Cover Girl for Health

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Yesterday I received a delightful surprise, just as I was meeting a friend for lunch. A notification popped up on my phone, as I tucked it into my purse. Lisa, my contact at the national magazine First for Women, sent me an email. It opened with these words:

“Hi Cindy, your issue comes out today and I just learned you’re on the cover!!”

And just like that, I became a cover girl, a cover girl for health!

Cover Girl for Health Title Meme

A Magazine Reaches Out

Lisa contacted me in July, shortly after my mother and I appeared in another national magazine, Woman’s World. My contact there found me through my Instagram account and asked if Mom and I could answer some health related questions for her. The July issue of Woman’s World would include a feature article about Anthony William, the Medical Medium, and the wonders of celery juice.

She read in my Instagram posts that Mom and I experienced remarkable health transformations after following Anthony’s protocols. Both of us healed from a host of ailments and health issues. As our eating habits shifted and our bodies recovered we naturally lost weight. You can read about that fun adventure, doing a photo shoot and appearing in Woman’s World Magazine HERE. When that issue hit the stands, Mom graced the front cover! What a wonderful surprise for her. She looks adorable, holding her celery juice.

Cover Girl for Health Photo Shoot
Asenath, from Dr Flys Salon, did an excellent job with our hair and makeup. Photographer Patty Jesse took the photos for Woman’s World.
Cover Girl for Health Womans World Magazine
There is my sweet mom on the cover of Womans World Magazine. She was the first Cover Girl for Health in our family!

A Second Opportunity

Mom and I enjoyed sharing that first time experience of being featured in a magazine story and having a professional photo shoot. I’m grateful for her willingness to jump into adventures with me.

When Lisa contacted me, she explained that First for Women is a sister magazine to Woman’s World. First for Women planned a feature in their October issue about celery juice and Anthony William. She wondered if she could ask me some questions.

I’m always happy to help people with health related questions. Severe chronic sciatica led me down a dark path of pain and ultimately despair. At my lowest point, faced with the prospect of needing a wheelchair, I asked for Divine help and looked for answers beyond what I’d been told by the medical community. That’s when I discovered Anthony. He truly is a Godsend and a blessing in my life. My desire is to provide an answer to someone else’s question and cry for help.

After a few email exchanges, Lisa contacted me with the announcement that her editor wanted to use my story in their October issue. Since First for Women had access to the photos from the Woman’s World shoot, I wouldn’t need to have another session. I’m sure that saved time and money for the magazine too. I agreed, happy again to help.

Cover Girl for Health Mom and Cindy
The inside story, with the text covered up, in Womans World Magazine.

Cover Girl for Health

Truthfully, I had almost forgotten about the story in First for Women. Because I didn’t have to do a photo shoot or fill out additional releases and interviews, the time passed and I became busy with a trip to Scotland and the blogs.

Funny enough, as I showered yesterday morning, the thought popped into my head “Oh…I wonder when the story comes out for First for Women?” From past experience I knew that the magazines release early. I looked forward to seeing the story and discovering which photo the magazine used, of the hundreds that Patty Jesse took. I had no inkling that I’d be on the cover. Lisa’s email arrived in my inbox a couple of hours later.

It’s been fun, being on the cover. I’ve received many messages from friends and family. It’s also a bit of a shock, in a giggly kind of way, to walk into Walmart and see my image on a magazine at the check out. And of course, the magazine leads with the weight I lost as a result of my healthier lifestyle. In the article within the magazine, they offer more benefits. Truthfully, weight loss was not my motivation for drinking celery juice and changing to a plant based lifestyle. Improving my health, easing my severe pain and walking without a cane drove me to shift my diet.

My Desire

However, weight loss articles attract readers. I totally get that. In the past I’ve bought many magazines and books with the intention of losing weight. What I discovered is that focusing on health delivered the side benefit of losing the extra weight, easily.

My sincere desire is that women pick up the magazine, curious about the weight loss aspect, and read the story. May they find answers to their questions about health issues. May they find healing. And may they find hope for a better quality of life.

For all those reasons, I’m honored to be the cover girl for health. I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Cover Girl for Health On Sale Now
The October issue of First for Women, on sale now wherever magazines are sold.

Have a question?

If you’d like more info about my healing journey, please check out these posts:

Welcome to my Healing Journey Blog

Following a Plant Based Lifestyle – One Year Update

Celebrating Two Years on a Plant Based Lifestyle

Three Years Plant Based

And please ask me any questions you have, in the comments below or through the contact form.

Pick up Anthony’s books in my storefront:

Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

 

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3 Years Plant Based

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I can’t let this month slip by without noting that July is an anniversary month for me. I am 3 years plant based. In July 2016 I made a decision that radically changed my life. What an amazing journey.

