Health Benefits of Coconut

I’ve been aware of the benefits of coconut for some time, primarily through the use of coconut oil. I use coconut oil as a base for skin and hair care products that I make myself. In fact, I just made a batch of my skin serum today, that I’ve been using for years on my face, neck, chest and hands. Find my recipe HERE.

I’ve only recently discovered coconut water…yum…and the extraordinary healing powers found within this wild food.

Health Benefits of Coconut

In his book Life Changing Foods, Anthony William shares that the coconut enhances the power of everything it touches. When combined with any healing food, coconut supercharges it. For example, if coconut water is added to a smoothie that contains parsley, it increases parsley’s ability to remove unproductive acids from the body by 50% and dramatically improves the effects of parsley’s trace minerals.

When coconut meat is added to a salad, it enhances everything else in the salad…cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach…and their healing properties. Coconut drives a food to fulfill its highest purpose as it nourishes the body.

Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut water provides important glucose and crucial mineral salts, including potassium and sodium, to the bloodstream. This is a fundamental component of neurotransmitter production. Without these chemicals we don’t sleep well and can experience insomnia, neurological sleep apnea and other sleep disturbances. To avoid these issues, drink coconut water.

Coconut water’s trace minerals and electrolytes nourish reproductive tissue. It also helps people with hypoglycemia, diabetes and blood disorders. Coconut water is crucial for those with over or under active adrenals as well as brain and neurological disorders. It benefits people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other forms of dementia. And it prevents the onset of seizures and supports eye conditions.

Consume coconut water that is clear or very slightly tinged with pink, and avoid any that contain citric acid, natural flavors, or any kind of sweeteners.

Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut meat and the oil derived from it is antipathogenic, antibacterial, antiviral and full of antioxidant properties. As coconut moves into the intestinal tract it kills off pathogens. Plus it helps to break loose fats and push them out of the body.

I occasionally use unsweetened shredded coconut in salads or to make a healthy sugar free treat. I keep cans of unsweetened coconut milk on hand, for recipes such as madras curried lentils and sauces. Coconut oil is great to cook with, however my favorite use for the oil is to create chemical free products. My strong intention is to increase the amount of coconut water that I drink and continue reaping the benefits that this power food offers.

Health Benefits of Coconut

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3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

I’m always on the lookout for healthy treats. It’s not easy because I have tough criteria. The snack can’t contain gluten, refined sugar, eggs or dairy products. Thankfully, such recipes do exist. For Try This Tuesday, I tried out a quick and recipe for 3 ingredient chocolate cookies.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

This recipe comes from Listotic. Check out her website HERE

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

2 large very ripe bananas

1 cup quick rolled oats, gluten free

2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas in a bowl. Add oats and cacao powder and stir until cookie dough like consistency is reached. Depending on size of the bananas, you may need less oats. Start with 3/4 of a cup and add more to make a dough that holds its shape. Optional: add in a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia, dried fruit or nuts.

Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use fingers or a fork to mash down dough, forming a cookie shape. Bake 10 – 12 minutes. Enjoy warm from the oven. Makes 12 – 15 cookies.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

These were so easy to make and turned out well! The cookies hold their shape during baking and have a wonderful texture and chocolate flavor without being too sweet. I like how versatile the recipe is. I added a handful of unsweetened coconut flakes to this batch. I’ll try adding nuts or dark chocolate chips sweetened with stevia next time.

I sampled two warm, fresh from the oven cookies with my afternoon tea. This is what I love, hot tea made from herbs plucked from my garden, and light, wholesome snacks that contribute to health, rather than complicate it. I’ll be experimenting with different versions of this basic recipe!

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

Chamomile Benefits

I have associated chamomile with relaxation and a good night’s sleep. The dried flower from this healing herb makes a soothing and delicious hot tea. However chamomile, used medicinally since ancient times, has many healing benefits beyond creating drowsiness.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile is a member of the aster family. Two types of chamomile are commonly used for their healing benefits, the German and Roman varieties. Chamomile tea is beneficial as a sleep aid which is especially helpful for those who suffer with insomnia, sleep disturbances, a racing mind, or high anxiety and stress. However, chamomile also has other significant healing properties such as the ability to soothe a disturbed digestive system by easing flatulence, stomach aches, ulcers, and cramping, and by aiding in overall digestion and elimination.

