Guide to Gluten Free Flours

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Avoiding gluten doesn’t mean I don’t ever bake or cook with flour. It means I use gluten free flours, and fortunately, there is a wide variety to choose from. They don’t all have the same properties, and most are not interchangeable with wheat flour, one on one. Knowing what flours to use, for which purposes, and how much to use, prevents baking flops and catastrophes. And trust me, I’ve had a few of those.

Check out 8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance, to see why some people avoid gluten.

One thing I learned early in my plant based journey is that it’s best to use a combination of gluten free flours, for the best end results.


Below are great gluten free options, and the best ways to use them.

Guide to Gluten Free Flours

Gluten Free Flours

The flours can be divided into three categories: starches, medium density flours and heavy density flours. It’s best to use a combination of the three, and to experiment occasionally to see which blend suits your baking needs the best.

Starches

Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot flour is a very fine flour that is derived from the arrowroot plant. It is also called arrowroot starch or arrowroot powder. The flour resembles corn or potato starch.

Best used as a thickener, in place of corn starch, it can be substituted 1:1 for other starches. Arrowroot flour is helpful when combined with other gluten free flours as it helps the dough and finished product to hold together.

Use up to 25% of arrowroot flour in a mix of gluten free flours.

Potato Starch

Different from potato flour, this starch adds wonderful moisture to baked goods.

Best used for all types of baked goods.

Use up to 25% of potato starch in a mix of gluten free flours.

Tapioca Flour

Also known as cassava flour, this product is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. It is also known as tapioca starch, and should be used in combination with other gluten free flours.

Best used for mixing in gluten free flour blends and thickening soups, sauces and fillings.

Tapioca flour can be substituted for corn or potato starch. Use no more than 25% when combining with other gluten free flours.

 

Medium Density Gluten Free Flours

Sorghum Flour

This flour is closest in texture and taste to traditional wheat flour. It is high in antioxidants and in many instances, can be used as a 1:1 substitution for regular flour.

Best used for muffins, breads, pancakes, cookies and cakes.

Swap sorghum flour 1:1 for wheat flour or use up to 50% in gluten free mix.

Quinoa Flour

This grain has a nutty flavor. However, as a flour it can be slightly bitter. Use sparingly in a mixture of other gluten free flours, to add protein.

Best used for biscuits, flatbreads, herbed breads or muffins.

Only use 25%, or less, in a mix of gluten free flours.

Oat Flour

This flour is made by grinding oats. You can grind your own gluten free oats, in a blender or food processor. Otherwise, make sure the package states that this is a gluten free product. Oats are naturally gluten free, however, they are often cultivated and processed with wheat products, leading to cross contamination.

Best used for breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, crusts, fruit crisps and scones.

Use up to 50% of oat flour in a gluten free mix.

Millet Flour

This mild adaptable grain is rich in magnesium and also completely gluten free. Millet flour adds a crumbly texture to breads and muffins.

Best for breads, muffins, cookies, cakes and crusts.

Use up to 25% of millet flour in a gluten free mix.

Bean Flours

Beans can be ground into flour, just as grains can. All are naturally rich in protein and fiber. Available varieties include chickpea, or garbanzo, black bean, white bean, lentil and fava. Bean flours have a robust flavor and can leave an aftertaste, so experiment with these. I use garbanzo flour most often, of the bean flours.

Use bean flours in sweet treats such as pancakes, muffins or zucchini bread.

Up to 25% of a gluten free mix can be comprised of bean flours.

 

Wild Blueberry Scones

Heavy Density Gluten Free Flours

Almond Flour

This product is made from raw, blanched almonds that have been ground to a fine flour. Almond flour, and other nut based flours such as hazelnut, walnut or seed flours, add a punch of protein and a slightly nutty taste to baked goods.

Almond flour is best used for cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes and crumbles.

Use up to 25% almond flour in a mix of gluten free flours.

Buckwheat Flour

This flour, made from ground buckwheat, is 100% gluten free, and has a rich nutty flavor.

Best used for muffins, cookies, pancakes, waffles and breads.

Use up to 50% of this flour, in a gluten free mix.

