Monthly Archives: April 2017

Healing Qualities of Thyme

Spice Rack Remedies

Healing Qualities of Thyme

Thyme is popular for its culinary uses, but also has a long history as a medicinal healer and protector. Ancient Egyptians used thyme in embalming because of its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. In the Roman era, thyme was consumed daily to prevent food poisoning, as well was put in baths to reduce the effects of poisoning and as a cleansing agent. Prior to antibiotics, thyme oil was also used to medicate bandages.

Thyme is an antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antispasmodic, a hypertensive and has calming properties. Thyme supports a strong immune system, as well as a healthy respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and balances hormones. Recent studies also suggest that thyme can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well may help to fight some forms of cancer.

The Romans were correct about thyme’s ability to prevent food poisoning. In fact, studies published in Food Microbiology, researchers found that a solution of 1% thyme oil was able to decontaminate foods laced with infectious organisms.

Have a sore throat? Thyme oil is one of the most powerful natural antimicrobials there is. A study conducted by the Medical and Sanitary Microbiology Department at Medical University of Lodz in Poland tested thymes oil’s response to 120 different strains of bacteria from oral, respiratory and urinary infections and found that it demonstrated very strong fighting abilities against all these strains; even antibiotic-resistant strains.

Thyme oil works as an expectorant, an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial making it an excellent treatment for respiratory issues like bronchitis, chronic asthma, congestion, colds, flus, sinus-issues and seasonal allergies.

Thyme oil’s antiseptic abilities can kill infections on the skin and within the body; as well its antibacterial abilities can inhibit all kinds of bacterial growth. Thyme oil is so potent it can also be used to kill intestinal worms and parasites.

One of the most potent antioxidant herbs there is, thyme protects the body against oxidative free radical damage that contributes to aging and disease. The phenolic antioxidants found in thyme work to neutralize and eliminate free radicals throughout the body.

Thyme oil stimulates blood circulation by relaxing the arteries and veins, reducing stress on the heart, reducing the heart rate and the over-all blood pressure. Regular consumption has also shown to reduce cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL levels (good cholesterol).

Carvacrol, present in the essential oil of thyme, has been found to offer mood-boosting effects. A study conducted in 2013 by the University of Foggie, the University of Geneva and the University of Bari, found that by ingesting low concentrations of carvacrol regularly improved feelings of well-being. Thyme oil can help to reduce stress and anxiety by relaxing the body, allowing it to function more at ease.

Thyme oil can be used to balance hormones by improving progesterone production. By stimulating and bringing balance to the hormones in the body, thyme oil can delay menopause, as well bring relief to menopausal symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and insomnia.

The essential oil component, carvacrol in thyme, has also shown to have strong anti-tumour and cancer-fighting abilities. A recent study published in Anti-Cancer Drugs found that carvacrol inhibited two colon cancer cell lines making it a potential treatment for both prevention and treatment of colon cancer.

Thyme is considered safe to consume fresh or as a dried herb, but when taken in concentrations like in thyme oil on a regular basis and in large amounts can lead to digestive issues as well could lead to increased blood thinning. Precautions are advised in excessive use for these reasons. Thyme also acts like estrogen in the body, so for those who have hormone-sensitive conditions, thyme may need to be avoided.

This fragrant herb offers a wonderful flavour and aroma to many different types of foods  like: soups, egg dishes, fish, potatoes and pasta dishes. Fresh and dried thyme are  widely available and can easily be substituted for each other. Try thyme in your next recipe and appreciate the healing qualities of this wonderful herb.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / Top 6 Thyme Benefits: https://draxe.com/thyme/
•    Dr. Axe: Food is Medicine / Thyme Oil Kills Infections, Increases Circulation & balances Hormones: https://draxe.com/thyme-oil/
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / Thyme: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=77
•    Organic Facts / 7 Amazing Benefits of Thyme: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/thyme.html
•    Medical News Today / What are the Health Benefits of Thyme?: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266016.php
•    Food Facts / What is Thyme Good For?: http://foodfacts.mercola.com/thyme.html
•    Health Line / 9 health Benefits of Thyme: http://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-thyme#1
•    MDPI: molecules / Carvacrol: from ancient Flavoring to Neuromodulatory Agent: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/6/6161/htm

Garden Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

 

A hearty soup seasoned with traditional thanksgiving seasonings and thick with a   variety of garden vegetables and wild rice along with the option of quinoa for additional health.