The herb also helps to relieve bronchial and sinus congestion, calm anxiety and panic attacks, decrease menstrual cramping, ease muscle spasms, lower blood sugar, fight cancer and reduce migraine pain. Chamomile tea’s anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for reducing swelling associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other auto-immune diseases. Chamomile tea cleanses the liver and kidneys by stimulating them to purge out toxins and eliminate them from the system.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it especially helpful in fighting against colds, flus, infections, and even Candida. Chamomile tea is excellent for children as it can calm colicky infants and teething babies as well as soothe children that are irritable, cranky, and restless. Its mild flavor is often accepted and enjoyed by children especially when sweetened with honey. As a topical remedy, cooled chamomile tea can be applied to the skin to help soothe rashes, chickenpox, psoriasis, eczema, and burns, including sunburns.

Chamomile tea can also help to relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. Apply a cooled tea bag to the eyes for five minutes at night as a gentle and effective compress. Chamomile and peppermint tea are often used in combination due to their synergistic properties to help the body cleanse, relax, and heal. (Info from the Medical Medium blog. Check it out HERE)

Chamomile Benefits

For the first time I am growing German chamomile in my herb garden this summer. My intention is to keep adding healing herbs each year, until I truly do have a complete apothecary garden available for use. Today I snipped fresh chamomile flowers to combine with dried chamomile that I had on hand. I added three teaspoons of the dried herb and a small handful of fresh blossoms to two cups of boiling water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Chamomile has a delicate floral scent and flavor. I don’t add honey. However, I am looking forward to trying out herbal combinations, such as chamomile and mint, chamomile and lavender or chamomile and lemon grass.

On this rainy day, with mild thunderstorms rolling through the area, a cup of hot chamomile tea was the perfect afternoon soother. I included a couple of homemade sugar free, gluten free cookies made from three simple ingredients, to tea time. Watch for that recipe Tuesday.

I’m sipping chamomile tea, nibbling on a cookie, and feeling grateful for the healing benefits that plants provide. This is bliss.

Chamomile Benefits

Health Benefits of Sprouts & Microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are immature versions of the vegetables they would grow into. And like their full sized versions, they are packed with nutrients such as vitamins A and B, minerals, trace minerals, health boosting compounds and phytochemicals. One of the benefits of eating greens in this early stage of development is that the digestion process is a fraction of what it would be otherwise to assimilate their goodness.

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens differ only in the way that they are harvested. Sprouts are germinated seeds that are eaten seed, root and shoot. Microgreens are edible immature greens, the tops of the young plants, that are harvested with scissors less than a month after germination.

Both are high in mineral salts that aid neurotransmitter chemical production while supporting the brain. Sprouts and microgreens pull toxic heavy metals from the brain and repair and strengthen neurons, which helps the body to reverse Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain fog and memory loss. These greens are wonderful for skin repair, preventing infection, and halting unwanted cell growth, such as cancer.

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens Sunflower seed sprouts

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens Sunflower seed microgreens

Sprouts and microgreens are a great source of elevated biotics that are critical to the body’s production of B12, and their phytochemicals supercharge the body. They are one of the most powerful foods for renewing an exhausted reproductive system. Sprouts and microgreens rebalance and restore hormones such as progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. After giving birth, these greens regenerate hormone production in the adrenal glands, thyroid and endocrine system.

Different sprouts have different properties. Broccoli has a strong flavor and strengthens the digestive system. Radish sprouts purge the liver while red clover sprouts cleanse the lymph and blood. Fenugreek sprouts balance cortisol production and regulate the thyroid while supporting emotions and the endocrine system. And lentil sprouts are high in protein that the body can assimilate easily. Basically, every seed and bean can be sprouted. Sunflower seed sprouts are one of my favorites!

Sprouts and microgreens should be consumed raw, for maximum benefits. Try radish, broccoli, fenugreek, kale and sunflower sprouts or microgreens at lunchtime, to support energy throughout the day. Bean and lentil greens should be eaten at dinnertime because they relax the nervous system.

I’m excited to try growing my own sprouts and microgreens. Sprouting seeds can be purchased online or at health food stores and health conscious grocery stores. I have mason jars that can serve as incubators. I just need to make sprouting lids with cheesecloth or a craft screen. Watch for an upcoming blog post about how easy it is to grow sprouts and microgreens at home!

Health Benefits of Sprouts and Microgreens

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Meditate for Health

Today’s Try This Tuesday post is a bit different in that it focus on an action, rather than a new recipe. I’ve been practicing and teaching meditation for years. As meditation calms and relaxes the body and stills the mind, it provides powerful healing benefits as well.