Coconut Flour

This very dense flour is created from dried coconut. It is the most fibrous of all gluten free flours, which means it soaks up liquids. Plan to use at least 1/4 cup of extra liquid in recipes, when using coconut flour, or use a different flour. My mother had several failed recipes, before figuring out that coconut flour absorbed too much of the liquids, resulting in a dry and crumbly baked good.

Coconut flour is best used for pancakes, cookies, waffles and crusts.

You can use 1/4 cup of coconut flour, in place of 1 cup of other gluten free flours. You’ll still need to add at least ¼ cup of extra liquids.

Brown Rice Flour

This flour is made from rice that still contains the germ and bran from the rice grain. It is an excellent gluten free flour, suitable for a multitude of uses. White rice flour is available as well. It qualifies as a medium density flour.

Best used for all gluten free baking and cooking, thickener for soups, sauces and fillings.

Use up to 50% in gluten free mixes.

Creating a Gluten Free Flour Blend

When creating a blend of gluten free flours, to bake with, use a mix of starches, medium textured flour and heavy textured flours, for great texture and flavor.

I typically use a blend of oat flour, almond or brown rice flour, and arrowroot or tapioca starch. In a recipe that calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour, I use 1 cup of oat flour, 1 cup of almond or brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of arrowroot or tapioca starch. Some gluten free bakers use a 2:1 mix of flours to starches. For every cup of flour, they mix in 1/2 cup of starch.


Create this blend of gluten free flours, to have on hand, ready for use:

3 cups sorghum flour

3 cups brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups potato starch

1 1/2 cups arrowroot powder


Combine all ingredients well and store in the fridge. Makes 9 cups.


Or try out Bob’s Red Mill packaged flours. They have a 1:1 gluten free flour blend that can be used in place of wheat flour, without having to mix your own. I’ve used Bob’s several times, with excellent results. This company also packages many of the above mentioned flours individually.

Most grocery stores carry gluten free flours. Natural Grocers carries a large assortment of bulk packaged flours under their own brand, plus the Bob’s Red Mill brand.


Guide to Gluten Free Flours

Creating Healthy Treats

I don’t bake nearly as often as I used to. After eliminating dairy products, eggs, sugar and gluten from my diet, I at first thought baked goods were a thing of the past. Occasionally, however, I prepare a special treat, such as the wild blueberry scones, or wonderful chocolate wacky cupcakes, all prepared without dairy, eggs, refined sugar…I use organic coconut sugar or 100% pure maple syrup…and with gluten free flours.

These goodies are special treats, indeed.

Guide to Gluten Free Flours
Gluten Free Flours that I frequently use.

 

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Premium Bamboo Foot Pads

This post is written in exchange for products from Careness Foot Pads. The genuine and honest opinions expressed are entirely my own.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

When Careness contacted me about trying their Premium Bamboo Foot Pads, I responded with interest. I’ve heard of foot pads, having read comments that scoffed at whether such items benefitted the body, or not. Believers and non-believers weighed in with a variety of opinions.

This is what’s true about me though. I form my own opinions, after giving products of all kinds a try. I’m grateful that I make up my own mind. Where would I be, if I had not begun the then unheard of practice of drinking celery juice almost three years ago? Or what if I had decided food must not have healing properties, since not one of my doctors ever mentioned that possibility to me? I would not be the healthy, vibrant person that I now am.

The Premium Bamboo Foot Pads arrived in the mail, and not only did I try them, several of my family members tried them as well. Below are our results.

Premium Bamboo Foot Pads

What are Bamboo Foot Pads?

Foot pads, also called detox foot pads, cleansing foot pads or foot patches, have been used in Chinese medicine for many, many years as a way to naturally draw out toxins from the body, through the soles of the feet. There are other reported benefits as well, from improved sleep to stress relief to increased energy.

Careness uses all natural ingredients in their bamboo foot pads, including:

  • wood vinegar extract
  • bamboo vinegar extract
  • chitin and chitosan
  • tourmaline
  • vitamin C
  • vegetable fiber
  • minus ion powder
  • dextrin

The pads attach to the bottoms of the feet, which are rich with nerve endings and pores. Other practices, such as reflexology, bring healing to the entire body by focusing on the soles of the feet. The bamboo foot pads are worn while you sleep, drawing out toxins, increasing circulation and stimulating the feet to improve health and well being.