Read my first year update, to appreciate the many changes I have experienced.

Year 2 update is here, with more incredible healing.

And now, on to what 3 years plant based has brought.

3 Years Plant Based title meme

Healing During Year Three

The first two years plant based created dramatic changes in my health. With such remarkable changes, there is no way I’ll ever return to my old way of eating a typical American diet.

I continue my routine of lemon/lime water, celery juice and fruit smoothies in the mornings and veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds for lunch, dinner and snacks. Water and herbal teas are my drinks of choice.

The health changes have not been as dramatic this year, as most of my ailments and chronic conditions have healed. However healing continues.

3 Years Plant Based DinnerA typical plant based meal.

Year Three Changes

  • hair continues to darken
  • healthier skin, nails and hair
  • discoloration on lips gone
  • ability to fight inflammation more quickly
  • greater awareness of what my body needs, for optimal health
  • greater awareness of what my body does NOT want or need
  • improved liver function
  • improved mental clarity and focus
  • greater flexibility

Still working on:

  • full range of motion in left knee
  • strength in both knees

The area that still requires further healing is around my left knee. I’ve fallen twice this year. The first time, in January, a grocery bag caught on the front door knob as I walked by, laden down with too many bags. I twisted my left knee badly as I fell into a nearby chair. The second time, three weeks ago, I slipped on a small puddle of water in the kitchen. I went completely down onto the floor, pinning my left leg beneath me.

This is what 3 years plant based has taught me though. I can quickly support my body by increasing inflammation fighting foods and herbs. Doing so restores mobility and eliminates pain. I am so grateful for the knowledge I’ve acquired, that helps me maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

3 Years Plant Based DillOne of my favorite herbs…dill.

Higher Awareness

What I’ve noticed most this past year is an increased awareness of several things.

Herbs and foraging for wild edibles is something I continue to learn about and enjoy. I grow many herbs in my garden that are wonderful for cooking and creating healing teas with. I have fun combining fresh herbs to make delicious tea blends.

Experiencing my own healing increases my compassion for others who are suffering. It has been my privilege to assist people who are hurting or looking for help with health challenges.

Greater opportunities for sharing my healing story appeared this year. My mother and I were included in Woman’s World Magazine in a feature about the healing power of celery juice. A second national magazine has contacted me about an article this fall.

I shared part of my journey as a guest on my first podcast. And I’ve done several interviews with other bloggers. I’m so grateful for these avenues that allow me to offer hope and healing to others.

And finally, beyond my healing and helping others heal, I have a greater awareness of the health of our planet. I’ve already reduced the use of chemicals in my home and garden. Recently I’ve begun eliminating one-use plastics from my life. This is an ongoing desire, to reduce waste and lessen the strain upon our resources.

In the same way that I must love myself before I can love others, I needed to heal myself before I could offer healing to others and to the earth.

3 Years Plant Based Honeysuckle TeaA delightful wild edible, honeysuckle tea provides many healing benefits.

To Continued Good Health

My healing journey continues. As I feel gratitude for improved health, I want to express thankfulness to Anthony William for guidance and to my family for supporting me as I heal. I deeply appreciate two people especially, as they have journeyed alongside me.

My mom is experiencing her own dramatic health shifts. We’ve shared many adventures along the way, learning and healing together.

And Greg makes my journey easier. His choice to become plant based as well encourages me and makes food and meal prep simpler. His health has improved greatly and continues to shift. I’m proud of him.

I’m thrilled to be 3 years plant based. It’s a lifestyle that I embrace with incredible joy. It’s become a tradition to snap an commemorative photo of my journey with Redbud Tree in my yard. We have both overcome so much. We’ve both become stronger. This year, the tree leafed out beautifully, creating a full canopy for the first time since the 2011 tornado. I feel so connected to this resilient tree. For the first time in many years, I feel beautifully whole. Redbud Tree and I are healthy.

3 Years Plant Based Cindy

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Healing With Dill

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As a child, my only association with the dill herb was with pickles. I don’t remember my mom or grandmother adding dill to potato salads or other dishes. However, as my appreciation for plants continues to grow, this aromatic herb ranks high on my list of favorites.

Dills grows in my herb garden. I add it to potato dishes, salads, dressings and other recipes. I’ve yet to brew dill tea, but why not? The more I study this herb, the more I love it and appreciate its health benefits.

Join me in healing with dill.

Healing with Dill title meme

Origins of Dill

Dill, also commonly called dill weed, originated in the Mediterranean region. It’s been used medicinally and as a spice since ancient times. Dill, which means “calm” or “soothe”, is related to parsley, cumin and the bay leaf.

