Winter Wellness – Part 3 – Super Foods

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I’m writing this from a sunny Picton while himself is out at work and themselves are enjoying the frost.  We have decided to come up for the weekend so himself didn’t have to do a long drive each day over the weekend and it is great to get away for a mini break albeit in the same accomodation.  It is amazing just how much warmer it is, even with the frosty start to the morning, when you’re away from mountains covered in snow! After almost a week without a heater, it broke last Sunday just as the big frosts arrived, it is very enjoyable sitting warmly indoors and watching the sun glisten on the frost with my feet all toasty.

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Making the most of a campground for a change … themselves are loving the trampoline and playground!

This week I thought I’d share a post which I wrote 9 years ago now, when we had just come back to NZ.  Winter calls for warm lunches and is a great time to be making big pots of healthy veggie soup (thickened up with some rice and or beans), especially when you are unwell.  So with that in mind I thought this little list may help boost the healing potential of your brew.  I am mindful that some of the ‘Super Foods’ listed here are on that ‘dirty dozen’ list of heavily sprayed foods and it can be expensive to get organic in NZ so if you can’t source homegrown or spray free veg then the next best thing is to try and clean them a little.

So without further ado I will give you the list of  20 foods with great antioxident properties that can help fight disease and keep your body fighting fit. I confess that I don’t know where I sourced the list from originally, though I’m sure I have altered it quite a bit, so if it is yours then please let me know so that I can credit you officially 🙂

1. AsparagusCousin of the yellow onion asparagus is a valuable source of antioxidants Vitamin C, bioflavonoid rutin and beta carotene. High in folate it is good for lowering the risk of birth defects, colon and cervical cancer. It is a good detoxifier and immune builder as well as reducing fatigue.
2. Beets
Having edible roots and leaves beets are a good brain and anti-fatigue food rich in beta carotene and betaine. Beets have been used for centuries medicinally and as part of many staple diets. Containing calcium, potassium, iron and vitamins A and C they are also valuable to a healthy heart.
3. Berries
While there are many to choose from all berries are a wonderful cool down food. Blueberries are a powerful bacteria fighter against infections of the urinary tract and kidneys as are cranberries. Strawberries are packed with vitamin C as well as 20 different anti-aging trace minerals and cancer fighting flavonoids.
4. Carrots
Related to parsnip and celery, carrots provide more protein, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and B than most other vegetables. They contain cancer fighting flavonoid antioxidants, and are the second highest source of pro-vitamin A beta carotene. Carrots are great for colds, diarrhoea (as soup or juice) and arthritis.
5. Cabbage
Rich in two antioxidants sulfaphane and the flavonoids complex, cabbage offers more anticancer benefits than any other vegetable family. It is one of the top 5 sources of vegetable fibre to help reduce cholesterol, risks of coronary artery disease and preventing blood clotting. Cabbage juice is also a powerful healer.
6. Celery
Celery has been used medicinally for centuries, having a reputation of a laxative, diuretic, gallstone nostrum and an antibacterial agent. It contains Vitamin C, B complex, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and more fibre than parsnips. Celery’s crunch has stress reductive properties and it is also a great body balancer after overindulgence.
7. Garlic
With over 100 healing ingredients, garlic is a natural antibacterial and antifungal plant which contains vitamin A, B and C, calcium, potassium, iron, antioxidants, carotenes, germanium, selenium, and garlic’s all important sulphurous compounds. Garlic helps to restore metabolic equilibrium, blocking free radicals, which weaken immune systems, helping to prevent disease.
8. Ginger
Ginger provides more protein than green beans and is rich in Vitamin A, calcium, iron phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. It has been used for centuries medicinally for nausea, indigestion and as a poison antidote. Ginger also is an effective antibacterial killing salmonella and inhibiting the fungi that produces a carcinogen.
9. Grapes
Enjoyed fresh, as a juice or dried as raisins, grapes are a good source of fibre, potassium and Vitamins A, B and C. Both dried and fresh grapes have been used in healing dyspepsia, liver and kidney disorders, tuberculosis, haemorrhoids and venous disorders due to their flavonoid antioxidants. Try at get organic where possible as these are one of that dirty dozen that have the life sprayed out of them.
10. Kiwifruit
Originating in China, Kiwifruit is a rich source of Vitamin C (120% of your daily quota) fibre, magnesium, and potassium. Kiwifruit in your diet can help in lowering cholesterol, maintaining stronger arteries and protecting skeletal growth and repair. The high vitamin C content in kiwifruit also aids in oral care.
11. Lemons
One of the top seven sources of potassium lemons are good for promoting clear thinking. An excellent source of Vitamin C, one tablespoon is one tenth of the daily requirement; Lemons have been used as a remedy against scurvy. It is a natural cleanser and therapy for treating fever.
12. Nectarines
Rich in beta carotene, Vitamin A, potassium and magnesium, nectarines are a great heath giving and tasting fruit. They can help with lowered immunity, kidney stones, poor vision and protection against pollution. Nectarines also contain 12% of your RDA of ascorbic acid and can be used cooked or fresh.
13. Nuts
Nuts are a rich source of antioxidants selenium and the polyphenols, which assist in preventing cancer. They are rich in protein, topping cheese, milk and eggs depending on the variety. Nuts provide high levels of Essential Fatty Acids which the body needs for energy and a healthy heart.
14. Onions
Coming from the same Allium family as garlic, onions share many of the same healing qualities. They have been used for centuries medicinally helping with tuberculosis, coughs, hypertension and cancer as well as in beauty recipes for the hair. Onions provide beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 and Vitamin C.
15. Oranges
Oranges have long been used to improve people’s health. Rich in Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, phenolic acids and fibre oranges are good for preventing free radical damage and neutralizing carcinogens as well as stabilizing blood cholesterol and treating respiratory disorders. Oranges also make a good alcohol-free germicidal gargle and mouthwash.
16. Parsley
Parsley has long enjoyed a reputation as a healing and sacred herb. Containing Vitamin A, folate, chlorophyll (an age slowing nutrient) Vitamin C and antioxidants; courmarins, flavonoids, monoterpene and polyacetylene, it can assist in iron deficiencies, strengthening immune systems, stomach disorders, rheumatism and act as an anti PMS aid.
17. Peppers
Having between 150 – 200 varieties, peppers belong to the nightshade family. They are effective painkillers when used in the form as capsaicin cream for the treatment of a variety of illnesses. Peppers are source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, folate, Vitamin A, phosphorous, iron, sodium, magnesium and silicon.
18. Rice
Unrefined Rice is an excellent source of nutrients such as B-complex vitamins, iron and calcium. Rice also contains high levels of protease inhibitors which help prevent or retard the growth of tumours. It has been used medicinally for centuries to treat infant diarrhoea, rehydrating the body and bulking stool volume.
19. Soybeans
Soybeans are packed full of nutrients which makes them valuable in helping reduce cholesterol levels, cancer-proof the body, act as a natural appetite suppressant and an antidepressant. Prepared in various ways soybeans contain more potassium and iron than milk, Vitamins A and E, Vitamin C, zinc, calcium, protein and B12.
20. Tomatoes
One of the richest known sources of lycopene, an anticancer antioxidant; tomatoes are a good way to cancer proof your body and boost your health. Tomatoes contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A antioxidants P-coumaric, 2-phenol and cholorogenic acid. They are natural healers for kidney disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypoglycaemia and diarrhoea. Another of the so called dirty dozen so source homegrown or organic where possible.
Hope this finds you enjoying the sun and in great health where ever you are in the world.
Arohanui
Y
www.becominghealthy.co.nz
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Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

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It is winter here in NZ, well almost, so what better way to warm up than making a big pot of yummy soup?  I do love soup it has to be said and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea quite happily however lately it has been a bit of a necessity for me as a way to rest my digestive system.

We have been lucky enough to have a free place to park our bus for the past 9 weeks, while himself has been working to restore the railway after earthquakes last year, beside a large paddock of a local Irish Pub.  While we haven’t had to pay for the spot we have felt obliged to spend a bit of money here to keep in the owner’s good books so we have been going out for tea up at the pub at least once a week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to cook however my digestive system has had other thoughts.  Being a vegetarian in a small country area has its downsides … namely that there are only a few items on the menu you can have and of these few selections most contain gluten, dairy, a combination of both, or are deep fried.

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View from across the paddock back to our bus … the kids love it!

It has been an exercise in having the things that effect me least or trying to just have things sparingly.  Trouble is that I’m not that good at sparingly and I’m really not a have one and be satisfied kind of girl!  So let’s just say that over the past 9 weeks my eating has been very ‘off’ and I am now paying for that prolonged accumulation of foods that my body just doesn’t agree with.  Over the last few days I have been experiencing pain due to diverticulitis (flaring up of diverticular disease) and I completely know why it has reared up …. I only have myself to blame and myself to sort it out.

My main way, and this may not suit everyone, is to rest my system as much as I can until the pain subsides and my body feels ‘normal’ again.  I tend to go liquid for a few days so that my body isn’t having to deal with too much in the way of digestion in the hopes that it will have more time to deal with healing.  So far this has worked, on the few occasions that I have needed it, however the best plan is always to keep my diverticular disease at bay by eating well, exercising and having good fluids.

As it is pumpkin time here, and we New Zealanders love our pumpkins, I have been enjoying making up some pumpkin soup and my latest pots have been a little different after getting a few ideas at a local community dinner.  I usually just love pumpkin soup with a few onions and garlic thrown in, nothing fancy just yummy pumpkiny goodness, however I may have changed that for good after adding some coconut cream and ginger to the mix.  This recipe doesn’t really have any measurements, sorry, aside from 1 tin of coconut cream which you may want to increase if you are making  a large pot of soup. Experiment with what you like using this simple recipe as a base.

crown pumpkin

Crown Pumpkin

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

  • 1/2 a large Crown Pumpkin (this is the best flavoured pumpkin for soups)
  • Ground or fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Veggie stock cube
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • Water

– Fry off the garlic in a pot with a little oil

– Add in pumpkin chopped into cubes (should come to almost the top of the pot)

– Pour in coconut cream (should cover 1/2 – 3/4 of the pumpkin in the pot) and then cover the rest of the pumpkin with water

– Bring to the boil and add in the stock and ginger

– Boil until the pumpkin is all soft.

– Take off the heat and mash until you have a thick soup.  You can add more liquid if you like it runny or mash less if you like your soup chunky.

– Enjoy!!

 

Hope this finds you free of pain and full of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

Kitchen Cures

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So it seems that it is that time of the year here in NZ when the coughs and colds strike, well in this house at least.  With that in mind I thought a wee post about kitchen cures and real foods that can help would be in order.

We have our favourite kitchen cures of course and my list is not everything there is so  I’d love to hear other ‘cures’ from other cultures if you’re keen to share.

This week some kitchen Cures for Coughs:

Coughs can be extremely dehydrating to the body so it is really important to maintain fluids even when it seems we don’t need to. Try some of these:

Thyme:
This has to be our favourite, tried and true, remedy.  Thyme has been an officially approved German treatment for coughs for a long time and there is a good reason of that – it works! 😉 The flavonoids in the herb relax the tracheal and ileal muscles and they also reduce inflammation. Just brew up a strong ‘tea’ with some dried thyme, add honey to sweeten if needed, and then sip regularly especially around times of coughing.

Hot tea:
As mentioned above coughing dehydrates you and so you need to keep the fluids up. Drinks are important and hot teas even more so as the warmth of the drink will relieve your throat while it hydrates. Green tea which is full of antioxidants, Apple cider, peppermint, lemon and honey along with the aforementioned thyme are all good kitchen cures for that pesky cough.

Try some hot herbal or fruit teas to ease your throat and re-hydrate you.

Try some hot herbal or fruit teas to ease your throat and re-hydrate you.

Garlic:
This is a very traditional kitchen cure for coughs and colds and a good one.  Garlic has antibiotic properties which helps healing all-round.  The Cherokee also used it as an expectorant for coughs and croup. My preferred method, and I think the most effective, is to finely diced a clove of raw garlic and then add a bit to a teaspoon of honey.  The honey also acts as an antiseptic which will soothe the throat so benefits abound!

Onions and honey:
I have tried this one when the kids were little and it was pretty effective – probably because they liked the sweetness of the honey and caramelised onion!  Simply chop up an onion and place in a double boiler with ½ cup of honey and some lemon juice. Cook on a low heat till the onion is soft and slightly caramelised.  You can either strain out the onion or leave in. Store in a jar and use as needed.

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and if not cough free at least with a few ideas up your sleeve.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz