Cooking, Health Bites, Lifestyle, Wellness

Spices Are Medicine Too!

Various spices

In ancient times, spices were more than just a condiment added to various foods for flavor. In fact, in many cultures, spices were used not only for consumption but for medicines as well. There was really no distinction between spices that were used to flavor food from spices that were used for medicine. In fact, spices were so valuable that they were often used as articles of exchange and trade.

As a student of functional nutrition, it is always my goal to find foods that not only taste amazing, but can aid in the healing of various health issues.

Here are a few of my favorite spices and how I like to use them to perform double duty.

For my coffee lovers, who also love the various creamers and syrups but are trying to avoid dairy and sugar. Consider adding cinnamon to your brew. Why?? Cinnamon is not only a natural sweetener, but it has been shown to lower blood sugar, which is a big deal if you are diabetic or borderline. It also has anti inflammatory properties. And I love it mixed in tea and in my chicory root coffee.

Turmeric, is another favorite, this brightly colored spice is so commonly used in Indian cooking, I would almost question the authenticity of any Indian dish that doesn’t include it. Turmeric is anti inflammatory, provides anti-oxidants and may also improve memory, as evidenced by the fact, that Indians have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s globally.

Another favorite around here is ginger. I always have a few numbs of ginger in my freezer, not just for cooking but for stomach aches, nausea, or just as aid for digestion. Did you know that ginger, though spicy is anti-inflammatory? It is an anti-oxidant, anti-viral, reduces arthritis pain, relieves asthma and may even protect the brain from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Wow!

I could go on! But the point is this, if we’re trying to live our healthiest and to minimize dis-ease, I think we can take a page or two from the ancients. They seemed to understand that food should not only nourish and stop hunger, but should simultaneously have a medical benefit as well.

How would you incorporate healing spices into your daily regimen?

With love,

AngelaChristine

Rosemary, garlic, sage and thyme

Health Bites, Lifestyle, Mitochondria, Wellness

Health Bites to Start Your Day- Red Light Therapy

As, I continue to grow and learn in my functional nutrition certification program, I realize how important it is to give people options in their healing. We are all different and one size does not fit all. With that in mind, I am open to non-food interventions as well, which is what led me to red light therapy.

At this point you’re probably wondering, what is red light therapy and why you should want it.

Red light therapy is photobiomodulation. Say what? Basically, it is the exposure of your skin to low levels of red light that can penetrate the skin a few millimeters to create a healing response on a cellular level. It doesn’t generate any heat, so it is not painful or damaging to the skin. In fact, quite the contrary.

These are few of the benefits associated with red light therapy:

1. It increases energy by stimulating the production of ATP by the mitochondria

2. Stimulates DNA/RNA synthesis

3. Activates the lymph system which carries waste out of the body

4. Increases blood flow/circulation

5. Repairs and restores connective tissues

And so much more. There are over 3000 research papers that speak to the benefits of this type of therapy!

After digging a little more, I decided to take the leap by purchasing one for myself. I selected the MitoRedLight Mini (https://mitoredlight.com) and here is why. It was recommended to me by a friend whom I trust on such matters. Two, it was on sale and comes with a 60 day money back guarantee. Three, I have a scar on my leg that could use a little TLC and four, I thought that it might be great for my son’s cellular detoxification process. Anything that can help with detoxification in a gentle yet effective way, is worth giving a chance in my opinion.

My device arrived on Saturday and I’ve used it for three minutes daily. If you’re new to light therapy the recommendation is to start slow and work your way up to ten minutes per session. It’s that powerful.

What have I noticed so far? First, the light is very bright, so it is important to wear the protective goggles included with the device. I notice that every time I use it on my old scar, it feels energized, like something is happening on a cellular level.

I expect that as I increase my level of usage, I will see more substantial changes.