Long ago dill was primarily used to calm the digestive system and soothe colicky babies. Greek doctors treated wounds with it and believed the herb delivered courage to those who consumed it.

Dill grows 16 – 30 inches tall. The thin leaves are delicate, finely divided and very soft. It blooms in clusters of yellow or white flowers.

Fresh dill weed contains fiber, protein, manganese, folate, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C.

Baked Potato with Dill and Chives

Healing with Dill

Health benefits of dill include:

Protects Against Free Radicals

Dill helps antioxidants to attach to oxidized molecules that damage the body.

Aids Digestion

The fatty acids in dill soothe an upset stomach and improves the whole digestive system. The herb increases energy levels as well.

Lowers Cholesterol

Dill lowers bad cholesterol and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Relieves Depression

The herb has antidepressant and analgesic benefits, without the negative side effects of drugs.

May Help with Epilepsy

Dill leaf extract shows promise as an anticonvulsant, which aids in the treatment of epilepsy.

Possesses Antimicrobial Properties

Dill fights fungi, bacteria and mold, making it helpful against fungal and bacterial infections.

Sweetens the Breath

For centuries, people have chewed on the leaves of the dill herb to freshen breath and cleanse the mouth.

Helps to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Dill weed reduces menstrual discomfort and pain.

Relieves Arthritis Pain

Dill is an anti-inflammatory that reduces inflammation and the associated pain of disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and arthritis.

Using Dill

Dill weed is available in fresh or dried form at most grocery stores. It is also fairly easy to grow. The herb prefers a sunny location and thrives well in heat. Due to massive amounts of rain this spring, I moved my dill plant into a container. The water drains more quickly, keeping the soil from getting boggy.

Use fresh or dried dill in potato or veggie recipes, soups, salads and sauces. One of my favorite uses for fresh or dried dill is as a seasoning on oven roasted potatoes. Dice up four potatoes and place in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil, and a teaspoon each of dill, rosemary and thyme. Stir well to coat potatoes. Roast on a parchment paper covered baking sheet in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

I also love the simplicity of snipping fresh dill and chives from my garden to top a plain baked potato. Delicious! It is also easy to prepare a wonderful DIY salad dressing using Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise, fresh or dried dill and lemon juice.

Try these great recipes as well, featuring dill:

Radish, Cucumber & Dill Salad

Cucumber, Tomato & Dill Salad

What’s Next with Dill

I love dill so much. I’m not only healing with dill, I’m learning how to use the herb in ways that go far beyond pickles. Dill tea is definitely on my list of herbal teas to try. I’ll let you know when I experience it!

Dill Weed

Purchase dried dill below:


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Health Benefits of Purslane

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In this next installment in the Wild Edibles series, let me introduce you to another health boosting weed. Purslane, like cleavers, commonly grows in backyards and gardens, and along sidewalks and pathways.

I found this wild edible by accident this afternoon, growing near my tomato plants. However, the plant announced itself in a peculiar way before that. I  recently dreamed that I found purslane growing near my front deck. Recognizing its value, I felt thrilled by the discovery and in my dream, I told others about the health benefits of purslane.

A sense of deja vu came over me today, when I spied several plants growing in my raised vegetable bed, which happens to be near my front deck. I looked around to see if there was anyone to share this discovery with!

Health Benefits of Purslane title meme

What is Purslane?

Although considered a weed by many, purslane is a member of the succulent family. The herb goes by other names, including duckweed, fatweed and pursley. Originally from India, the healing herb is now found across the US and in Asia, Central Europe and the Mediterranean. It typically appears in spring and thrives throughout the summer.

Purslane has smooth, reddish stems and leaves that cluster at stem joints and ends. Tiny yellow flowers can appear at any time during the growing season although the blooms only last for a few hours. I observed that the leaves of the plant close together as the sun sets.

Another identifying characteristic of purslane is the juice from the leaves. Tear a leaf in two. If the juice is clear, the plant is a purslane. If the juice is white, it’s a different plant that is not to be consumed.

Often removed from gardens as a weed, purslane has many healing properties, making it a plant worthy of attention.

Health Benefits of Purslane in the Garden

Health Benefits

Purslane is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C and E, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and phosphorus. It also offers disease fighting antioxidants and plant based omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits include:

Source of Beta-Carotene

Purslane provides beta-carotene, a pigment that the body converts to vitamin A. This potent antioxidant helps to maintain healthy skin, neurological function and excellent eyesight. Beta-carotene prevents chronic disease by protecting the body from the damage of free radicals. It also supports respiratory and pulmonary function.

Lowers Inflammation

Purslane’s high vitamin C content helps to neutralize free radicals as well, reducing inflammation throughout the body and lowering the risk for chronic disease. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, improves heart health and promotes glowing skin. In addition, vitamin C lowers the risk of death from stroke or heart disease and reduces levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Supports Bone Health

Purslane provides a great vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids. These improve heart health, reduce inflammation, improve mental health and support bone health.