Opening the package. The ingredients are in paper bags, similar to tea bags. They affix to the adhesive sheets.
Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
A foot pad ready to be attached to the bottom of my foot.
Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
Bamboo foot pads attached, in the center of each foot. I’m ready to try these out!

Bamboo Foot Pad Results

For many years I took sleep aids or allergy meds, to put me to sleep at night. Since becoming plant based, I have not had trouble going to sleep. However, I wake up throughout the night, every 1 to 1 1/2 hours, roll over, and usually go back to sleep. Occasionally, I wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty sleeping after that. I use the time to think or meditate and eventually doze again.

After attaching a bamboo foot pad to each foot, I was ready to go to bed, and see what happened. The pads should be worn for eight hours. I admit to feeling very curious!

The soles of my feet felt slightly warm and a bit tingly, pleasantly so. I became drowsy right away and fell asleep quickly. Rather than waking up every hour or so, I slept soundly until 5:00 am. I woke briefly. My feet still felt warm, in a cozy kind of way, making me smile. I felt very relaxed, almost as if I had taken a sleep aid. In a few moments I had slipped back into sleep, and rested well for a couple more hours.

When I woke fully, I felt rested, alert and settled, I think would be the proper word, more grounded. I had a slightly dry mouth. Peeling off the bamboo foot pads, I found them to be brown in color and a bit gooey. Whether this was from detoxing, or simply moisture from my feet interacting with the ingredients, I can’t say. However, I can attest to experiencing an excellent night of rest. I tried the bamboo foot pads the next night, and was rewarded with the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a very long time. I slept straight through the night, without waking at all, until 7:00 am, which is something I have not done for years. The second morning, I did not note a dry mouth.

My family members…Greg, Mom, and my stepdad…all reported a more restful night’s sleep as well. Each also said that the pads changed to dark colors overnight. Greg, who is a very restless sleeper, felt his body relaxed and was more quiet.

Premium Bamboo Foot Pads
The foot pads after being worn for 8 hours, as I slept.
Premium Bamboo Foot Pads

Where Can You Find Bamboo Foot Pads?

Careness Premium Bamboo Foot Pads can be purchased through this Amazon link and includes a 20% off coupon. And, the package comes with a bonus lavender foot mask to try.

I will definitely use these again. With their ease of use and natural ingredients, the foot pads are a great alternative to sleep aids. Plus, I felt energetic after those great sleeps. And oh, what I can accomplish after a wonderful night of rest!

Have you ever tried bamboo foot pads? What was your experience?


Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program 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.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

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Gluten intolerance? I never gave those words a thought.

In fact, I used to say, a bit smugly too, that I could live on soup, bread and Diet Pepsi. Those three favorites were the foundation of my poor diet. And for years, I attempted to live by that motto. I gave up the Diet Pepsi first, more than a dozen years ago, and experienced an immediate improvement in my health. Soup can stay, minus dairy products and unhealthy toppings. Bread, though? I love it and thought I could not live without bread. I craved it, from gooey cinnamon rolls to thick slices of sandwich bread to pizza crust to those big soft pretzels.

What I did not realize, until I switched to a plant based lifestyle, was that bread did not love me. In particular, gluten did not do my body any good. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, eating a typical American diet that relied on white bread as a staple. Never once did I consider that my digestive problems and skin rashes might be caused by a substance found in wheat products.

Maybe you haven’t considered that possibility either. Here are eight common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye and spelt, which is a form of wheat. Oats can be contaminated by gluten grains, so if eating them, look for the words “gluten free” on the package. Some people do not have an allergic reaction to gluten. Those that do experience inflammation, especially in the digestive system. Gluten compromises the immune system and can trigger diseases such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colitis and a host of other disorders throughout the body.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

