Meditate for Health

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

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

Meditate for Health

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

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

Meditate for Health

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

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

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

Meditate for Health

Healing Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meditate for Health

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

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

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

This easy to prepare recipe was created by Anthony William.

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

2 cups of radishes, thinly sliced

2 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced tarragon

4 tablespoons minced dill

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 lemon, juiced

Sea salt to taste

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

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

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

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

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

Radish Cucumber Dill Salad

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Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

This colorful slaw was inspired by a sample that I tasted at a local indie theater that specializes in vegan food. It contained the tasty combo of shredded cabbage and radishes, with the spicy tang of a jalapeño dressing.

I attempted a similar slaw of my own this evening, created without a recipe, combining red cabbage, radishes and carrots, and mixed with my version of a jalapeño dressing.

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

Here’s my “this and that” recipe:

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

1 cup red cabbage, shredded

1 cup carrots, shredded

4 – 6 radishes, cut into thin slivers

Jalapeño Dressing

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water

2 limes, juiced

1 cup cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 jalapeño, seeded

4 tablespoons water

Sea salt & pepper to taste

Combine shredded red cabbage, carrots and radish slivers in a medium sized bowl.

Drain cashews. Combine cashews, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over slaw and mix well. Refrigerate. Makes 4 servings.

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

This slaw came together in minutes. The dressing is delicious without being too spicy, although I was more aware of the slight heat from the jalapeño after I finished the slaw. I suspect the slaw I sampled at the theater had an oil and vinegar base. This version has neither, nor does it contain sugar.

I tried my radish slaw and I loved it. This is a big deal to me, as I used to dislike radishes. They seemed too peppery and pithy to me. My grandfather, whom we affectionately called Pop, grew radishes every year in his huge garden. And every year he would offer me one of those little round red vegetables and say “Have a radish!” I always declined.

I’ve learned recently that radishes are so beneficial. Watch for a blog post about radishes and their health benefits this Friday. Pop…I’m eating radishes now, and enjoying them. You would be so happy about that!

Radish Slaw with Jalapeño Dressing

Watermelon, Strawberry & Ginger Lemonade

I love watermelon in the summertime, so when I find a new recipe that includes this juicy fruit and it is incredibly healthy, I try it. This unique spin on lemonade also includes strawberries and ginger. I made the frosty drink this evening, to accompany dinner.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

Watermelon Strawberry & Ginger Lemonade by Anthony William.

8 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks

1 cup of strawberries, hulled and halved

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 – 2 tablespoons raw organic honey (optional)

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over ice in glasses. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes 4 servings.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

These are ingredients that I always have on hand, this time of year. Frozen strawberries could be substituted for fresh. And I did not add the honey. I don’t like my drinks to be very sweet, and for me the strawberries and watermelon provided the right level of sweetness.

I keep a big bowl of watermelon chunks chilling in the refrigerator, which allowed me to create this easy drink in minutes. I cut the recipe in half, making two servings, and offered Greg a glass. He is not a fan of watermelon…however he liked the drink and finished off his glass.

I loved it! The blend of watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice and ginger was perfectly balanced…sweet and tangy with a kick of ginger. I’ll be enjoying this lemonade often.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

Mixed Berries with Honey

Today’s Try This Tuesday recipe is so incredibly simple, and yummy, that I wondered why I had not tried this before. I’ve declared this week Berry Week, for the blog posts, as I participate in a Berry Challenge on Instagram during the month of July. Created by Anthony William, the Medical Medium, the purpose of the Berry Challenge is to encourage and inspire people to eat berries every day.

It’s achieving its purpose!

Mixed Berries with Honey

I’ll post about the health benefits of these little superfoods on Friday. Today I’m sharing this easy recipe from Anthony, who has been posting lots of ideas for incorporating more berries into our lives

Mixed Berries with Honey

1/2 cup of strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 – 2 tablespoons raw organic honey

Gently combine berries with honey. Makes 2 servings.

Mixed Berries with Honey

So simple! I didn’t have raspberries so I increased strawberries to one cup. Any combination of berries can be used. All are beneficial, so pick your favorites and mix them up. Use locally produced raw organic honey, to receive health benefits that are specifically geared toward you.

I typically eat berries, and I do eat them everyday, without any sweetener at all, so I wondered if adding honey would make them taste too sweet. It didn’t! The honey added a rich warm taste that was just right. This would be a great alternative for those who are accustomed to adding refined sugar to their berries.