Fights Diabetes

Research suggests that consuming purslane helps to lower systolic blood pressure and improve glucose levels, making it a companion treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Treats Intestinal Disorders

Purslane’s organic compounds help to treat intestinal disorders, from diarrhea to intestinal bleeding to hemorrhoids.

Improves Circulation

The iron and copper in purslane helps to stimulate the production of red blood cells. These minerals boost circulation by delivering more oxygen to essential parts of the body. Iron and copper also increase healing within cells and organs and improves hair growth.

Health Benefits of Purslane Tea

How to Enjoy Purslane

The leaves and stems of the purslane plant are edible. Add raw leaves and stems to salads or steam them lightly with other greens. Purslane can be added to soups, stews, sauces and smoothies.

The leaves and stems also make an excellent tea. Steep a small bunch of purslane in very hot water for 15 minutes. Sweeten with raw organic honey, if desired, or add a squeeze of lime juice.

Purslane is crunchy and slightly peppery, with a fresh, spinach like flavor. I created purslane tea this evening, to sip on as I wrote my blog post. The flavor is mild with a hint of that peppery taste.

Health Benefits of Purslane Herb

No Longer Just a Weed

I’m glad I dreamed about purslane. The dream created a heightened sense of awareness about the plant, so that when I discovered it today, I recognized it.

I no longer see dandelions, cleavers, plantain, clover and purslane as weeds. Instead, I honor them as healing assets in my garden. They are herbs that I did not plant, and yet their value is just as great.

The purslane plants remain in my vegetable garden, for me to appreciate and harvest. I look forward to enjoying occasional cups of freshly prepared purslane tea and adding the leaves to salads.

Health Benefits of Purslane

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Health Benefits of Silica

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Silica is an essential element that the body needs. This mineral rebuilds and maintains collagen, a fibrous tissue that literally holds our bodies together. Collagen is one of the key building blocks in skin, hair and nails as well.

Silica is also crucial for its bone building and bone protecting characteristics.

Health Benefits of Silica

We Need Silica as We Age

As children, our silica levels are higher. However, as we grow older, those levels drop. And as silica levels decline we develop signs of aging. In fact, many problems associated with growing older are a result of the body’s inability to maintain an adequate amount of collagen.

The symptoms typically associated with aging, due to low levels of silica and loss of collagen, include:

  • joint deterioration and disease
  • brittle bones
  • hardening of the arteries
  • dry skin
  • loose, wrinkled skin
  • poor digestion and digestive issues
  • weakening of teeth and gums
  • organ atrophy
  • memory loss

Health Benefits of Silica Cherries

Health Benefits of Silica

The health benefits of silica are a result of building up the mineral in the body.

Benefits include:

  • improves bone density and bone flexibility
  • helps to heal degenerative bone diseases such as osteoporosis, osteopenia and age-related bone loss
  • improves healing of broken bones, dislocated joints and pulled muscles
  • strengthens teeth, gums, joints, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue
  • builds up connective tissues of the brain, nerve cells and spinal cord
  • improves memory
  • stabilizes the release of insulin from the pancreas
  • heals and prevents brittle nails
  • revitalizes dry, dull hair and skin
  • encourages growth of thick and healthy hair
  • increases luster and shine of hair
  • repairs damaged skin, loose skin and wrinkles due to loss of collagen
  • increases the benefits of vitamin D, glucosamine and calcium
  • decreases the formation of plaque, which lowers the risks of heart attack and stroke
  • protects mucous membranes
  • prevents aluminum toxicity by bonding with aluminum and preventing its absorption in the digestive tract
  • strengthens stomach and digestive tract muscles and tissues

Health Benefits of Silica Carrots

Sources of Silica

The typical American diet does not provide adequate amounts of silica. There are, however, a number of foods that are naturally high in silica. To increase levels of silica in the body, add these foods as often as possible:

Fruits

Veggies

Herbs

Nuts

  • almonds
  • peanuts

Combine fruits in salads and smoothies. Chop the veggies and create a nutritious  salad or steam them together.

The easiest way to enjoy the herbs is to create teas. Nettle leaf is especially rich in silica. Purchase horsetail, nettle leaf, red raspberry leaf and rose hips in dried, loose leaf form to brew as tea. And take advantage of dandelions growing in the yard. Add the leaves and flowers to salads, brew a fresh tea or create dandelion infused water.

Health Benefits of Silica Dandelion

Silica as a Supplement

Additionally, silica can be purchased as a supplement. I’m always a proponent of getting what my body needs from food sources. However, I do take crucial supplements too, to ensure the highest level of health and vitality.

