Recipes For Staying Healthy and Feeling Better Faster!

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For the final installment in this series I am sharing the recipes I use to keep my family healthy during cold, flu and even allergy season. I try the best I can to avoid using over the counter medications if there is a natural homemade remedy that will work. Mostly though, I use preventative measures to ensure that we get sick less and therefore don’t need as many medicines or trips to the doctor.

Health Juice:

There is no actual juice in this drink but when you call something juice, my kids are sure to want it. I found this recipe on the back of the  Bragg Organic Raw-Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar bottle. They call it Bragg Vinegar Health Drink. My kids ask for it every morning as soon as they get out of bed. They love the flavor and they know it keeps them healthy, so it’s a win win situation. Here’s the recipe below.

1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar (I actually use 1 Tbsp)

1-2 tsp of local honey (again I use 1 Tbsp to keep it balanced)

8-10 oz room temperature water

Stir together until completely blended and drink once or twice a day!

Elderberry Syrup:

There are many recipes on-line for homemade elderberry syrup and I guess the best way to find the one you like is to just try a few and see which one your family likes. Unfortunately elderberries can be expensive, so make a small batch at first to see if you like it. This is my variation on one I found by Wellness Mama during my own search.

3/4 cup dried organic elderberries

3 1/2 cups water

1 Tbsp powdered ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

4 cloves

1 cup local honey

Bring water, elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for at least 45 minutes. The contents of the pan should have reduced by almost half. Let the mixture cool. Strain through a strainer in to a tall glass jar. Add the honey and  stir until completely blended. This keeps in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

My kids take one tsp in the morning and one at night to maintain a strong immune system. My husband and I take a Tbsp each day.

Super Duper Tea:

When my oldest is sick with a cold or upset stomach he always asks for Super Duper Tea. It’s a very simple and yummy way to make anyone feel better when they are under the weather.

1-2 bags of chamomile-lavender tea

1 tsp local honey

Heat water in tea kettle til warm, not hot. Pour over tea bag/s and brew for 5 minutes. Stir in honey and enjoy.

For more information on staying healthy year round, check out my previous posts in this series. Have a wonderful and vibrant holiday season!

http://enlightenednourishment.com/2014/10/17/get-well-soon/

http://enlightenednourishment.com/2014/10/20/rock-those-antioxidants/

http://enlightenednourishment.com/2014/10/22/anti-inflammatory-foods-and-respiratory-health/

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Anti-inflammatory Foods and Respiratory Health

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A while back I wrote a blog post about inflammation and how to control it naturally with foods and supplements. In the post I touched on the subject of respiratory health and inflammation. Instead of rehashing all of that again for this series on how to stay healthy during cold and flu season, I am providing the link to the earlier post here.

I mainly utilize the contents of my spice cabinet throughout the year to keep my family’s respiratory health in tip top shape. As I mentioned in the earlier post cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin and cloves are incredible for reducing inflammation in your breathing pathways. I add the spices to the foods and beverages that we consume the most to make sure we have them daily.

Now that I think of it, I wrote another post quite a while ago about the awesomeness of cinnamon and how I use it. The link to that post is here.

So far in this series we’ve covered how a healthy gut leads to a strong immune system, increasing our antioxidant intake and using anti-inflammatory foods to boost you respiratory health.

The last installment will contain recipes I use daily or seasonally to keep my family going strong. Stay tuned!

Rock Those Antioxidants!

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Friday I told you about boosting your immune system through strengthening your digestive tract. Today we are continuing the topic of immunity with antioxidants. What are they and why do we need them to stay healthy?

According to Wikipedia; An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.

Simply put, antioxidants protect our cells from being destroyed by oxidation. We can’t fight off illness and disease with weak cell structures. Therefore we want to have as many foods that are high in antioxidants in our daily diet as possible to stay healthy. Below I will list the foods highest in antioxidants. The foods marked with an * are the ones I use most.

 

Legumes:

Small red kidney beans

Pinto beans

Nuts*

 

Fruits:    

Elderberries*

Wild blueberries*

Cranberries*

Blueberries

Red delicious apples

Granny smith apples*

Purple, red and green grapes*

 

Vegetables:

Artichokes (cooked)

Kale*

Broccoli*

Red cabbage*

Red beets

Russet potatoes

Red and green bell peppers*

 

Herbs and Spices:

Cloves

Cinnamon*

Oregano*

Thyme

Rosemary

Saffron

Sage*

 

Beverages:

Black and green teas*

Coffee*

Roasted ground coco beans*

 

Please feel free to use this list to stock your kitchen with healthy foods that will keep you feeling zippy, when everyone else is dragging behind. Xoxo

 

 

Haaaaave you met my friend cinnamon?

Yup, cinnamon is one of my best friends, especially in the fall. Of course I love the flavor, but it’s what cinnamon does for me that keeps me coming back for more. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar, reduces LDL cholesterol levels, reduces arthritis pain, it’s an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It’s not just a latte topper anymore.

Because of all of it’s lovely healthful qualities, I take it daily as well as give it to my children when cold and flu season comes around. A little sprinkle here, a pinch there and we are good to go. It’s wonderful for avoiding getting sick when everyone else around you is hacking up a lung and sneezing all over you. It is also fantastic if you have managed to catch what’s going around, to shorten the span of the sickness.

Like I said a little goes a long way with cinnamon. No need to over do it. It’s wonderful in plain yogurt, since it adds a natural sweetness. I put it in my coffee and my kid’s oatmeal or grits in the morning. But I wouldn’t have more than a teaspoon a day. There’s really no need.

So, if you like the flavor as much as I do, give it a try. Here’s another tasty way that I’ve been adding cinnamon to my diet:

 

My fall maintenance drink.

My fall maintenance drink.

 

Don't even get me started on how awesome turmeric is.

Don’t even get me started on how awesome turmeric is.

 

So, one day I was getting sick of drinking plain water and was also getting a little scratchiness in the throat. I decided to add some lime juice to get some vitamin C in me. Then I thought, why not add a little cinnamon (2 shakes) to take the sour edge off? Then I was like, well I’m right here in the spice cabinet, why not throw in some turmeric (again, 2 shakes) and shut this cold down before it starts?! It totally worked and tasted great doing so. Now I try to have one of these a day. So far I’m feeling terrific and getting my autumn spice fix!