • 1 package Beyond Meat regular brats, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked

Saute pepper, onion and garlic in a water or a very small amount of coconut oil. I did this while the brown rice cooked in the pressure pot.

As onions turn translucent, about three minutes, add sliced brats. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until brats are browned, about five more minutes.

Spoon over brown rice and serve. Makes 2 – 3 servings.

The brats did sizzle. They smelled just like pork or beef brats, as they cooked. And they browned up nicely, holding their shape and texture.

How would they taste?

Beyond Meat Brats

The Taste Test

My simple dinner looked and smelled wonderful. Would the taste hold up to the hype?

Yes. Yes it did.

The Beyond Meat Brats tasted wonderfully like regular brats, with just the right amount of seasoning. The texture was as good as the taste. Combined with the green peppers, onions and garlic, the brats delivered and dinner met all my expectations for flavor and texture.

Greg enjoyed this special treat very much.

And a special treat, savored occasionally, it will be.

Why?

I like the way I eat. And more importantly, I like the way I feel. The veggies and fruits, legumes and nuts, seeds and limited grains that I enjoy are very, VERY good for me, and I truly don’t miss meats, eggs, sugar and dairy products. I don’t ever intend to go back to my old way of eating and my old way of feeling.

Plus there’s another reason. The Beyond Meat Brats contain 43% less fat than their animal counterparts. However, they are still a bit high in fat for me to consume them on a regular basis.

I’m glad for the Beyond Meat Brats experience. The company is great, with a philosophy that I can agree with. Their future is bright, I believe. However, these healthier brats might make it onto the menu once a month or so. Like the occasional healthy dessert, these will be a special treat rather than a regular dinner item.

Have you tried Beyond Meat products yet? Let me know what you thought!

Beyond Meat Brats

Check out my Amazon Storefront, for my top recommendations.

 

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.