MegaHydrate is a powerful source of silica and antioxidants that also hydrates the body at a cellular level. The supplement neutralizes free radicals and promotes energy production and metabolic activity. Order it by clicking the photo below.

I have reached that point in my life where age-related issues can surface. However, I’ve already learned that I do not have to resign myself to poor health. I choose to take an active role in maintaining my health and preventing diseases.

Through wholesome plant based foods and high quality supplements, I am creating health and vitality. Silica is definitely an important mineral to include in my diet.


 

Click on photo above to order MegaHydrate

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Do You Have an MSG Sensitivity?

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Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is a food additive used in thousands of restaurants and food products. Its purpose is to boost the flavor of processed, canned and frozen foods.

MSG is derived from glutamic acid, a type of protein found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is produced through a fermentation process that was first discovered in 1866. By 1909 a Japanese food company began commercially producing monosodium glutamate.

The use of MSG in foods and products is controversial, due to a wide range of symptoms that some people experience shortly after consuming the additive.

Since cleaning up my diet, I’ve noticed that I do have physical reactions to MSG. Perhaps you do too.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity title meme

What’s the Controversy with MSG?

Glutamate acid is an amino acid found in many foods. However, monosodium glutamate is the sodium salt derived from glutamic acid.

Natural glutamate is broken down naturally in the body. It is regulated so that excessive amounts are eliminated from the body to prevent toxicity. However MSG is isolated, and not attached to other amino acids. That means it is broken down quickly, rapidly raising levels of glutamate in the blood. Those excess levels of glutamate cause symptoms in people with an MSG sensitivity.

Anthony William, author of Medical Medium, states:

“MSG typically builds up in the brain, going deep into brain tissue. It can then cause inflammation and swelling, kill thousands of brain cells, disrupt electrical impulses, weaken neurotransmitters, burn out neurons, make you feel confused and anxious and even lead to mirco-strokes. It also weakens and injures the central nervous system.”

He goes on to say that MSG is especially harmful when dealing with an illness affecting the brain or central nervous system. Regardless, it is an additive to avoid.

Symptoms of an MSG Sensitivity

Here are common symptoms, experienced by those with a sensitivity to MSG:

  • muscle tightness
  • numbness and tingling
  • headaches including migraines
  • pain in the back of the neck
  • flushing
  • weight gain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • trembling and weakness
  • free radical formation and oxidation
  • heart palpitations
  • increased blood pressure
  • worsening of asthma symptoms
  • higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke
  • dry mouth and excessive thirst
  • confusion and anxiety

MSG Sensitivity Fast Food

Where is MSG Found?

Although MSG is most often associated with meals in Chinese restaurants, it’s found in thousands of foods and even personal care products such as toothpaste.

MSG can lurk in:

  • canned soups and broths
  • fast food such as burgers and fried chicken
  • potato chips and seasoned tortilla chips
  • seasonings
  • convenience meals
  • cold cuts
  • processed meats and foods
  • instant noodles
  • ice tea mixes
  • salty snacks
  • sports drinks
  • soy sauce
  • salad dressings
  • crackers
  • bouillon
  • personal care products

How to Avoid MSG

The best way to avoid this additive, and MSG sensitivity, is to limit or entirely eliminate foods from the list above. Focus on more fresh fruits and veggies. And prepare meals at home as much as possible. When you prep and cook your own meals, you know exactly what’s in them.

Read food labels. Look for MSG or monosodium glutamate listed on the label.

Additionally, MSG goes by a variety of other names, making it more difficult to spot the additive on food labels. If you see these words …

  • autolyzed yeast
  • hydrolyzed protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • sodium caseinate
  • yeast nutrient or yeast extract
  • Torulo yeast
  • natural flavoring
  • glutamic acid

…it’s very likely that the product contains MSG.

MSG Sensitivity Doritos

Dealing With MSG Sensitivity

I can now tell, within a few hours, if I’ve eaten something that contains MSG. My mouth becomes very dry and I experience excessive thirst. I may also notice pain in my stomach and a headache.

When I ate a nutrient poor, albeit typical, American diet, MSG stayed in my system. No wonder I experienced daily headaches, constant dry mouth, heart palpitations and frequent stomachaches.

Cleaning up my diet has detoxified my body. I am very aware now if I eat something that is harmful to me. I’m grateful for the built-in sensors and indicators in my body that help me identify and avoid foods that are not the best for me!

I prepare most of my meals at home. And I read those food labels!

I’ll be sharing recipes in upcoming posts, such as DIY seasoning salt, that are MSG free alternatives.

Do you have an MSG sensitivity?

