Before you think about ‘dieting’

With the spring comes thoughts of swim suits and losing weigh.  Before you start, consider this:

  1. Set up long-term goals (weight, dress or pant size) and make them realistic.
  2. Change your dietary habits for life, not just for weight loss.  Most diets fail and weight gain comes back within three years.
  3. Drink lots of water to help fill you up and clear you out.
  4. Take a dietary fiber like chicory root, acacia, etc. to help fill you up.

Diet sabatogers.

  1. There’s nothing like alcohol to relax you and decrease your will power. My advice—stay away!
  2. Another sabatoger. Notice that, after a stressful day, is when you tend to eat/drink more? However, since we cannot avoid stress, let’s support the body.

Herbal support.

  • Herbs like licorice and Rehmannia root support the adrenals, which (among other things) are our “fight or flight” gland.
  • Herbs like American skullcap, passionflower and chamomile help support the central nervous system and can help relax us.
  • Herbs that “clean you out” like cascara sagrada and senna can be used for short term detoxing and dandelion root is great for the liver.
  • Kudzu (taken as a tea) has been reported to curb the desire for alcohol.
  • Gymnema has been shown to curb sugar cravings.

Good luck and remember, if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying!

Cacao (cocoa)–nature’s superfood

Cacao (cocoa) beans (or nibs) are indeed a super food. It has been used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes in central and south America for its health properties. According to a 2014 article on cacao, researchers purported that the polyphenols in cacao are both highly anti-inflammatory and extremely cardio protective. In fact, cacao is one of the richest food in polyphenols. They key is however, not to process the cacao, for once it’s processed (into cocoa), the polyphenol benefits drop dramatically.

Also found in cacao is theobromine (hence the scientific name Theobroma), one of two methylxanthines (the other is caffeine more predominantly found in coffee). Methylxanthines act on adenosine receptors in the central nervous system with the effect of enhancing arousal, mood, and concentration levels, as well as having a diuretic, cardiovascular and metabolic effect. Methylxanthines can even help the bronchials relax and increase secretion of gastric acids.

The flavonals in cacao have also been shown to inhibit lipid (fat) peroxidation. In fact, in one experiment, cacao had been shown to reduce obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice.

I use cacao nibs in yogurt and in smoothies—they are great with bananas, so enjoy this, low calorie, super food!

Nutrients 2014, 6, 844-880, Review: “Cocoa Polyphenols and Inflammatory Markers of Cardiovascular Disease”

Nutrients 2013, 5, 4159-4173; Review; “Health Benefits of Methylxanthines in Cacao and Chocolate”

~ Water Kefir~ Kefir Soda

Makes 1 gallon water kefir

  • 1 1/2 cups water kefir grains (see photo on right)
  • 2/3 cups organic dark brown sugar, rapadura, sucanat
  • 1 – 2tsp. organic unsulfured blackstrap molasses (optional, but do this at least every few times you brew)
  • 1/4 tsp. bicarbonate of soda (if you do not have hard water or mineral rich water – helps with the pH of the water and the fizzy outcome)
  • 20 drops concentrated mineral drops or 2 egg shells rinsed and dried out

For a half gallon

  • ¾ cup water kefir grains
  • 1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 10 drops concentrated minerals

Mix water and sugar in a gallon jar with the best quality water you can. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add in the grains, put on the lid, place in a cupboard and let ferment for 48 hours. The brew should be fizzy and slightly tart. Strain out to remove grains and place in small jars or another gallon jar for a second ferment which is the flavoring part of the process. You will add your flavor ingredients to the brew and allow to ferment for another 48 hours.

Flavor addition options;

  • Cream soda – 1/2 cup raisins and 1 vanilla bean or a good pour of homemade vanilla. Add another pinch of bicarbonate of soda if you want to induce fizz.
  • Italian Cream Soda – to your finished cream soda add a splash of raw cream to your glass to mimic those fancy Italian Cream soda drinks at coffee shops! Mmmm……..
  • GingerAle – 2-4 tablespoons grated ginger root, 1/2-1 cup organic raisins or 4 chopped and pitted dates.
  • Lemon/Lime Spritzer – 4-6 limes juiced, zest of 1-2 limes

You can also kefir fresh juices, such as apple cider as well as coconut water. The possibilities are endless! This will keep your family intrigued and having fun all while getting some awesome health benefits! Here’s to your health – drink up!