  • Digestive distress tops the list of gluten intolerance symptoms. Disorders include upset stomach, bloating after a gluten heavy meal, abdominal pain and discomfort, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn’s disease. Celiac disease, considered an autoimmune disease, is a severe form of gluten intolerance. It can adversely affect the digestive tract, damaging it. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness after eating a meal, is one of the most common symptoms of a sensitivity to gluten.
  • Headaches, and especially frequent migraines, are another indicator of gluten intolerance. Those who are sensitive to gluten may be more prone to headaches than others.
  • Irritability, depression and anxiety can be very debilitating and can be accompanied by feelings of sadness, despair or hopelessness. Surprisingly, those with a gluten intolerance are more susceptible to depression compared to those without the sensitivity. One possibility is that gluten creates changes in the gut microbiota, increasing bad bacteria and decreasing good bacteria. This change may affect the central nervous system, increasing the risk of depression.
  • Muscle cramps and bone and joint pain can be a result of inflammation, caused by gluten. This pain can be widespread throughout the body and accompanied by tiredness and extreme fatigue.
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs is common in those with diabetes or B12 deficiency. It can also affect those with a sensitivity, perhaps because of a reaction to certain antibodies in gluten.
  • Brain fog refers to a feeling of not being able to think clearly. It has been described as forgetfulness or mental fatigue or feeling foggy headed. Such a condition is a common symptom of gluten intolerance.
  • Skin rashes and disorders are another common ailment among those who are sensitive to gluten. These tiny blisters or bumps are often found on the upper arms, elbows, knees and torso. A gluten free diet can clear rashes up and also help other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • Canker sores in the mouth or digestive tract are another symptom of gluten intolerance. Chronic mouth sores are almost always an indication of sensitivity and a condition that can be greatly improved or eliminated completely on a gluten free diet.
8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Healing a Gluten Intolerance

The first step toward healing sounds simple but can be difficult for people who love their bread, like I did. Stop eating grain products that include gluten. This involves more than passing on the bread. Gluten can be found in pastas, desserts such as pie, cookies, cake and doughnuts, cereals, pancakes, waffles, bagels, gravies, sauces, soups and the bread coating on veggies. Anything made from wheat, barley, rye, spelt and sometimes oats has gluten lurking in it.

Surprisingly, gluten can be found in foods that are not easily identified as a grain product. It becomes very important to read labels. I checked out the label above, for veggie burgers. They appeared to be a healthy choice. However, listed in the ingredients are wheat and gluten…and several other things that I do not eat. Eliminating gluten from the diet involves awareness and determination.

The rewards are great though. I had most of the symptoms listed above and have had them my whole life. They ranged from minor to troublesome and I never connected them to the same source…gluten. In my quest to eliminate inflammation in my body, I decided to stop eating gluten products and see if it made a difference. The change in my health was amazing. The rash I’d had on my upper arms since childhood disappeared. My gut healed, indigestion stopped, pain and swelling in my joints went away. I stopped getting mouth sores and headaches, and my irritable bowel syndrome cleared up.

I’d suggest keeping a food diary and then begin eliminating gluten laden products from your diet, a few items at a time. Read labels. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Look for “gluten free” substitutions. I enjoy pasta still. It’s just made from brown rice instead of wheat. There are many gluten free products available in grocery stores. Typically these items are grouped together in their own section. I bake using almond or oat flour that is gluten free. Check the labels of gluten free products too, however. Those crackers or that cereal that is gluten free may contain sugar or other surprise ingredients.

Gluten free bread is available, often in the frozen food section. You know what though? Since changing my diet I don’t crave bread anymore. I rarely eat a gluten free roll or slice of bread. And I don’t miss it. I can live on healthy soups, fruits, veggies and water…and really live, while experiencing optimal health and well being.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

 

Discover which Gluten Free Flours to use and how to create your own blend in Guide to Gluten Free Flours.

Find gluten free recipes on Pinterest, or check out this plant based gluten free cookbook!

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and affiliate advertising program 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.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a condition in which a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, painful or reddened, in reaction to an injury or infection. Continued inflammation can result in premature aging and diseases, including those referred to as autoimmune disorders. What I’ve discovered, through the teachings of Anthony William and by switching to a plant based diet, is that the underlying causes of inflammation, when not due to an injury, are pathogens such as viruses.

I healed from years of chronic pain and the shingles virus, which had attacked my sciatic nerves, by eating fruits, vegetables and herbs that not only soothed the inflammation but killed off the viruses. What I’ve continued to learn about my health is that when I do get a slight injury, my body reacts with an inflammatory response still.