Meditation is easy, costs nothing, does not require any specialized equipment, can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and only takes a few minutes to do.

Meditate for Health

The health benefits of meditation have been documented through countless studies around the world. The amazing results include: lowers blood pressure, decreases risks of heart attacks and strokes, stimulates stem cell growth, relieves anxiety and depression, reduces stress and tension, improves memory and increases academic performance, aids weight loss, eases chronic pain, reduces hyperactivity in children, increases longevity, helps with insomnia and decreases addictions and substance abuse.

Meditation does not shut down the mind, it quiets it so that we are not so distracted by our thoughts. Our thoughts are like the words that continually scroll across the bottom of the television screen during a newscast. We can learn to let the thoughts scroll on by, without focusing on them. When we notice a thought we can simply acknowledge it and let it go without attaching to it.

Meditate for Health

I’m offering a simple healing meditation below. However, before practicing it, spend a few moments creating a Safe Place in your mind. At the beginning of every meditation, you will enter this Safe Place so create something, in your mind, that brings you joy and makes you feel peaceful. This place should be in nature, not in a building or structure. It is a soothing, solitary place. Include rich details in your Safe Place.

Mine is a garden, filled with flowers and trees. It has a water feature and a gazebo where I can sit. The sunlight filters through the leaves and there is always a cool gentle breeze. Create in your mind a space that supports you and makes you sigh with happiness when you arrive.

Read through this meditation several times, turn off the tv and quiet your phone, then lie down or sit comfortably in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Or sit in a lotus position with soles of feet together if that is not a strain on your back. Be at ease so that pain or stiffness in the legs and back is not a distraction. Rest hands naturally on the thighs, palms up. It’s fine to allow the fingers to relax and curl inward without touching thumbs and fingers together.

Meditate for Health

Healing Meditation

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose and release it slowly through the mouth. Take two more slow deep breaths.

Relax the body as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply. You can relax by focusing on your breath. Or you can begin at your feet and consciously relax the muscles. Move up the legs, up the torso, and down the arms to the hands, relaxing each part of the body. Continue upward. Pay special attention to the neck, shoulders, jaws, face and scalp, as we tend to hold a lot of tension in these areas.

Visualize entering your Safe Place. Feel the warmth and love and joy here. Stay relaxed and centered.

Take another deep, cleansing breath. Imagine that roots are growing out of the soles of your feet and into the earth. This grounds the body and helps to prevent dizziness after the meditation ends. Imagine positive, living energy from the earth rising to support you.

Imagine a large white sphere of light above your head. This is Divine healing energy. See in your mind the white light surrounding you, encasing you in a bubble of protective energy. With every inhale of breath, imagine Divine healing energy entering your body. It spreads throughout your body…up into your head, down your arms to your hands and fingers, down the torso to the legs, and down the legs to the feet and toes. Your entire body is filled with Divine energy, bright healing white light. Every system, every organ, every cell in your body is infused with healing energy. Imagine any low energy or negative energy being transformed by the light.

Breathe slowly and bask in this healing energy, for as long as you want. Open your heart wide and express love and gratitude for this time of healing.

Imagine leaving your Safe Place, carrying the Divine white light with you. Count down from seven to one. As you get to one slowly open your eyes and move your fingers and toes. Stretch arms and legs. Stand slowly and stretch upwards, taking a deep breath.

This meditation can last for a few minutes or an hour…it’s up to you. If a thought pops into your head, say yes and let it go on by. Gradually your body will enter into a relaxed state quickly and easily without being distracted by thoughts.

Meditation is a wonderful practice to incorporate into your daily health routines, along with nutrient dense foods, exercise and supplements. Blessings on your healing journey!

Meditate for Health

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Antioxidants and high antioxidant foods are beneficial to the body. They fight free radicals which eliminates inflammation, reduces the risk for heart disease and cancers, slows the aging process, and wards off cognitive problems and depression.

One of the most important antioxidants is Alpha Lipoic Acid, also known as ALA. This natural compound is found in plant foods we commonly eat such as broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, peas, potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

The human body also makes a small amount of ALA on its own, although the concentration in the bloodstream goes up greatly when we eat a healthy diet. Alpha Lipoic Acid is similar to a vitamin in that it can also be manufactured in a lab so it can be taken as a health supplement.