MSG Sensitivity Salts

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Broadleaf Plantain Benefits

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The desire to learn about the healing properties of plants is closely connected to my own journey. As I heal, I appreciate more and more that plants play such a vital role in my health.

My garden is full of herbs that supply me with the makings for tea. However, I love foraging too, and discovering that plants I consider weeds are actually wild herbs. They are full of healing benefits as well.

The broadleaf plantain benefits are many. And yet, until last fall, I considered this common plant an annoying weed. I’ve been aware of plantain since childhood. Mowing over the broad leaves created a funny brrrr – up-up-up noise that reminded me of sound of playing cards attached to bicycle spokes.

My research of broadleaf plantain benefits inspires me to protect several plants in the garden area, keeping them for medicinal purposes.

Broadleaf Plantain Title Meme

History of the Broadleaf Plantain Plant

This herb is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal plant in the world. In ancient times, broadleaf plantain, not to be confused with the banana like fruit also called plantain, treated digestive and female disorders along with snake and spider bites.

Native Americans used the herb for snake bites as well, earning the plant the name Snake Weed. They also applied the leaves to wounds.

Another name for broadleaf plantain is soldier’s herb because of its on-the-spot use as a first aid plant for injuries and illnesses.

Today broadleaf plantain is readily found in yards, along sidewalks and fencerows, and anywhere the soil has been disturbed. It thrives in high foot traffic areas as easily as it does nestled against a rocky outcropping. It tolerates poor soil conditions and doesn’t seem picky about the amount of sun that it receives.

Broadleaf Plantain for ForagingBroadleaf plantain growing in my yard.

Broadleaf Plantain Characteristics

The plant’s leaves may be eaten raw, in salads, or steamed with other greens. Small leaves are the most flavorful and tender, although the larger leaves may be used for teas and tinctures. Plantain possesses a slightly bitter taste. The larger the leaves, the more bitter the taste.

The plant sends up stalks that produce tiny flowers and then even tinier light brown seeds. The seeds and stalks are edible as well.

The herb is high in iron and calcium, and vitamins A, C and K.

Broadleaf plantain is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial, making it a great medicinal herb for “hot” conditions in the body such as fevers, infections, inflammation and irritations.

Broadleaf Plantain IdentificationThese hardy plants return after the lawn is mowed. The new leaves are perfect for salads and teas and first aid use. See the tiny white flowers opening on the stalks?

Broadleaf Plantain Benefits and Uses

External Use

For external use, plantain is the perfect first aid herb. Crush, or chew, one or two leaves and apply to the skin or brew a strong tea from the leaves and use in a spray bottle.

  • soothes the pain, itching and swelling of insect bites and stings by calming the histamine response
  • relieves irritation and discomfort of skin rashes, hives, eczema and psoriasis
  • takes the heat out of burns and sunburns
  • eases pain of cuts and scrapes and keeps them from getting infected
  • calms poison ivy and relieves itching and swelling
  • draws out embedded splinters
  • also has a drawing effect on boils and soothes pain and swelling

Because this plant is found everywhere, it can quickly be utilized when first aid is needed. Suffering from a sudden wasp sting? Crush or chew the leaves until broken down and then spit the mass of leaves onto the bite. The relief is immediate. Yes, it sounds gross to chew up leaves and spit them out. Remember, however, that you are creating a poultice that is very healing and soothing.

Internal Use

As powerful as the broadleaf plantain benefits are for skin irritations and wounds, the wild herb is equally suitable for a host of symptoms and disorders within the body.

  • lowers cholesterol
  • helps control diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels
  • reduces the pain, swelling and discomfort of hemorrhoids
  • heals irritable bowel syndrome
  • soothes the entire digestive tract and urinary tract
  • treats bladder and kidney infections
  • relieves indigestion, acid reflux and ulcers
  • as a mouthwash heals canker sores and gum irritation
  • acts as an expectorant
  • calms a dry cough as well
  • treats and helps to prevent seasonal allergies

 


Dried broadleaf plantain
Click on photo above to order dried broadleaf plantain.

Foraging for Broadleaf Plantain

As you mow the yard, watch for this amazing wild herb. Perhaps before the blades mow it down, you might collect a few of those healing leaves. Create a tea by steeping the leaves in very hot water for 15 minutes, for drinking. Steep the tea overnight to create a strong brew for topical use. Store in the refrigerator.

Or, in the manner of our wise and resourceful ancestors, chew up a leaf to apply to a bite, sting or scrape for soothing, cooling relief. The next time I slice into my hands and fingers as I’m pulling weeds in the garden, I’ll pluck a couple of leaves to make an on-the-spot poultice.

That simple act makes me feel like a healer.