I am grateful that I know how to deal with inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fighting Inflammation

Three times, in three years, I’ve injured myself slightly. And every time, it’s my left leg that suffers as an inflammatory response is triggered. This time I tangled with the front door, loaded down with bags of groceries, and lost my balance. As I fell, I threw myself forward toward a nearby chair, preferring to fall onto a cushioned seat, rather than onto the floor.

I’d love to see a slow-mo replay of that move! I successfully, albeit awkwardly, landed with a thump in the chair…and twisted my left knee in the process. This poor leg, that I call Darling with a mix of affection and exasperation, seems to be the weakest part of my body. The shingles virus affected it horribly, causing a great deal of pain over the years. After my graceless plop into the chair, I scanned my body, mentally, checking for injuries. Other than mild pain around the left knee, I seemed to be okay. However, within days I felt the tell-tale signs of inflammation in that leg. They included heat around the joint, muscle soreness and tightness, spasms, and pain. I began to limp.

I’m not a doctor or nurse, however, I do know my body well. And although I have healed from so much, this leg continues the recovery process. It reacts to stress by succumbing to inflammation. Thankfully, I can speed up the healing process by turning to foods that fight inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fruits that Fight Inflammation

First of all, when dealing with inflammation, whatever the cause, avoid wheat and dairy products. Both foods can aggravate and increase inflammation in the body.

Add these fruits, as many servings as possible during the day:

  • berries – all kinds
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • melons – all kinds
  • pomegranate

These can be eaten fresh or added to salads and combined in a variety of ways in smoothies. While oranges don’t make the list, for fighting inflammation, they are great for soothing body pains. I add them to smoothies and salads or eat them on their own.

Vegetables that Fight Inflammation

Add these veggies to eliminate inflammation:

  • asparagus
  • celery
  • cruciferous vegetables – all kinds
  • cucumbers
  • leafy greens
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • radishes

These foods can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite anti-inflammatory meal includes steamed veggies, from the list above, with a fresh salad incorporating the rest of the list and pomegranate seeds tossed on top.

Herbs that Fight Inflammation

And finally, include these anti-inflammatory herbs and wild foods, in the form of fresh, tea, capsules or tinctures:

  • aloe vera
  • astralagus
  • burdock root
  • cat’s claw
  • chaga mushroom powder
  • chicory
  • cilantro
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • garlic
  • hemp seeds
  • honey (raw, organic)
  • lemon balm
  • nettle leaf
  • turmeric

Many of these can be taken in capsule or tincture form, however it works well to create tea blends and sip on the hot drink throughout the day. Combine dried burdock root, lemon balm and nettle leaf in a single large cup, add very hot water, and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in a spoonful of raw organic honey to receive the healing benefits from four inflammation fighting foods. Cinnamon and cloves can be added to chicory for a savory hot drink. Turmeric and cinnamon, combined with dairy free almond or coconut milk, makes a soothing anti-inflammatory drink.

Detox smoothie, celery juice, anti-inflammatory smoothie, turmeric milk (made with almond milk)

Sample Anti-inflammatory Menu

When I realized inflammation had settled around my left knee, I focused on consuming foods from the lists above. Here’s what a day of meals looks like:

Breakfast – 12 ounces of celery juice, 32 ounce smoothie (frozen berries, mango and pineapple, bananas, kiwi, grapes, pomegranate seeds, fresh aloe vera gel, teaspoon each of chaga mushroom powder and hemp seeds)

Lunch – plain baked potato with cooked cauliflower, salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds

Dinner – steamed veggies (potatoes, white and sweet, and asparagus), salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds.

Snack – fruit salad, mixing all the fruits from the list together.

During the day, I drank plenty of water and cups of hot tea, combining dried herbs together and throwing in several cranberries. I took cat’s claw and turmeric in capsule form, increasing my usual dosage. Several times during the day I iced the knee, to ease pain and reduce heat in the muscles.

List in hand, I headed to the grocery store and purchased as many of the healing foods as possible. I noticed improvement within 6 hours of including anti-inflammatory foods in my diet. After a couple of days of eating these foods, primarily, I am well on my way to being back to normal.