While still early yet, if this is something you can fit into your budget, it might be worth it to add as a complementary therapy for pain, hair growth or any myriad of health issues that may benefit from the addition of this treatment. Check out this page for more red light therapy benefits. https://wellnessmama.com/269510/red-light-therapy/

To better health!

AngelaChristine

MitoRed Light Mini
Health Bites, Lifestyle

Health Bites to Start Your Day-Sauna

You have probably determined by now that I am huge fan of all things, health! Sure, I believe that allopathic medication has it’s place, but the system we refer to as healthcare, really is far from it. But that is another conversation for another day. These short segments are all about encouraging you to take responsibility for your health and wellness everyday. With a little bit of intention and knowledge, I believe most of us can achieve optimal health at any age.

When you hear the word, sauna it is very likely you envision those hot and steamy rooms that you sit in after an intense workout at the gym. Or perhaps you think of the saunas made popular by the Scandanavian countries of Europe. But what if I told you that saunas, particularly infrared saunas. have numerous health producing benefits. So much so, you’ll probably wonder why they are not more common across the United States. Finland is a country of 5.3 million people, yet they have 3.3 million saunas in use at any given time. That is almost one sauna per household! Let’s explore, why you should consider adding sauna to your routine.

  1. First, sauna is known for helping the body to detox. Because our bodies are overwhelmed by more toxins than ever, sitting in a sauna for 30 minutes or more per day or weekly, can assist the body in the detoxification process.
  2. Sitting in the sauna is an amazing stress reducer. In fact, it can be very helpful in switching your body from fight or flight to rest and digest.
  3. Did you know that sauna, can help balance hormones? Time in the sauna can lower, cortisol levels, which in turn balances other hormones, such as insulin, testosterone, thyroid and estrogen that may become imbalanced because cortisol is elevated.
  4. It may be beneficial in assisting with weight loss. Saunas can increase heart rate, much in the way the heart rate increases during a vigorous workout, while simultaneously lowering blood pressure and increasing metabolic rate!

These are just a few of the many benefits associated with this healthful practice.

If you’re wondering how to incorporate sauna in your daily or weekly routine, let me suggest a few options. There are quite a number of sauna companies on the market, but these are a couple of companies that I would highly recommend because they source clean materials to limit toxin exposure: http://www.sunlighten.com and http://www.heavenlyheatsaunas.com. Both companies will work with you to help you select the unit that is right for you based on your space and budget. Or if you’re like me and space and cost are an issue, then there is an alternative, infrared sauna blanket. I actually purchased an infrared sauna blanket, with the idea that it would help my son with detox. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a fan, so it has now become my almost nightly ritual to spend 30-40 minutes in this blanket before I shower and go to bed. I’d say the results are pretty comparable, to a full size sauna at a fraction of the price, don’t quote me on that. This is the one that I purchased, http://www.sweatandglowsauna.com, but there are more jazzy versions on the market, if this one just isn’t your speed.

If sauna is not already a part of your routine, I hope that you’ll find a way to incorporate it into your healthy life!!

With joyful intention!

Angela

American, Current Events, Faith, Health Bites

Health Bites to Start Your Day- The Kitchen

The kitchen, is the heart of the home. It’s typically the gathering space that we associate with family, fellowship and food. It’s where decisions are made, homework is done, it’s where amazing meals are planned and cooked. It can also be the place of not so great, sometimes very messy meals that are ultimately tossed in the trash and replaced with takeout. Whatever it is to you, I suspect that at the center, is love.

Pretty much from the moment that I knew that I was going to have children, it became my priority to improve my cooking skills. It was the idea of life growing inside my body that made me want to challenge myself to create the most wholesome meals, I could imagine. In my mind, I channeled Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay when I made anything, salad, soup, salmon, whatever it was, it had to be just right. When my daughter started daycare at the age of one, her teacher would comment often on how she had the best meals in her class because they were homemade, not prepackaged or ready to eat. Those compliments meant the world to me, because although I worked full time, I still do by the way, my daughter had real food everyday. I continued that tradition when my son was born, because to me food nourishes and it restores.