Broadleaf Plantain

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Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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I know, I know. Black bean brownies? The title of the blog post gives away the secret ingredient in these rich and decadent vegan brownies. I’ve looked at posts and Pinterest recipes for black bean brownies. I finally found one, thanks to Chocolate Covered Katie, with a wholesome, easy to follow recipe. The ingredients are staples that I keep on hand. I felt ready to give these flour free, refined sugar free, egg and dairy free treats a try.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Rich chocolate brownies with no flour, refined sugar, eggs or dairy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vegan Black Bean Brownies
Servings: 9 squares

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking dish.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Blend well until completely smooth.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.
  • Bake 15 minutes. Let brownies cool at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Makes 9 - 12 servings.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Can You Taste the Black Beans?

I prepared this special treat quickly this evening. While the black bean brownies cooled, I brewed a cup of lemon balm tea, with fresh herbs from the garden. Greg knew I was preparing a new dessert recipe, however I didn’t tell him what the ingredients were. I wanted him to taste the brownies first.

The black bean brownies smelled wonderful as they baked. I removed them from the oven after exactly 15 minutes and they were perfect.

After allowing them to cool for about half an hour, it was time for the taste test.

These black bean brownies are WONDERFUL! Rich, moist and full of chocolate flavor, I couldn’t taste the beans at all. Greg enjoyed two brownies, with a glass of almond coconut milk, and declared them very good.

Then, and only then, did I tell them about the secret ingredient. I have to say, I really appreciate that Greg is so willing to try new recipes. He thought the brownies tasted great and found that one or two satisfied him totally.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies Make the Cut

These brownies definitely go into my treat rotation. They are so quick to prepare and have a short baking time. I like too that the recipe makes a small batch of brownies. We primarily eat fruit for “dessert”. Even healthy snacks such as these brownies and Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are considered an occasional specialty rather than a frequent occurrence.

The vegan black bean brownies make a wonderful dessert for guests or a treat to take to a family gathering. No one will guess what the main ingredient is! However I feel good knowing I am contributing to everyone’s health while providing a delicious dessert.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

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Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

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A reader recently made a request. She asked about herbal teas that relieve bloating. I’m happy to respond with a post that offers help.

Bloating is a condition in which the abdomen feels uncomfortably full. Triggers for bloating include:

  • intolerance to dairy, gluten, high protein or high fiber
  • build up of gas
  • intestinal bacteria out of balance
  • constipation
  • parasites

Up to 30% of the population experiences bloating, the majority as a result of food intolerance. If this discomfort is a problem for you, check out these herbal teas that relieve bloating.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Peppermint

The use of this herb for healing the digestive system dates back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. Peppermint relieves bloating, gas, constipation and other digestive disorders by relaxing the gut and calming intestinal spasms. It is especially helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Steep 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried peppermint in a cup of very hot water for 15 minutes.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, lemon balm has a pleasant lemony scent and flavor. This herb possesses antiviral, antibacterial and sedative properties. It’s a digestive stimulant as well. As a tea it soothes indigestion, nausea and bloating. Many people suffer with sensitive stomachs and guts. Lemon balm soothes and calms the nerve receptors in the digestive tract and reduces inflammation so that the nerves become less sensitive. It is also anti-parasitic.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon balm leaves to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes.

 

Herbal Teas that Relieve BloatingFresh lemon balm

Fennel

One of the most widely used herbs in the world, fennel seeds are used to treat many ailments, including stimulating the digestive system. The plant with the slight licorice scent and taste eases the discomfort of gas while stimulating bile for better digestion. And better digestion means less risk of bloating.

To make fennel tea, steep 1- 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Chamomile

A member of the daisy family, this herb contains flavonoids and terpenoids that provide medicinal properties. Chamomile relaxes the digestive system, relieving the discomfort related to bloating. The herb also treats gassiness, indigestion and nausea, which commonly accompany bloating.

Use 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried chamomile flowers to make tea, steeping them for 15 minutes in a cup of boiling water.

Ginger

The healing power of ginger has been used for thousands of years to cure a host of digestives problems. The root of the plant contains bioactive compounds that ease bloating quickly. Ginger stimulates the digestive system, eases nausea and soothes acid reflux. It also fights against pathogens in the gut.

Peel a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger and slice into slivers. Steep in a cup of boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Dandelion

Although considered a weed, this powerful little plant makes a great herbal tea that relieves bloating. Dandelion flowers stimulate the digestive system and have a cleansing effect on the intestines, eliminating bloating.

Gather a handful of fresh dandelion flowers, in an area free from chemicals, pollution and herbicides. Steep flowers in hot water for 15 minutes. Or cover flowers with water and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Strain out flowers and sip on dandelion water throughout the day.