 

Garden Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients                            Makes: 6 servings
6 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked brown and wild rice
1/4 cup cooked quinoa *(optional, see below)
1 tbsp unsalted butter + 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced and chopped or 1 sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, stewed or 1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 cup celery stalks, sliced
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped into 1/4” to 1/2” pieces
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary leaves
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 cup sweet peas
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

Instructions
Prepare vegetables. Thinly slice and chop up the leeks or dice a sweet onion and set aside in a small bowl. Finely chop up three cloves of garlic and dice a bell pepper and put together in a small bowl. Peel and chop up the carrot and slice the celery and also place together in a bowl. Chop up some clean fresh parsley and place in a bowl for garnish later.

Prepare rice. In a large sauce-pot add 3/4 cup of a mixture of wild and brown rice and a couple heaping tablespoons of quinoa. Clean the rice and quinoa by adding a couple cups of purified water to the saucepan and then giving it a stir with a large spoon. After half a minute of stirring the rice, the water may be foggy and show debris. Pour water and rice through a metal-mesh food strainer, capturing the rice and releasing the water. Add the rinsed rice and quinoa back into the saucepan and this time add 1 1/3 cups of purified water for cooking along with 1/5 teaspoon of sea salt.

Heat water and rice up over a burner on high heat, when rice begins to boil reduce heat to medium-low (3 on electric stove dial), and then apply a fitting lid. Allow rice to cook without disruption for about 30 minutes, then check on the rice. Check the water level in the rice, is it too low or to high, now is good time to avoid burnt or mushy rice. Rice should require about 35-40 minutes to produce a firm cooked rice, perfect for adding to the soup. When rice is fully cooked, remove from heat, keep covered and set aside. After about 5 to10 minutes, fluff rice with a fork to keep grains firm but fluffy.

Prepare vegetable broth. In a dutch oven or large soup pot, warm the vegetable broth up over medium heat and then reduce to low when it begins to boil.

Sauté vegetables for soup. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and then mix in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the chopped leeks or onion and cook for about 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When onions have softened add the diced garlic and sweet pepper and cook for 1 more minute or until fragrant. Increase heat slightly to about medium (4 on electric stove dial), then add the stewed tomatoes, chopped carrots, sliced celery and seasonings like sea salt, black pepper, thyme, basil and rosemary. Gently stir with a wooden spatula to combine ingredients, allow mixture to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Bring the soup together. Slowly add sautéed vegetable/tomato mixture to the warmed vegetable broth and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a few bay leaves to the soup, increase heat of broth to about medium (4 on electric stove dial), cover and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.

After the soup has been stewing for about 20 minutes, give it a taste test and adjust seasonings to personal taste. Add the rice and quinoa along with 1 cup of sweet peas to the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 10 minutes. Give the soup a final stir and taste test, and adjust seasonings as desired. Remove bay leaves before serving. Sprinkle some fresh cut parsley sprigs over each soup bowl when serving to garnish.

*Please note that when quinoa is cooked its germ may look like curly white strings that may surprise or offend fussy eaters. Adding quinoa is optional for this reason.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Visit our Article Archive here, to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Visit our Recipe Archive here, for more delicious recipes.

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Healing Foods for a Healthy Immune System

Following a balanced nutritious whole food diet is important for the body to get all the nutrients it needs to build and maintain a strong immune system. The immune system is the body’s defence against infectious organisms that invade the body and cause disease. The immune system is made up of special cells, tissues and organs that all work together to protect the body. A strong and functioning immune system recognizes invading bacteria, viruses and parasites and works to eliminate them. A healthy immune system fights these invaders more effectively, in theory reducing the intensity of the illness and allowing a person to get better sooner.

Just as important as good nutrition is for a healthy functioning immune system is the practice of drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, staying active and practicing any form of stress management. There is no one solution or way to achieve good health. Good health comes with living a healthy lifestyle and that involves everything.

Healthy whole foods include fresh fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, plain unsweetened yogurt, whole grains, lean meats, eggs, legumes like beans and lentils, nuts and seeds. Whole foods can help support and promote a healthy immune system because these foods are full of compounds called essential nutrients. Essential nutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins and fats; which are all important in building and sustaining a healthy immune system and a strong and functioning body.

Healthy protein intake is especially important in helping your body to build and maintain strength. Healing body building nutrients found in foods high in protein include vitamins B6 and B12, selenium and zinc. Healthy protein sources include chicken, turkey and other fowl, rabbit, salmon, trout, mackerel, cod, haddock, pollock, whitefish, anchovies, sardines, scallops, legumes like beans and lentils, green peas, quinoa, dairy, eggs, yogurt and all types of nuts and seeds.