In this season of coronavirus, where the dictates have been isolation and separation, I have often wondered if more time at home has given families the opportunity to return to the tradition of family meals together or to create new traditions where the kitchen has become the soul of the home once more. Perhaps, with the children learning to cook, spending time at the table discussing all the things. Maybe doing school and work side by side. Or maybe it has become the place to sit and talk and reconnect. It is my prayer that more connecting or reconnecting is happening in the room that is known for gathering.

Open up your homes. Invite your extended family, friends and neighbors over to eat, have a cup of coffee, laugh and fellowship. Our kitchens can and should be once again, the heart and soul of our homes and the place to remember that we are connected and that is a beautiful thing!

With love,

AngelaChristine

Health Bites, Lifestyle

Health Bites to Start Your Day-Probiotics

“You need to take a good probiotic!” “ Research indicates, that gut health is key to overall health.” Everyday there is literally a new headline touting the importance of gut health and good probiotics. Let’s take a quick peek into why they are now suddenly all the rage and how you might weed through the noise to find what might work best for you.

At birth, the newborns’ gut is seeded with the microbes present in the mother’s birth canal. For children born cesarean section, their guts are seeded with what is on the skin. The type of microbes received at birth are key to the building of the immune system as well as the establishment of neurotransmitters, that are important to optimal neurological function. This can be problematic for C-section births. Their guts are not seeded properly, because the microbes on the skin, have a different purpose. All is not lost, however, breast feeding can make a huge difference in establishing what is necessary for optimal health and growth.

Keep in mind that overtime the microbes in the gut can change, due to stress, hormones, antibiotics and other external insults. When this happens the delicate balance that exists between the good microbes and the more opportunistic microbes can change, which leads to gut dysbiosis, also known as an imbalance in the gut. The ideal ratio by most accounts is 85% good to 15% opportunistic. Just the slightest shift could set off a cascade of issues that on the surface may seem unrelated to the gut.

If you’re wondering by now what can be done about it, let me share a few quick tips that may overtime restore the balance.

1. Clean up your diet. Limit your exposure to processed foods. Those foods have a tendency to favor the opportunistic microbes over the beneficial ones.

2. Exercise. Daily movement is also beneficial to your gut. There is something about blood flow and moving lymph that can get things stirred up in a good way.

3. Add live or cultured foods to your diet. Sauerkraut and fermented foods are a great side dish to show some love to your microbes.

4. Limit medications. We don’t often think that medications can disrupt our microbiome, but they can. In fact, antibiotics are non specific so they wipe out the good and the bad and can take several months, or up to a year in some cases to be restored.

5. Use a good system. This is my favorite, not only because it has a great probiotic in it, but because the three products together work to weed (remove the bad stuff from the digestive tract), seed (replace the beneficial microbes) and finally feed (prebiotics to feed those good microbes) the probiotics so they can flourish and restore balance. https://shop.plexusworldwide.com/believeandhope/product/plexus-triplex

Remember, those microbes are involved in so many processes that make you, you! They are involved in the production of neurotransmitters that impact mood and learning, they have involvement in our immune function and so much more.

Don’t you think it’s time, to show your gut some love? Message me if you would like to learn more.

All disease begins in the gut. – Hippocrates

With joyful intention!

Angela

Health Bites, Lifestyle

Health Bites to Start Your Day- Intentional Eating

Enjoy meals as a family

I could spend hours writing about food and nutrition, if given the chance, but that is not the purpose of this post.

This post is about being intentional with the food you eat. Keep in mind that the food you consume does matter. You are either contributing to health or disease by what you consume.

The process of digestion begins in the brain, which instructs the release of certain enzymes needed to breakdown the food once it is ingested.

But what if, we took a bit more time to be intentional about our meals? For example, setting aside time to eat with the family instead of eating on the go or in shifts.