Lavender

This very versatile herb originated in the Mediterranean. It’s been used medicinally for centuries. Drinking lavender tea eases digestive problems that cause bloating, including gas, an upset stomach, abdominal pain and swelling. Lavender also stimulates a sluggish appetite, which can accompany bloating.

Pour boiling water over 2 – 3 teaspoons of fresh or dried lavender flowers. Steep for 15 minutes.

Herbal Teas that Relieve Bloating

Additional Tips to Ease Bloating

Bloating is a symptom, indicating the digestive system is sluggish or reacting. Consider eliminating dairy, gluten, high protein and high fiber, one at a time, for a week. Notice whether bloating is relieved or improved.

I talk to people every day who want to feel better. However, they don’t want to give up their “favorite” foods, even though those foods are making them feel bad. Many people have a dairy or gluten intolerance and don’t realize it. Stop eating those foods, for a short time, to confirm whether that’s the case or not.

Eliminating those problem causing foods reduces gas build up and restores digestive health. Drinking herbal teas increases water consumption, which helps to ease constipation. Turmeric balances gut flora. And adding raw organic honey to herbal teas that relieve bloating adds an anti-parasitic property to the drink.

The herbal teas ease bloating, and improve health and wellbeing, while you discover the underlying cause. Be sure to check in with your primary care physician also.

Here’s to enjoying health, at every age!

Herbal Teas the Relieve Bloating

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Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

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A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed foraging for tea in my own yard. Spring announces itself with a flurry of early blooming flowers and plants. I learned last fall that many of these harbingers of spring are edible, making them suitable for tea.

Since that day, I’ve enjoyed delicately flavored lilac tea and earthy redbud tea. From the backyard I gathered dead nettle and henbit. It grounds and centers me to gather wild edibles and savor them as tea.

I had one last tea to try, before this first blooming season ended. Sweet violet tea offers many health benefits and the gift of beauty as well.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violets

This common flowering perennial, which is considered an herb, is among the earliest to appear after winter. The hardy plants favor the edge of woods and are not too shy to show up in lawns and gardens, uninvited. The herbs prefer shady areas. Look for them near house foundations, in areas of the yard and garden protected by other plants and on the north side of structures.

The flowers range in color from dark purple to lilac to pale yellow to white. The plant, which reaches a modest height of four to six inches, has dark green heart shaped leaves.

In the late Victorian era, the sweet scent of the violet proved popular in fragrances and perfumes. The French created violet syrup and the Americans used this concoction to make violet scones and violet marshmallows.

Culturally, Shakespeare mentioned this sweet flower in these now famous lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk roses and with eglantine.”

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Medicinally, sweet violets have been used for centuries, valued for their healing properties. The entire plant is edible and rich in vitamins A and C and full of bioflavonoids, alkaloids and anti-inflammatories.

Benefits include:

Anti-cancer properties that are effective against lung, skin, stomach and breast cancers.

Soothe respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, congestion, asthma and sinus infections.

Contains high amounts of rutin and salicylic acid which act similarly to aspirin. This makes the herb helpful for treating aches and pains, inflammation, flu symptoms, headaches and arthritis pain. Those same compounds help to prevent blood clots as well.

Eases nervousness, anxiety, stomachaches, indigestion, ulcers, insomnia, swollen glands, canker sores and gum disease.

Lowers blood pressure.

Added to baths, the flowers and leaves help treat psoriasis, eczema, rashes, sores and skin cancer.

Purifies the blood, strengthens the heart and detoxes and cleanses the entire body.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Sweet Violet Tea

This herb is available online or at health conscious stores as dried tea, capsules, syrup, tinctures, extracts, creams and salves. Fresh flowers and leaves are suitable additions for salads, smoothies and fruit bowls.

However, in early spring it’s fun to gather sweet violet flowers and leaves and create freshly brewed tea.

I gathered a handful of delicate flowers and several small leaves from plants clustered in shady areas of my yard. When foraging, choose a patch of violets that are in a familiar area, where no chemicals or fertilizers have been used.

To brew sweet violet tea, cover 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers and leaves with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with organic honey if desired. Or for fun, leave the flowers and leaves in the tea.

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Enjoying Sweet Violet Tea

I sipped my first cup of sweet violet tea and savored the mild flavor. The brewed tea is a pretty shade of pale green, the perfect representation of spring’s arrival. My freshly prepared tea paired well with a bowl of apple slices, creating a simple afternoon tea.

I might get to enjoy a couple of cups of sweet violet tea before the flowers fade away.

It’s just the beginning of the growing season, however. Dandelions are popping up all over the yard. And while some see these cheerful plants as weeds or wishes, I see tea!

Sweet Violet Tea Benefits

Start a tea time tradition. Pick out your favorite teacups below.

 


 

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