And this is what I’ve learned, finally. Because even a slight injury seems to trigger an inflammatory response, especially in my left leg, I need to be including foods from this list regularly, rather than waiting until I feel inflammation. I do eat lots of potatoes, celery and cilantro, and berries go into my smoothies most mornings. However, I want to be more intentional, more consistent, about eating these healing foods.

I’d rather be proactive. And perhaps someday, a little bump or tumble won’t set Darling off!

30 Foods that Fight Inflammation

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Peppermint Tea Benefits

It’s seems fitting to close the year with a post about peppermint tea benefits. Although this distinctive herb flourishes in the summer months and it is available year round, many associate peppermint with the holidays. Think of gingerbread houses with peppermint candies adorning them. Or imagine steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a stick of peppermint as a stirrer.

For the more health conscious, avoiding sugar, peppermint leaves make a flavorful hot tea that pairs well with healthy treats. The herb does so much more than contribute flavor, however. It offers healing benefits as well.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Nutrition

Spearmint and peppermint are members of the mentha family. Peppermint has a higher level of menthol than spearmint, which has a sweeter flavor. The plant originated in Asia and the Mediterranean and has been used for thousands of years medicinally and in teas and cooking.

Nutritionally peppermint offers vitamins A, B and C, iron, manganese, calcium, folate, protein and fiber. It also contains small amounts of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper.

Mint is extremely easy to grow in gardens and containers. In fact, the plant is considered invasive. I grow peppermint and spearmint in my herb garden, off by itself where I can limit the spread of the plants.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Add peppermint into the diet for the following health benefits:

• Aids digestion. Improves hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach and soothes intestinal spasms. Peppermint calms and cleanses a spasmodic liver, reducing liver heat brought on by toxins. It also helps the liver rebuild its glucose and glycogen storage reserves. (From Liver Rescue by Anthony William)

• Soothes an upset stomach, easing nausea and indigestion, and calms the entire digestive system. Peppermint is especially beneficial for those experiencing irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that causes abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and cramps.

• The menthol in peppermint relieves congestion and eases the symptoms of colds and flus.

• Powerful anti-microbial properties freshen the breath and kills off bacteria in the mouth.

• Just inhaling the aroma of peppermint enhances brain function and memory and increases alertness.

• Balances hormone levels in women, easing a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

How to Make Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is available as an essential oil or a tincture. Dried peppermint leaves are available in bulk form for tea or it is easily found packaged in teabags. Use 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Use teabags in hot water and steep for the same amount of time. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.

My favorite way to enjoy peppermint tea is to pick a few sprigs of the herb from my garden. After lightly rinsing the leaves I add them to very hot water, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Peppermint leaves can be combined with a variety of other fresh herbs for a hot drink that not only blends flavors but boosts health benefits.

Tonight I walked into the herb garden, with a flashlight. The garden sleeps in the cold, crisp air. In late fall I cut back the mint plants however, hope spurred me on this evening as I peered closely at the ground. I found them…tiny peppermint leaves pushing upward out of the rich soil.

Those tiny fresh leaves created one perfect cup of hot peppermint tea. I am savoring it.

Peppermint Tea Benefits

Check out my Amazon Storefront for Liver Rescue and other Anthony William books, and for peppermint tea.

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Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

I’ve always loved aromatic cloves. As a child I was most familiar with cloves as decorations on oranges and baked ham. And indeed, cloves have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.

Sweet and spicy cloves do more than flavor foods and drinks. They are full of healing benefits as well.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Origins of Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, an evergreen that reaches a height of 30 feet. Its name originates from the Latin word “clavus,” which means “nail”. Clove trees typically grow in warm, humid climates such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil. Tanzania leads the market, producing about 80 percent of the world’s clove supply.

Cloves are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K. They also provide minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Healing Benefits of Spicy Cloves

Cloves can be used in the culinary arts and they are beneficial for the following health conditions:

• Heals infections and inflammation due to high anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

• Soothes coughs and colds with expectorant properties.

• Boosts the immune system with powerful antioxidants that fight off oxidative damage and free radicals.

• Promotes the production of gastric acids, which creates better digestion of food. Cloves ease indigestion and dyspepsia, as well as reduce gas pressure in the gut, lessening discomfort.

• Freshens breath and treats oral conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis. The antibacterial property of cloves minimizes the growth of bacteria inside the mouth.