Antioxidants help protect cells and DNA against damage caused by oxidants or free radicals. Free radicals are introduced by the environment as well are naturally produced in the body; but when there are too many, they can cause serious damage to the body and contribute to aging and the development of certain diseases. Whole foods that are high in antioxidants include wild blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, black plum, red and black grapes, artichokes, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa powder, cilantro and dark leafy greens.

Many herbs and spices are known for having strong antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial fighting properties and are powerful natural healers in combating many viral diseases and infections. Herbs and spices that provide powerful antioxidant protection include garlic, ginger, basil, cumin, cinnamon, parsley, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, cloves and thyme. Herbs and spices with powerful antiviral, anti-bacterial and antimicrobial properties include cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, cayenne, celery seed, oregano, peppermint and thyme.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help to keep your gut healthy. Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and yogurt. When fighting viruses, it is best to avoid dairy products since they increase mucus production and can make nausea and vomiting symptoms worse.

Flavonoids are recognized by the scientific and natural health communities as especially beneficial in boosting immune system function and speeding recovery. Flavonoids are found in garlic, leeks, onions, blueberries, grapes and acai berries; and the soft white skin of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes.

Another beneficial nutrient is called glutathione, which works as a powerful antioxidant in support of the immune system. Glutathione also promotes the creation of white blood cells, which are an important component to a healthy immune system. It is found in the red pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind and in cruciferous vegetables like kale, bok choy, turnip, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, rutabaga, watercress, radish, arugula, cabbage, mixed salad greens and collard greens.

Soups and purées help the body to absorb essential nutrients from healthy whole foods better. People with weakened immune systems can benefit from nutrient-rich foods. Weakened immune systems can also make people more prone to becoming ill from viruses and infections. When fighting viruses like the cold or flu, warm teas and soups are not just an old folk remedy. Drinking mildly warm liquids can in fact offer an immediate and sustained relief from symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chills and tiredness; by offering a soothing anti-inflammatory effect and reducing symptoms of the upper respiratory tract.

Strong scientific evidence now suggests that sugar significantly decreases immune system function. High levels of sugar in the bloodstream has been found to reduce white blood cell production and deplete the body of essential vitamins and nutrients.

It is equally important to avoid highly processed, fried and artificial foods as they offer little nutritional value and can introduce damaging substances into the body. Keeping the immune system strong and healthy is anyone’s best fight against viruses, infections and from the development of serious chronic diseases. Eating fresh whole foods will provide the body with the nourishment it needs to maintain a healthy immune system and to live a long life.

Written by: J. Marshall

Try my Cream of Cauliflower Soup recipe! Cauliflower, carrots and celery are all excellent healing foods for a healthy immune system. Use coconut milk instead of cow’s milk when fighting viruses.

Try my Rainbow Vegetable Stir-Fry with Noodles recipe! All types of vegetables are excellent healing sources for a healthy immune system.

 

References
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / What Foods are Good for My Immune System: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=24&tname=faq
•    Dr. Axe: Food is medicine / Use Antiviral Herbs to Boost Immune System & Fight Infection: https://draxe.com/antiviral-herbs/
•    Cleveland Clinic / health essentials / Eat these foods to boost your immune system: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/01/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/
•    Authority Nutrition: An evidence-based Approach / 10 Foods That Can Boost Your Immune System: https://authoritynutrition.com/foods-that-boost-immune-system/
•    NCBI / Effect of dietary protein and amino acids on immune function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2105184
•    NCBI / Probiotics in Respiratory Virus Infections: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24638909
•    Nature.com / Immunology and Cell Biology / Effects of dietary protein types on immune responses and levels of infection with Eimeria vermiformis in mice: http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/v79/n1/full/icb20014a.html
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / Top 12 Foods for Healthy Immune Response: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/08/top-12-foods-for-healthy-immune-response.aspx
•    Mercola: Take Control of Your Health / Good Bacteria Fight the Flu: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/15/good-bacteria-fight-the-flu.aspx
•    Dr. Sircus / Using Glutathione and Selenium to Treat Viral Infections: http://drsircus.com/general/glutathione-selenium-viral-infections/
•    GlutathionePro / Top Natural Antibiotics: http://glutathionepro.com/top-natural-antibiotics/
•    ImmuneHealthSciences / Natural Immune System Boosters: http://www.immunehealthscience.com/natural-immune-system-boosters.html
•    Alkalize for Health: http://www.alkalizeforhealth.net/freshjuices.htm
•    Disabled World / Flavonoids information Including Foods that Contain Them: https://www.disabled-world.com/medical/supplements/antioxidants/flavonoids.php
•    Progressive Health / Your Digestive System can Protect You From Colds and Flu: http://www.progressivehealth.com/probiotics-and-colds-and-flu.htm
•    Nurse Jon’s Glutathione Disease Cure / Immune system Glutathione: http://www.glutathionediseasecure.com/immune-system-glutathione.html

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Article Archive – View our health reference articles on how to maintain a well-balanced diet, the nutritional value of essential nutrients, nutrient-rich foods and the beneficial foods that can help in the healing of chronic disease and illness.

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~Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well~

Vegetable Borscht with an Egg

 

Borscht is a traditional Eastern European sweet and sour beet soup of which this version is dense with stewed sautéed vegetables and served with an egg on top.

 

Vegetable Borscht with an Egg

Ingredients                                   Makes: 6 to 7 servings
6 cups of vegetable broth or chicken bone broth  *see our homemade broth recipe links below
1 cup tomatoes, stewed
2 cups beets, shredded
1 to 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, sliced
1 large leek, thinly sliced or 1 sweet onion, diced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 to 2 jalapeno or chillies, minced
sea salt & pepper to taste
couple bay leaves
2 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3 potatoes, cubed in 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
3 Tbsp avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
6 eggs
dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt with each serving (optional)
fresh dill or parsley (garnish)

Instructions
In a large sauce-pot or Dutch oven, warm the chicken broth or vegetable broth over medium heat. Add the stewed tomatoes to the broth and combine.

Shred the beets by hand or with a food processor and slice the carrot, then add to the warmed broth along with the thinly sliced celery.

Slice or dice the leeks or onions and put aside in a bowl. Then mince the garlic and the jalapeño or chilli peppers and set aside separately.

In a medium skillet, warm a 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks or onions to the skillet and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until they become soft and translucent; stir occasionally to avoid burning. Add the minced garlic and jalapeño peppers to the skillet and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. When finished cooking, add mixture to the hot broth mixture and combine.

Add the remaining seasonings to the borscht mixture such as; the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, a couple of bay leaves, and sea salt and black pepper. Cover mixture with a lid and allow the borscht to stew on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes.

Peel and cube the potatoes in 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes or when a nice jacket forms on the outside of potato and the inside is cooked but still firm. Stir potatoes often while cooking to prevent burning. Season potatoes with some sea salt when they are almost ready and then add the fried potatoes to the stewing borscht.

Allow potatoes to cook in the borscht for about 5 minutes to absorb some of the flavour. Give the borscht a taste test and add any additional seasonings to suit personal taste.

Add eggs to the hot soup when it is ready. Increase the heat on the sauce-pot a couple notches to bring the broth to a gentle boil. One at a time add an egg to the hot liquid, away from each other and about 15 seconds apart so they do not stick together. If sauce-pot is small, cook just 3 eggs at a time.

When eggs have been dropped into the hot broth, apply the lid to the soup pot and reduce heat again to low. Cook eggs for about 5 to 6 minutes in the hot broth, then remove with a slotted spoon and place in a clean small bowl and cover to keep warm. Add the next round of eggs and repeat until finished.

When serving the soup, leave room to add an egg on top then and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh dill or parsley. If not serving the soup with egg, a dollop of sour cream or plain unsweetened yogurt can be added instead and again garnished with fresh herbs.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

*Try our Vegetable and Herb Broth recipe or our Chicken Bone Broth recipe to make a home-made stock!

Visit our:

  • Article Archive – View our reference articles on maintaining a well-balanced diet, the nutritional value of essential nutrients, nutrient-rich foods and the beneficial foods that can help in the healing of chronic disease and illness.
  • Recipe Archive – View all of our delicious recipes.

HomeGo to top of the page.

~Eat Well, Live Well, Be Well~

Healing Qualities of Oregano

Spice Rack Remedies

Healing Qualities of Oregano

Oregano

Oregano is an excellent source for vitamin K and a good source for manganese, iron, calcium and fiber.

Oregano is an important culinary and medicinal herb that has been used for thousands of years. Oregano, also known as “wild marjoram” in many parts of Europe, belongs to the mint family and is closely related to the herb sweet marjoram.