Honey coated berries can be eaten as is, added to a smoothie bowl, or…my favorite…used to top a bowl of frozen banana nice cream. Oh my…what a wonderful, and healthy, summer treat!

Mixed Berries with Honey

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

Summer heat and long sunny days create in me the desire for simple meals that don’t require cooking. It’s too warm and muggy to heat up the kitchen. I’ve been enjoying meals of watermelon or cantaloupe, leafy greens or salsas made from fresh chopped veggies. This easy cucumber and tomato salad has become one of my favorites!

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

I didn’t use a recipe for this summer salad. Instead, I let intuition guide me, adding the ingredients my body craved.

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

1 medium cucumber, diced

1 tomato, diced

1/4 – 1/2 red or yellow onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh or dried dill

2 tablespoons rice vinegar OR fresh lime juice

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Flavors blend and improve as salad chills.

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

My garden provides fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and dill. I’ve only needed to purchase onions from the farmer’s market or grocery store. I especially love snipping dill from my herb garden and inhaling its amazing aroma as I add it to the chopped veggies.

This salad reminds me of one my grandmother made when I was a child. The thinly sliced cucumbers and onions marinated in vinegar overnight before we enjoyed it. I limit my use of vinegar, and use rice vinegar as a healthier option, when I do use it. This salad is equally tasty made with lime juice.

Cucumber, tomato and dill salad makes a great meal on its own and also serves as an excellent side dish with other veggies, legumes or brown rice. I’m relishing this wholesome taste of summer!

Cucumber Tomato and Dill Salad

Cantaloupe Smoothie

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

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

Cantaloupe Smoothie

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

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

Cantaloupe Smoothie by Anthony William

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

1 cup of ice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon alcohol free vanilla

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

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

Cantaloupe Smoothie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Healthy Blueberry Scone

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

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

Healthy Blueberry Scone

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

With adaptations, here is the recipe.

Healthy Blueberry Scones

2 cups gluten free flour

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

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

1 cup full-fat coconut milk, from a can

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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

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

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

Healthy Blueberry Scone

Healthy Blueberry Scone

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

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

Healthy Blueberry Scone

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

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

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

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing by Anthony William

1/4 cup raw tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

2 medium dates, pitted

1/2 cup water

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

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

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

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

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

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

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

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

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

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

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

Garlic Tahini Salad Dressing

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Black Bean Hummus

Anthony William posted this easy to make hummus recipe yesterday, just in time for me to recreate it for Try This Tuesday. Hummus, which is traditionally made out of chick peas but can be made from other beans as well, makes a great plant based snack or meal. I enjoy hummus several times a week, so I was excited to have a new recipe that features black beans.

Black Bean Hummus

Black Bean Hummus by Anthony William

1/2 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight OR 1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed (reserve 4 tablespoons of bean water from the can.)

1/2 cup avocado, diced (1 small avocado)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish

1/2 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed (1 lime)

1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

Salt & pepper to taste

If using dried black beans, drain and add to a medium sized pan. Cover with water and cook 45-75 minutes, until very soft. Reserve 4 tablespoons of liquid. Drain rest of liquid and let beans cool.

Combine beans, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño, lime juice, garlic, cumin and coriander in a food processor or blender, and blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with an assortment of cut up veggies.

Black Bean Hummus

I cut up red, yellow and orange peppers, celery, tomatoes, cucumber and included baby carrots. I had left over chopped cilantro for a garnish.

This delicious recipe makes a fulfilling, wholesome meal. And the different components have health benefits.

Black beans are full of anti-aging antioxidants and anthocyanins, and a great source of calcium, magnesium and zinc. They strengthen the immune system and help to repair collagen fibers in the skin.

Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, which boosts the immune system, strengthens the heart, slows the aging process and rebuilds the nervous system. The monounsaturated fats in avocados reverse insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugars.

Cilantro pulls heavy metals and toxins from the body, detoxifies the liver, supports the adrenals and balances blood glucose levels. Cilantro is also anti-viral, fighting against Epstein Barr, shingles, HHV-6, cytomegalovirus, all herpetic viruses and HIV.

Cumin helps the body absorb and assimilate nutrients more easily. It has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.

And fresh organic vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease fighting nutrients.

I enjoyed a colorful, tasty lunch of black bean hummus and fresh veggies. I feel good knowing that everything I ate contributed to my health and wellbeing. Food truly is my medicine!