Clove oil can be used as a natural painkiller for toothaches. Its anesthetic property alleviates pain and discomfort that arises from cavities and other dental and gum problems.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

How to Use Cloves

Cloves are readily available in grocery stores, whole or ground. Ground cloves may be used in a variety of recipes. Add dried cloves to hot apple cider or brew as a tea.

Try this healthy and flavorful hot drink:

Combine 1 whole clove, 1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground) with 2 cups water. Simmer on stove for two minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey if desired and 2 teaspoons non dairy milk such as almond or coconut.

Clove oil is also available.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

With two blog posts to write tonight, I’m doing something I’ve rarely done. I’m doing a crossover post.

The book Liver Rescue, by Anthony William, released at the end of October. I preordered a copy, as did my mom and sister Linda. What better way to work through the amazing information within this hefty volume, than together.

Tonight we met for the first Liver Rescue Book Club meeting. Rather than share a recipe for Try This Tuesday, as I had planned, this post seemed more important. Trying new health related things goes beyond recipes and helpful gadgets. It can be gathering together to learn how to live in optimal health.

I hope our experience encourages others to create a health geared book club too!

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Why a Book About the Liver?

This evening we covered the first two chapters of the book. Chapter one is introductory…and eye opening. Why would Anthony devote an entire book to liver health? Because it’s that important.

We are very aware of other organs and systems in the body. Our hearts beat. We draw breath into our lungs. The stomach growls when it’s empty. We think with our brains. Our bladders fill and our intestines rumble. We moisturize our skin or get goosebumps when something extraordinary happens.

Our livers though? We don’t give them a thought…until we are far gone in a catastrophic illness such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver cancer. And yet the liver works incredible hard on our behalf, to keep the body functioning.

Anthony goes so far as to suggest that our livers are our best friends. It’s time, my mom, sister and I decided, to get to know this mysterious organ and do all we can to keep it healthy and happy, as many other ailments and illness are connected to liver health.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Liver Rescue Book Club

Our first meeting was a success. Mom prepared a delicious plant based meal that we shared with stepdad Walter. I’ll provide dinner next Tuesday. Linda will feed us the week after that.

The table cleared after dinner, the three of us opened our books and discussed the first two chapters.

Chapter Two explores the connection between liver health and the pancreas. A diet high in fat wreaks havoc on the liver, which then has a negative impact on the pancreas. Linda and I are very aware of pancreatic distress. We lost our father eight years ago to pancreatic cancer. This terminal cancer is on the rise. I know many, many people who have succumbed to this horrible disease. I want to do all I can to keep my liver and pancreas working well.

We talked about various sections in the first two chapters. And we expressed genuine gratitude for how miraculous the human body is. To encourage each other and keep us on track, we set a goal for next week. Each of us will keep a food journal over the next seven days, recording everything we eat. It’s possible, even on a plant based diet, to consume too much fat. Writing down what we eat raises awareness and allows us to see where problem areas might lurk.

I appreciate my mother and sister, for their willingness to improve their health and walk with me on this journey. Being the best we can be doesn’t have to be difficult. We intend to link arms and do this together…and have fun while we befriend our livers.

Liver Rescue Book Club Meeting

Order Liver Rescue, or Anthony’s other books, through my link below.

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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.

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 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

I’ve heard of this tropical fruit, exotic in its strangeness. I’d read about the amazing health benefits. Until today, however, I’ve never eaten one before. I’m glad I remedied that!

Top 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

What is Dragon Fruit?

Also called pitaya or cactus fruit, dragon fruit is a member of the cactus family and originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit is oval or pear shaped. The inside is white or red…more like a purplish pink…with seeds that resemble sesame seeds. Dragon fruit has a mild, sweet flavor or sometimes a sour flavor, depending on the variety.

Today it is grown primarily in south Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Dragon fruit supplies protein and fiber, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, iron, niacin, phosphorus and calcium.

Top 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

Health Benefits of Dragon Fruit

This delicious superfood delivers support and healing to the body in the following ways:

• Boosts the immune system. Dragon fruit is one of the top vitamin C foods. It also ranks high in antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals in the body.