Oregano leaf is popular in Mediterranean cuisine and for adding flavour to meats and tomato sauces. Whereas, the oils extracted from oregano have a long medicinal history with amazing health benefits. Oregano oil is a powerful antioxidant, as well offers anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial support. Oregano inhibits inflammation, reducing tissue swelling associated with inflammatory conditions, as well has an analgesic effect in reducing the symptoms of pain. Oregano has also shown to be effective in destroying a variety of different cancer cells.

An active ingredient in oregano called rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant, four times more potent than blueberries. Antioxidants support the immune system by protecting the body against environmental damage (free radicals), through encouraging the production of bacteria-destroying white blood cells and by protecting enzymes that repair DNA, allowing the body to rejuvenate itself. Antioxidants block free radical oxidative damage to cells and DNA that causes aging and can lead to a variety of diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes.

The essential oils from oregano, carvacrol and thymol, provide such powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial support that they are effective in destroying salmonella, e. Coli, listeria and even MRSA staphylococcus, known as the “flesh eating desease”. The Journal of Medical Microbiology in 2007 published a facinating study, “Effects of oregano, carvacrol and thymol on Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms.”, that demonstrates the promising inhibiting effects the essential oils has on staph infections.

Oregano’s anti-inflammatory properties come from a substance called beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), which has been found to inhibit inflammation. A study conducted by Swiss researchers at the University of Bonn and the ETH Zurich concluded that the active ingredient E-BCP reduced inflammatory swelling significantly which also reduced pain. The experiments also found E-BCP effective in preventing bone degeneration associated to osteoporosis.

The essential oil carvacrol found in oregano has also been studied heavily for its cancer preventing properties. Research has shown that carvacrol kills cancer cells and protects against a variety of different cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer, leukaemia and prostate cancer.

Oregano oil is a great addition to the natural medicine chest for so many reasons, just as fresh or dried oregano is a must in the spice rack. Enjoy the unique flavour and aroma of oregano in your next mediterranean recipe or tomato-based dish and appreciate the benefits of this powerful herb.

Written by: J. Marshall

References

 

Caramelized Onion Potato Amandine Casserole

 

Finely mashed potatoes are mixed with caramelized onions and covered with sautéed almond slices and cheddar cheese in this delicious potato casserole.

 

Caramelized Onion Potato Amandine Casserole

Ingredients                           Makes: 6 servings
1 tbsp coconut oil or unsalted butter
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sweet onions, diced
3 garlic, finely diced
5-6 large potatoes, peeled and cubed 1.5”
4 cups purified water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp sea salt; black pepper to taste
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions
In a large skillet over medium-low heat (3 on electric stove dial), mix one tablespoon of unsalted butter with one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until onions begin to turn a deep golden brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 5 minutes longer or until garlic has softened. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring potatoes and water to a boil in a large saucepot; cook 15-20 minutes or until tender. Using a colander, drain the water from the potatoes and transfer potatoes to a large bowl.

Mash the potatoes until smooth using a potato masher, potato ricer or hand mixer. When potatoes are soft and fluffy, stir in one tablespoon of butter and the caramelized onions until evenly distributed, then set aside.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the egg, then mix in the plain yogurt. Add this yogurt mixture to the potatoes and stir in until well combined.

Heat oven to 350° degrees F. Grease a 6×6 casserole dish with coconut oil or butter.

In a medium sized skillet over medium-low heat, melt the last tablespoon of the butter then add slivered almonds. Cook stirring constantly to prevent burning for about 4 minutes or until almonds have softened and begin to turn a light golden-brown; then remove from heat and set aside.

Pour potato mixture into prepared casserole dish and distribute evenly with a large spoon. Sprinkle the sautéed almonds atop the potatoes evenly followed by the shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden in colour.

Note: Casserole may be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

Visit our Article Archive here, to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.

Visit our Recipe Archive here, for more delicious recipes.

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Healing Foods for Chronic Kidney Disease

Maintaining a well-balanced diet of fresh whole foods is important for everybody, but when suffering with chronic conditions like kidney disease, it can become necessary. Kidney disease develops when the kidneys have been attacked, which often effects the filtering units of the kidneys. Attacks on the kidneys can result in damage which can reduce their ability to eliminate waste and excess fluids. With chronic kidney disease the kidneys are damaged and there is a decreased level of function for periods of time which can range from months to years.

Kidney disease is thought to occur when another disease or condition has impaired its functions and damaged the kidneys. Disease and conditions that are thought to cause chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, kidney infection or a kidney obstruction. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the development and severity of the disease.

With chronic kidney disease, diets are designed to keep electrolytes, fluids and minerals balanced. The goal of the diet is to keep waste and fluid from building up in the blood, so the kidneys do not have to work so hard removing the extra waste themselves. This diet may also help prevent and maintain other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. Consequently, easing other health problems also helps to ease kidney disease.

Eating the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium will be less taxing on the kidneys, easing conditions of the disease. Reducing sodium intake can also help reduce fluid buildup, swelling and higher blood pressure.

Protein is needed to build muscle, repair tissue and fight infection; yet too much protein can cause waste to build up in the blood. Eating the right amount of protein for your body weight and condition, as well choosing a healthy source of protein is essential. Healthy protein sources include lean white meats like chicken, turkey or rabbit, wild Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams, crab, scallops, eggs, tofu, yogurt, raw spinach, green peas, legumes like beans and lentils, oats, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates are a good source of energy if they are being acquired from healthy sources. Bad carbs include sugary and highly refined processed foods like sugary drinks, fruit juices, white breads and pastas, pastries, cakes, ice cream, candy, French fries and potato chips. With low-protein diets, healthy carbohydrates can be used to replace calories. Healthy carbohydrate sources include all whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, potatoes, nuts and seeds, whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats or rolled oats and bran.

Phosphorus can build up in the blood as kidney function lowers, which pulls calcium from the bones causing them to become weaker; therefore limiting phosphorus may be needed. Foods that are good sources in calcium are often also high in phosphorus, so limiting these foods is also required. If these foods are being reduced in your diet, taking a coral calcium supplement may be recommended. Non- dairy food sources for calcium that are also low in phosphorus include steamed spinach, kale, arugula, amaranth, figs, rhubarb, oranges, broccoli, sweet potatoes and whey protein.

The right amount of potassium helps muscle and heart function, but too much or too little can cause the body great stress, thus regulating potassium in your diet is important. Good sources of potassium include legumes, dark leafy greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with skin, acorn squash, plain yogurt, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, bananas, prunes, dried apricots, artichoke, bok choy, beets and brussels sprouts.

With advanced kidney disease, iron levels can be depleted risking anemia, thus taking iron supplements or adding foods to your diet high in Iron may be recommended. Iron levels can be checked through a blood test requested by a doctor. Foods high in iron include squash and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, apricots, oysters, mussels, clams, nuts, beans and lentils, whole grains, bran, oatmeal, green peas, potatoes with skin, swiss chard, parsley, spinach, kale and dark leafy greens.

Developing strict diet plans is highly recommended by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Adhering strictly to a well-balanced diet can treat hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease by slowing the progression of the diseases. Meal plans for kidney disease often strictly calculate an individual’s calorie, protein, mineral and fibre intake. A nutritionist or natural-path can help develop such a meal plan best suited for your needs.

Written by: J. Marshall

Try my Spinach Frittata recipe! Spinach and eggs are excellent healing foods for kidney disease.

Try my Honey Garlic Chicken recipe! Lean white meat is an excellent healing source for kidney disease.

 

References
•    The Kidney Foundation of Canada / What is Kidney Disease?: https://www.kidney.ca/kidney-disease
•    Mayo Clinic / Chronic Kidney Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20207466
•    wikipedia / Chronic Kidney Disease: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_kidney_disease
•    National Kidney Foundation: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease
•    National Kidney Foundation / About Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease
•    Ontario Renal Network / Kidney Disease: http://www.renalnetwork.on.ca/info_for_patients/kidney_disease/#.WO-TLI5Jm9Y
•    American Kidney Fund / Kidney-Friendly diet for CKD: http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/kidney-friendly-diet-for-ckd.html
•    MedilinePlus: Trusted Health Information for You / Diet – chronic kidney disease: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002442.htm
•    Mayo Clinic / Low-Phosphorus Diet: Best for Kidney Disease?: http://www.mayoclinic.org/food-and-nutrition/expert-answers/faq-20058408
•    Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics / Kidney Disease and Diet: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/kidney-disease/kidney-disease-and-diet
•    Kidney.Org / Iron and Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/11-10-0284_patbro_irondeficiency.pdf

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Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

 

A delicious hot seashell pasta dish loaded with a full head of broccoli and a zesty pesto sauce with freshly chopped basil, onions, garlic and parmesan cheese.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Ingredients                           Makes: 3 servings
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets, stem peeled & sliced
8 ounces small seashell pasta (try gluten-free rice pasta for easier digestion)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 + 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
few shakes of black pepper or to taste
few shakes of sea salt or to taste

Instructions
Prepare ingredients. Dice sweet onion and then set aside in a small bowl. Mince jalapeño and garlic cloves and set aside in another small bowl. Chop up the fresh basil leaves and also set aside in a small bowl.

Cut the broccoli into small florets and then peel and slice the broccoli stems. Steam broccoli florets and the sliced stems until tender but still crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes; then immediately remove from heat and place in a large bowl to cool for a few minutes.

Separate 2/3 of the nicest broccoli florets in a separate bowl and set aside. Transfer the remaining broccoli florets and sliced stems to a food processor and mince, then set aside.

Prepare pasta. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (cooked but still firm to the bite). When pasta is cooked, strain out the water using a colander and rinse the hot pasta with some purified water to cool it down; then set aside to drain and air-dry.

Sauté vegetables and make broccoli pesto. In a skillet over medium-low heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then diced onions. Sauté onions for about 8 minutes or until they have turned translucent, then add the minced garlic and jalapeño and cook for another 3 minutes; stir occasionally to prevent burning. Add the pureed broccoli, finely chopped basil, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, parmesan cheese, sea salt and black pepper and combine.

Add the prepared seashell pasta and the reserved broccoli florets to the skillet and toss until to combined. Give the pasta a taste test and then add sea salt and pepper to desired taste.

Serve hot and enjoy. Pasta keeps well in fridge for a few days.

Recipe shared by: J. Marshall

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Chicken Enchilada Savoury Crepes

Chicken Enchilada Crepes

 

Creamy seasoned shredded chicken enchiladas are prepared in a savoury crepe and sprinkled with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and baked.

Chicken Enchilada Savoury Crepes

Ingredients                               Makes: 4 crepes
~Savoury Crepes~
1 cup all-purpose flour or spelt flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, mixed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup purified water
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tsp coconut oil or avocado oil (for frying)
~Filling~
1 1/4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
3 jalapeño peppers, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
few shakes of black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese, drained
1/2 cup greek yogurt, drained
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded + 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cup salsa

Instructions
Prepare the Filling Ingredients. Combine cottage cheese and yogurt in a bowl. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour in the cottage cheese and yogurt mixture and drain for at least 30 minutes; then transfer to a bowl.

Dice the onion and then put aside in a small bowl. Dice the red pepper, mince the jalapeño, and the garlic; and put all together in another small bowl. Shred 1 1/4 cups of chicken and put aside in a bowl. Shred 1/2 cup of cheese and put aside in its own bowl.

Prepare the Savoury Crepes. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour and sea salt. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, then pour in the flour and mix well until smooth (mixture should be thick). Combine milk and water; then slowly pour into flour and egg mixture, mix and whisking until smooth. An electric hand mixer or an immersion hand blender can be used. Pour in the melted unsalted butter and whisk until smooth.

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat (5-6 on electric stove), then add about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. A large soup ladle can be used to pour the batter into the pan. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter into the pan and gently tilt the pan, swirling in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

Cook crepe for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the bottom is light brown. Loosen the crepe with a large flat spatula, and then turn the crepe over and cook its other side for about 1 minute. When crepe is finished cooking, transfer to a large plate lined with a paper towel.

Add another 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil to the frying pan and repeat the process, starting with adding another 1/2 cup of batter to the hot frying pan. Transfer all the cooked crepes to the plate and then cover with a clean dish-towel to keep them warm and moist.

Prepare the Filling and Bake Enchiladas. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 10×10 inch baking dish with coconut oil.

In a large skillet over medium-low (3.5) heat, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter and then add one tablespoon of olive oil and combine. Pour in the diced onion and cook for about 7-9 minutes or until onion has softened and has begun to lose some of its moisture. Stir occasionally to keep onions from burning.

Increase heat to medium (4.5 on electric stove) and then add the diced peppers, minced jalapeño, and garlic and stir to combine. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally to keep from burning. Then add the cumin, black pepper and sea salt and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Reduce heat to medium-low and then stir in the cottage cheese and yogurt mixture and 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese. When cheese mixture begins to melt then add the shredded chicken and stir to coat and mix evenly; then remove from heat.

Divide the chicken mixture into four and spoon into the crepes, and roll up. Place the rolls seam side down into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of  Monterey Jack cheese over the top of the enchiladas.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the enchiladas are golden brown on the top. Serve immediately with 1 tablespoon of salsa. Enjoy.

Recipe shared by:  J. Marshall

Visit our Article Archive here, to learn more about nutrition, essential nutrients and how to maintain a well-balanced diet.

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Healing Qualities of Cumin

Spice Rack Remedies

Healing Qualities of Cumin

Cumin is an annual plant called Cuminum Cyminum and is a member of the parsley family. Cumin seeds, also known as Jeera, are used in cuisines from around the world, offering a slightly sweet, nutty and peppery flavour. The seeds are oblong in shape, ridged and yellow-brown in colour and are used in cooking whole in form, ground as a powder or as an extracted oil for flavouring.

The uses of cumin date back over 5,000 years and was highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans not only for its culinary purposes, but also for its medicinal uses. Traditionally cumin was used as a diuretic, as an aphrodisiac, to reduce food-borne illnesses, to stimulate healthy digestion and to stimulate menstruation.

Today science has validated some of these traditional beliefs as well has found that cumin has many other medicinal benefits. Recent studies have found that cumin can be used to lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels, improve cognitive function, increase bone density, reduce symptoms of IBS, boost immunity, relieve the symptoms of the common cold, can be used as a detox for drug addiction, can help respiratory disorders, can be used to relieve insomnia, can promote lactation in women who are breastfeeding, provide antioxidant protection and may also prevent some cancers.

Cumin seeds are high in iron and dietary fiber as well a good source for many other essential nutrients like manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin B1. Iron plays many vital roles in the body including the promotion of healthy blood, energy production, metabolism and immune support. Iron deficiencies effect 20% of the world’s population and can lead to serious conditions like anemia. One teaspoon of cumin powder contains almost 18% of an adults daily value in Iron.

The dietary fiber and chemical properties of cumin benefit the digestive system by stimulating the secretion of pancreatic enzymes and proteins that assist in digestion and nutrient assimilation. A study published in the Middle East Journal of Digestive Disease concluded that an extract of cumin taken daily for 2 to 4 weeks greatly reduced symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Antioxidant compounds found in cumin like flavonoids and alkaloids provide protection from free radical damage that cause inflammation and damage to DNA. The antioxidant protection in cumin can improve inflammatory conditions like asthma, improve cognitive function, boost immunity, detox the body, relieve symptoms of the common cold, respiratory disorders and insomnia, as well provide protection against cancer.

Cumin has been found to improve blood sugar control, in one study, by reducing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are produced in the bloodstream when blood sugar levels are high. AGEs are believed to be responsible for damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels in people with diabetes.

Multiple clinical studies have found that cumin improved blood cholesterol levels by decreasing unhealthy blood triglycerides. LDL cholesterol levels were decreased by 10% in patients that took a cumin extract for one and a half months.

In a study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine in 2008, researchers found that a cumin extract taken regularly had a similar effect in anti-osteoporotic to that of Estradiol, a drug taken by menopausal women, as well improved bone density.

A different study published in the journal Neuroscience Letters in 2008 suggests that cumin seed oil reduced the tolerance and dependance of drug addiction and reduced the symptoms of withdrawal.

Antimicrobial properties in cumin have long been used to reduce the risk of food-borne infections and reduce the growth of certain kinds of infectious fungi. Cumin seeds have also been suggested to improve skin conditions including boils, rashes, eczema and psoriasis.

Cumin taken with milk and honey on a regular basis is also said to help breast-feeding women increase their milk supply.

The health benefits of cumin are far-reaching, known throughout ancient times and proven today in many evidence-based studies. Cumin can be enjoyed as a spice in Asian, Middle-Eastern and Spanish cooking but can also be taken as a supplement. When cooking with cumin it is best to use whole cumin seeds or to grind them yourself with a mortar and pestle for optimum potency.

Written by: J. Marshall

References
•    Authority Nutrition: An Evidence-based Approach / 9 Powerful Health Benefit of Cumin: https://authoritynutrition.com/9-benefits-of-cumin/
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods / Cumin Seeds: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91
•    Organic Facts / 13 Surprising Benefits of Cumin: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-cumin.html
•    Herb Wisdom / Cumin: http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cumin.html
•    Doctors Health Press / Top 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Cumin Seeds: http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/top-10-amazing-health-benefits-of-cumin-seeds
•    Wellness Mama / Cumin Herb Profile: https://wellnessmama.com/5607/cumin-herb-profile/
•    Wikipedia / Cumin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumin
•    NCBI / Cumin extract for symptom control in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24829694
•    Neuroscience Letters: The rapid communication journal for the neurosciences: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/neuroscience-letters/
•    Experimental Biology and Medicine: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/ebm