Lipoic acid is present in every cell inside the body and it is necessary to help turn glucose into fuel for the body. Even though we can make some of it on our own without supplements or ALA rich food sources, eating an antioxidant-packed diet plus using ALA supplements can increase the amount circulating in the body, with studies show has far-reaching health benefits.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid slows down cellular damage, which is one of the root causes of diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It also works in the body to restore essential levels of vitamins such as C and E. ALA binds to and removes toxic metals in the body, including mercury, arsenic and iron, and toxic free radicals that make their way into the bloodstream through water, air, chemical products and the food supply.

Alpha Lipoic Acid repairs damage to blood vessels and neurons, and organs like the heart, brain and liver. It offers numerous benefits throughout the whole body, from treating Alzheimer’s to controlling liver disease. ALA protects against diabetes, improves insulin sensitivity, and helps to relieve the symptoms of diabetes caused nerve damage.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

ALA preserves the eyes and helps to prevent degeneration, especially as we age. It prevents memory loss and cognitive decline. Because it easily passes through the blood brain barrier, Alpha Lipoic Acid protects the brain and nerve tissues, helping to prevent strokes. It boosts glutathione, which is a master antioxidant crucial for immunity, cellular health and disease prevention.

And finally, ALA battles the physical signs of aging on the skin. Skin damage is one side effect of high amounts of free radicals, which is why antioxidant-packed fruits and veggies help to keep us looking young.

Truthfully, two years ago I did not know how important it is to supply the body with nutrient dense whole foods and the supplements it requires to create optimal health. In fact, I harmed my body by not giving it what it needed. How grateful I am that the body desires to heal and does so when it has the right foods and supplements.

We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. I am doing all I can to make up for my poor diet by educating myself on what my body needs to function well, and discovering how best to supply those things. I share the information so that others can learn and grow and create vibrant health for themselves!

Alpha Lipoic Acid

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Apricots

These tiny fruits that resemble miniature peaches are BIG on flavor and health benefits. They are an amazing fruit for rejuvenating the body due to being high in amino acids such as cysteine and glutamine, and minerals such as selenium and magnesium. This super food is loaded with more than 40 trace minerals and phytochemical compounds that bind to toxins such DDT buried deeply within the body, lowering the risk of many cancers.

Apricots

Apricots are a B12 enhancing food meaning they eliminate unhelpful elements in the digestive tract that get in the way of healthy B12 production. The skin of the apricot destroys mold, yeast, unneeded candida and other harmful fungus in the body, while the skin’s enzymes and coenzymes protect DNA.

Apricots reduce the gut’s production of ammonia, a destructive gas that can leach through the intestinal wall and cause problems throughout the body, from brain fog to dental issues. And apricots are an energy stabilizer that boost the growth of red blood cells, strengthening the heart and nourishing the brain. When the body’s energy reserves are low, apricots restore and replenish.

When fresh apricots are unavailable, dried apricots are a great alternative. Just make sure they are sulfur free. Dried apricots retain all their health benefits when dehydrated. The potassium level actually increases when this fruit is dried. (All info from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William.)

Apricots Dried sulfur free apricots are a golden brown color, instead of the bright orange of dried apricots that contain sulfur.

Apricots

I like using dried sulfur free apricots to make Apricot Bars, an easy and nutritious snack that is naturally sweet and chewy with the crunch of almonds. They only have four ingredients. You can find the recipe HERE

Apricots have powerful healing properties, and offer emotional support as well. They open us up, and help to calm nervousness while regulating when we need to be guarded and when we need to drop our defenses. Apricots soothe any type frustrating situation. These amazing little fruits deliver huge results in a compact package!

Apricots

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Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

As one who has recently begun to enjoy radishes, for the first time in her life, I was excited to try another wonderful looking recipe. After all, I have radishes in my refrigerator crisper to use up.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

This easy to prepare recipe was created by Anthony William.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

2 cups of radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced tarragon

4 tablespoons minced dill

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 lemon, juiced

Sea salt to taste

Place radish and cucumber slices in a medium sized bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Chill salad in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Serves 2.

I used ingredients fresh from my garden, except for the radishes, to create the salad. Since I was the only one who would be eating this gorgeous salad, I cut the recipe in half, which was just the right amount. I didn’t have tarragon on hand, but I had plenty of fresh dill from my herb garden. And, in place of a lemon, I substituted a lime. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be adapted and still taste amazing.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

I loved the radish cucumber dill salad. It was refreshingly crunchy and the dill and sprinkle of sea salt added so much flavor. I am still astounded…at myself. I used to dislike radishes and cucumbers were marginal for me. Now, two years in on a plant based journey, I marveled at the beauty and tastiness of my lunch. And this salad is incredibly healthy for me, with the combination of powerful foods and herbs.

