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No Salt Added- Herbs and Spices Basics

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Let’s just be real honest. Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me. 

Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer and other diseases.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

Herbs and Spices: The Basics to Your Food Relationship

There are some things you need to know. 

  • Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety. 
  • Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended. 
  • Spices can be whole or ground. 
  • Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Herbs & Spices

Now what?

Got you. These herbs and spices are great for staples to any recipe, but they are great additions to many food relationship encounters

holistic eating habits

JRiley

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Food Relationship: What You can Eat to Hydrate

It’s 3:00 PM in the afternoon and I look down at my water bottle. The day is almost done and I’ve only drank half the my minimal of what is needed to be hydrated. Unfortunately, coffee doesn’t count. Why on earth would I add hydration count to my endless daily check-list? From brain function, gut function, adrenal function- hydration is the everything in biological function.

How much water should you drink? National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine   gives guidelines on the minimal fluids you should take daily. According to the site, I need to take in around twelve eight ounces per day, water as a safety blanket it is!! Some conditions require more fluid intake such as activity and heat,  Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention outlines other reasons.  Know and watch your fluid intake.

What about what you drink?  There are drinks you need to limit or completely avoid.  Sugary drinks such as juices and sodas needs to be limited.  This goes for caffeine and alcohol too. It is thought that caffeine intake can cause dehydration, a quick run through studies on coffee. Mild coffee drinking is fine and not known to impact hydration ability.   Sugar and too much sodium are the top dehydrators you can drink.

What Should You Drink?

  • Water
  • Green Tea
  • Herbal Teas
  • Non synthetic dye or natural drink
  • Water with fruit and vegetables

Your food life is two fold on hydration.  Drinking is the primary way to obtain and maintain hydration. However, eating certain whole foods (not cooked or lightly cooked) contains significant portions of water in them.

What Can You Eat to Boost Hydration?

All of these contain at least 90% of water and tons of nutrition. Food relationship multitasking at its best.

  • Canteloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Pickles
  • Yogurt
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

The Exceptions

Broccoli and squash contain more water when cooked.

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Sports drinks are known to help with hydration and keeping hydration in short periods.  They should only be consumed when significant water loss is involved or recommended by doctor. The main reason are electrolytes.  In a simplistic term, electrolytes are salts in the form of minerals that help with hydration and cleanse your bodily systems.  The electrolytes you need are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, phosphates.  You can eat these easily all the time.

Foods Rich in Electrolytes

  • White beans
  • Dairy- yogurt/ kefir particularly
  • Fish- especially salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and walnuts
  • Dark greens- notably kale, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, spinach, chard
  • Tofu
  • Baked goods with baking soda
  • Fruids: Bananas, water melons,
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut water
  • Tomato
  • Egg plant

Each of these foods offer it’s unique contribution.  A rotation/combination of each offers the best impact in your food relationship. I am going to grab more of my lemon & lime water. Gotta catch up!

Namaste and be fluid

Juls

close up photography of eyeglasses on pineapple
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Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Health foodie: Finding the (pH) Balance in Your Food Relationship

Spicy foods and I have had a long time love affair in our food relationship.  It seems that now we are at least on a separation if not headed for limited contact relationship.  Our relationship literally burns my heart, among other things.  Heart burn, acid reflux, and bile reflux are serious conditions that do more than irritate.  Due to high acid production, it can erode your digestive system from mouth to intestines.  It can be painful and may even cause esophageal spasms.  Not being able to use your esophagus sucks at the very least and scary at times.  To find balance in your food relationship, you need pH balance- acid vs alkaline.  This doesn’t mean acidic food are bad all together, many have amazing nutritional value and for some people, acidity is needed.  For us fiery, acidic bellies- we need to tone it down and tailor our relationship.

It’s starts with “we’re on a break.” For some time or all the time or on a limited basis you need to quit these foods: caffeine, citrus fruits, cocoa beans (coffee/chocolate), tomatoes, spicy, hot temps, high fats, processed, fried foods.  A relationship with a medical professional may help you decide what that relationship will look like.  These foods are either high in acid or cause more stomach acid production.  If you are extra sensitive then avoiding most fruits, gluten, dairy, and onions may be of benefit.

So now what do I eat?  I truly did have a spicy food addiction.  In treating and making new relationship routines I have become a humongous fan of oats.  I like oats before, but it’s a whole new love now.  Oats are excellent for regulating blood sugar among many things but for the sake of stomach acid- it absorbs acid and helps regulate the guts.  Every morning I have oatmeal with raw honey and sliced bananas.  Every. Freaking. Morning.  Raw honey, it HAS to be raw, has amazing healing properties and bananas are on the helpful with the acid list.  Ginger in tea or added to a meal is another pH balancing friend.  Probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha will tip the pH scale in your favor.  And veggies.  Veggies are alkaline which is the yin to acid’s yang so to speak, especially those greens and carrots.  Avocados, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, tofu, amaranth, and legumes are other alkaline options for daily contacts in your food relationship.

Love red sauces.  Me too! What do I do with tomato based sauces to combat acidity? Carrots.  These handy veggies in a puree aid in leveling out tomato’s acidity.  Cooking time is important too.  It need to be limited and I do not cook my sauces over thirty minutes.  More cook time, more acid.  Spices and herbs can contribute to raising the pH level.  An example is enchilada sauce.  I either eliminate the chili powder completely or reduce it, the up the cumin by half more.  This can be applied to any enchilada sauce recipe or pin you see.  Below I have included how I make my carrot puree plus a recipe for a reduced acid pasta sauce.  The carrot thing really does work.

Carrot Puree

2 carrots peeled and diced in 1 cup of water.  Cook until soft and blend or food processor until smooth.  You can double to make extra to store or freeze for later use.

Reduced Acid Pasta Sauce

  • 2 ( 29 oz) can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of carrot puree
  • 2 bay leaves (cue 90’s kid in school lunchroom memories)
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

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Cooking: measure it, dump it, stir it, and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.

You can cook longer if you can stand higher acidity.  TBH- I love longer cooked sauces; however, they are not loving me back at the moment.  Care for your gut as it cares for the rest of you.

Please like share or pass along!

Namaste