Incorporating these small steps into your routine, may make meals much more enjoyable and nutritious for the entire family.

1. Set aside a specific time for every meal. This gives the family a time to look forward to and anticipate.

2. Show gratitude for you are about to receive. In my home, we give thanks to God for each meal. Regardless of your religious persuasion, giving thanks for the food before you sets an intention of appreciation that is beneficial too in the digestive process.

3. Consider mealtime as an opportunity to reconnect with family in a meaningful way. Actually discuss the day, laugh and savor the time you are spending together as a family.

4. Clean away the dishes as a family to continue the conversations. Slowing down and being appreciative allows your body to better utilize the nutrition provided.

5. Finally, just be still. Your body is much more efficient in a calm relaxed state.

How will you be intentional with your meals?

With joyous intention!💖

AngelaChristine

Health Bites, Lifestyle

Health Bites to Start Your Day-Self Care

Personal Gratitude Journal

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that 2020 is over. As with every new year, I try my best to continue the good habits established in the previous year or years before and then maybe add one or two new ones. Not resolutions that sound good on day one, but fade into the sunset by week four. These are nuggets of gold that should be a part of anyone’s daily routine.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Self-care” is just an excuse to spend money on the things you wouldn’t normally spend money on due to budget or it’s deemed discretionary. Let me clarify, self-care, is the time you spend, whether it’s ten minutes or an hour doing the thing or things that will nurture you, yes you, physically, emotionally and spiritually with intention. Intention is key.

With intention, how do you plan to care for you in 2021? Here are a few ideas or tips that you may find helpful.

1. Rise up early to spend time in prayer or meditation. Praying early in the morning gives you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with God and to set your intentions for the day.

2. Get your body moving. Exercising first thing in the morning, has so many health producing benefits and it clears your mind for your day ahead.

3. Get in your in home sauna. If a full size sauna isn’t in the budget, there are some great sauna blankets that are just as effective for a fraction of the price. Here is the link to the one that I purchased recently. https://sweatandglowsauna.com/products/us-plug I try to use it after my workouts for muscle recovery, continued fat burning and detox.

4. Keep a gratitude journal. Make a point of writing down all of your blessings. It’s a great way to acknowledge that there is more good in your life than bad and it helps you to prioritize what is really important in life.

5. Prepare most of your meals at home. It may sound counterintuitive that I would add this to self care, but it really is important. Preparing your own food, is an act of love. You’re going to be more intentional and careful about what you put in your body when you prepare it in your own kitchen.

6. Set aside time to tap into your creative side. You might be surprised by your hidden talents. I know I was when I started making jewelry a couple of years ago.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. Taking time to feed our bodies and souls regularly, prepares us in so many ways for what’s next; but it also manifests itself in being fully engaged in your own life as well as in the lives of those you love and love you in return.

What do you do to fill your cup?

With intention!💖

AngelaChristine

Health Bites, Lifestyle

Health Bites to Start Your Day

“Drink more water!!” We hear that all of the time, but for many people drinking more water is just not that easy.

As an aspiring Functional Nutrition Counselor, I often spend time trying to think of ways to help people incorporate more health in their day to day. With that in mind, I thought why not start with one of the most important nutrients, perhaps the most important nutrient.. water!

These are just a few tips that can make drinking water not only more palatable but enjoyable and easier to incorporate into your daily routine.

1. Add citrus fruits to your water. Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to your water, not only brightens up the taste, but it can also aid the body in flushing toxins out of the body.

2. Throw in a cucumber or two. Cucumbers in and of themselves have a high water content which increases hydration, is loaded with antioxidants and may aid in keeping you regular!

3. Toss in a few of your favorite berries. Berries are antioxidant rich, are low in sugar and can make a boring glass of water a sweet treat!

Living life healthier doesn’t have to be hard, it just needs a plan!

To your health and wellness!

Angela💖