I chopped up a tomato from my garden, and toted it and my bowl of salad to the office, so I could eat while I prepped for a listing appointment. My pretty lunch was so satisfying, on so many different levels.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

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Echinacea

This medicinal herb is commonly found growing in the wild, and in backyard gardens and borders as a decorative flower. Also called the purple coneflower, this plant is in the daisy family. I grow it in my own backyard paradise.

Echinacea

Once known primarily for preventing and easing colds, echinacea has become one of the top selling herbal supplements, and for good reasons. This pretty flower has many health benefits.

Echinacea contains a compound called echinacein that protects healthy cells from viruses and bacteria that are trying to invade them. The herb is beneficial in helping the body heal quickly from colds, flus, sinus infections, bronchitis, sore throats, hay fever, canker sores and ear infections. It also heals gingivitis, eases an enlarged prostate, reduces the size of enlarged lymph nodes and clears up urinary tract and yeast infections. Echinacea purifies the blood and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Echinacea

Echinacea has potent immune boosting properties. It is also a natural painkiller for headaches, toothaches and body aches.

Used as a topical ointment or salve, echinacea soothes and heals skin conditions such as irritations, psoriasis, eczema, boils, scrapes, wounds, bug bites, bee stings and sunburns.

Echinacea can be taken in capsule form, as a tincture, or used fresh or dried to make tea. It can be purchased in health stores or health conscious grocery stores. See link below to buy echinacea online. The flowers are perennials and very easy to grow. I use the leaves and flowers, freshly picked, to make hot tea, although the entire plant has health benefits.

I cover the leaves and a flower in boiling water and steep for at least 15 minutes. I especially like adding lime slices to my echinacea tea. When my flowers are in season and blooming, echinacea goes into my daily afternoon tea rotation. Anthony William recommends using echinacea for short periods of time, a few days to two weeks, to support the immune system without overstimulating it.

Echinacea

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Radishes

I have had an interesting relationship with radishes. It’s not really a love/hate relationship, as I’ve disliked them since childhood. My gardener grandfather, Pop, tried unsuccessfully every spring to get me to eat one of these cruciferous veggies. It became a long running joke between us.

“Have a radish?” he would say with a grin, offering me one.

No thank you!” I would firmly reply.

It wasn’t that I was a picky eater, either. I liked most foods. I wanted to like radishes. Every once in a while, I would nibble on one, hoping it tasted differently than the last one I tried, to no avail.

Radishes

I completely abandoned any attempt to like radishes by adulthood. If they showed up in a salad, I picked them out, telling myself that I didn’t like radishes.

When I received Life Changing Foods, by Anthony William, I discovered he had devoted a section to radishes. I read through the info.

Radishes support and replenish the immune system. The sulfur in this veggie repels any type of pathogen and kills off parasites. The sulfides keep arteries and veins clean, which prevents plaque from building up. Radishes are incredible heart food, preventing cardiovascular disease and issues by increasing good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. And the skin of this little root vegetable helps to prevent all types of cancers. They also restore the kidney, liver, pancreas and spleen.

With radishes, we get a two-for-one deal. Not only are the roots health boosting, the greens are one of the most prebiotic foods available, second only to wild blueberries. Radish leaves contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and cancer fighting alkaloids, plus the greens possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. They repair the colon and parts of the intestinal tract that have lost the ability to absorb nutrients. Radish greens cleanse heavy metals from the body, removing mercury, lead, arsenic and aluminum. They also stave off neurological conditions, including MS, ALS, Parkinson’s and Lyme disease.

After reading about the extraordinary benefits radishes offer, I knew I needed to rethink my attitude about this powerful food. I’ve already discovered that my taste buds have changed since going plant based. Several other foods that I once disliked, I now enjoy.

I gave radishes another try. Pop would be proud of me. I can’t say radishes are my favorite food, however, I like them, especially combined with other foods in salads and slaws. In fact, this week I created a radish/red cabbage/carrot slaw with a zesty jalapeño dressing that I do love. See the recipe HERE.

I intend to incorporate radish greens in salads or add them to veggies to steam. And next spring, I want to grow them in my veggie bed. I can imagine my grandfather’s face brightening as he grins. “Have a radish?” At last I can answer, “Yes!”

Radishes

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