• Improves cardiovascular health by lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Plus the little black seeds inside the dragon fruit provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These omegas can decrease triglycerides, lowering the risk of heart disease.

• Can prevent cancer. Dragon fruit contains phytoalbumin, which when combined with its vitamin C, minerals and lycopene, makes the fruit highly valued for cancer preventing qualities. Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, creates the vivid color, and studies show that it may contain chemo-preventive effects for prostate, breast, lung, liver and skin cancer.

• The red pigment in red fleshed dragon fruit rejuvenates the liver by helping it to produce cells faster. It also slows liver aging and helps to prevent liver disease.

• Creates youthful skin. The high vitamin C content keeps the skin healthy, tight and firm, while the phosphorus repairs skin cells and prevents premature aging.

• Aids digestion. The fruit’s prebiotics improve gut health and digestion while the fiber helps to eliminate constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

• Prevents diabetes. The high fiber also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain normal blood sugar. And dragon fruit prevents  sugar spikes after eating high glycemic index foods.

Top 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

Top 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

How to Use Dragon Fruit

Look for dragon fruit in the produce section at the grocery store. Or check the frozen food section, especially for the red dragon fruit, which can be more difficult to find. Dried or powdered dragon fruit is available as well.

It’s simple to prepare dragon fruit. Slice in two, lengthwise or across the fruit, and scoop out the soft insides using a spoon or melon baller. Eat plain, include with other fruits, or add to fruit smoothies.

This was my smoothie this morning:

2 bananas • 1 dragon fruit • 1 cup wild blueberries • 2 inch section of fresh aloe vera gel • 1 teaspoon hemp seeds • 1 teaspoon Hawaiian spirulina • 1 teaspoon Atlantic sea dulse

It was wonderful!

Top 7 Dragon Fruit Benefits

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

I love it when I find an excellent plant based product that I can use…and share about. Since going plant based, I make most of my own sauces and salad dressings. They add extra flavor to veggies and salads, and I know what the ingredients are.

I’ve tried several different vegan mayos that are egg and sugar free. Recently I discovered a wonderful vegan mayo that meets ALL of my dietary restrictions AND brings all the flavor and versatility of a traditional mayonnaise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

What is Fabanaise?

Sir Kensington’s vegan mayo is unique among others that I have tried. Like the other vegan mayo products, it is egg and sugar free. It’s also non-GMO and soy and gluten free.

What makes the Fabanaise different is that it’s made with aquafaba.

Aquawhat you say?

Aquafaba is the water that chickpeas have been cooked in. Due to its ability to mimic egg whites in cooking, aquafaba can be used as a replacement for them in some cases, including making meringues and marshmallows…or mayonnaise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

How to Use Fabanaise

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise taste like regular mayo, with none of the “bad stuff”. Including aquafaba doesn’t impart a chickpea or bean flavor at all. The mayo is light in taste and creamy in texture.

Use it as you would regular mayo.

Add a couple of spoonfuls to freshly chopped apples and celery and stir in a few walnuts for a wonderfully healthy Waldorf Salad. Or use as a base for homemade salad dressings and sauces.

Here are my two favorite quick sauces, using fabanaise:

Spicy Mayo

Combine 3 tablespoons of Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise with 1 teaspoon of sugar free sriracha sauce. Taste and adjust level of spiciness, as desired. Add more fabanaise for less spicy flavor or more sriracha for more snap.

I use this simple sauce on veggies, salads, for oven roasted potato wedges or black bean burgers wrapped in lettuce leaves. It’s good with everything!

Garlic Lemon Dill Aioli

For a non-spicy sauce, that’s just as versatile, combine 3 tablespoons of Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise with 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced, and a teaspoon of fresh dill, finely chopped. Chill before serving.

This sauce is wonderful served with fresh or roasted veggies, a plain baked potato, in a nori wrap or as a dressing for salads.

When I’m feeling really wild, I use both sauces with the same meal!

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

Where to Purchase Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise

I buy this yummy mayo at my local Natural Grocers, in the refrigerator section. Check out their website Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise for availability in your area.

This company has other products as well. So far I’ve only tried the vegan fabanaise and used it as a base.

A delicious, healthy, good-for-me mayo product made out of chickpea water? I know, it sounds crazy! It’s amazing, I promise.

Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise