By Linda Pecone
While eating whatever you wish without worrying about the consequences can be detrimental to your health, healthy eating does not have to be about eating foods you do not like. Revamping your eating can be about the satisfaction of taking care of your health, in addition to enjoying what you eat. Eating well isn’t expensive if you do it right. You don’t have to have a fancy dehydrator or juicer in your kitchen to eat healthy. You don’t need fancy kitchen gadgets to eat right.
Start with “Re-wilding”, or culturing your gut. Culturing your intestinal microflora can be a game changer for your overall health, especially for digestion, skin, immunity, and mood. The best way to build a better gut biome in your digestive tract is to eat probiotic-rich foods throughout the day, foods like fermented vegetables or non-dairy or grass-fed yogurt, or by adding a good probiotic supplement. In addition you will need to cut back your intake of sugar and starch. When you “re-wild" your gut you will see improved digestion, a clearer and calmer mind, your skin will begin to clear up and brighten, allergies will be put in check, and your immune system will strengthen.
Don’t forget the fat. There has been a long occurring trend to eat a diet low in fat which has created an unhealthy society. We need adequate fats for brain function, hormone production, metabolism, energy, immune function, and taming inflammation. Fat also helps us assimilate fat-soluble vitamin D and E. It’s important whether or not a fat is “good” or “bad” and it comes down to whether or not it nourishes. The best sources of fat are raw plant fats like avocado, coconut, nuts, seeds, olive oil, almond butter, and even green juice. These good fats can even help reduce fat levels in the body! A healthy intake of fat should be at between forty and sixty percent fat.
Add adaptogens to your diet. Adaptogens help the body better respond to stress by reducing stress-hormone induced cellular damage. They help improve mood, boost immunity, and reduce fatigue. Some of the best adaptogens include ashwagandha, cordyceps (mushrooms), and eleuthero (ginseng).
Ashwaganda has a reputation as a soothing nervine, which can help with anxiety and stress induced insomnia. It’s also great for the immune system. Cordyceps support kidney health, fatigue, and are a powerful immune support. Eleuthero is a gentle supportive adaptogen which supports cognitive function, and contributes to the health of the heart during stress, and can support a healthy cholesterol level. It’s the herb of choice if you are in a highly stressful time. It can support night time waking without causing drowsiness.
Get your turmeric. It is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin. This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs.
Here is a recipe for Golden Milk which gets in some good fats and some powerful herbs for your health.
(makes 16 oz.)
12 oz. almond milk (see recipe below for homemade almond milk)
3/4 lb. fresh turmeric, juiced
2 tsp. raw honey or sweetener of choice
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 whole black peppercorns or 3 drops of black pepper oil
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until the peppercorns have fully broken down.
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup raw organic sprouted almonds soaked overnight (this step reduces the level of phytates.
4 cups pure filtered water
vanilla bean (optional)
dates, honey or stevia (optional)
Soak almonds for at least twelve hours in pure water with 1/2 tsp sea salt. This is an important step as it breaks down the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and cultures beneficial enzymes in the almonds.
Rinse almonds well. Mix almonds with pure water in blender or Vitamix.
Blend several minutes until smooth and creamy. (Warning: mixture will expand some, so make sure your blender is not full before starting it).
Strain mixture into a large bowl through a sprout bag, cheese cloth or kitchen towel (I use a paint strainer bag).
Put mixture back into blender with vanilla, soaked dates, or other sweetener.
Pour into glass jar or pitcher and store in fridge for up to one week.
Linda Pecone, along with her husband, is a long time resident of Lyons Colorado. She is a certified herbalist, birth and postpartum doula. She has been making and selling her elderberry products in Lyons for several years. She is also the owner of The Little Yellow House on Second Avenue.