As the holiday season draws to a close, many of us start to think about how to eat more healthfully in the New Year and perhaps try and lose those few extra pounds that might have crept up on us over the holidays. If healthy eating and cooking are on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, the NakedTruthNutritionist and EdibleNature are here to help you at every turn.
Whether you’re looking for organic bulk spices, natural supplements or the best advice on how to cook healthy weekday meals, we are here to help.
Make 2014 the Year of the Healthy, New You!
A recent Stanford analysis confirmed that in comparison with conventional food, organic food has significantly lower pesticide levels, lower multidrug-resistant bacteria levels, and higher beneficial fat levels. In my book, that’s a pretty good case that organic food is healthier.
Avoid buying items with corn or corn-based substances (corn oil, cornstarch, or corn syrup) as ingredients. According to the USDA, at least 85 percent of the corn grown in this country has been genetically modified, meaning the plants were altered to make them more pest resistant. The Food Alliance Certified seal means that a product has not been genetically modified.
Black tea, green tea and white teas are a rich source of the antioxidant EGCG. White tea contains the most as it is the least processed, followed by green, then black tea. Emerging research suggests that consumption and topical application of EGCG can help protect the skin from UV damage and skin cancer. One may need to drink 4-5 cups a day to reap the benefits from oral intake. You can also find it in topical beauty products that contain EGCG or ‘green tea extract’.
Research suggests that people with mild eczema who drink oolong tea three times a day may show improvement in itching and other symptoms. Compounds in the tea called polyphenols appear to be responsible.
Compounds in white tea may stall the growth of new fat cells, as well as trigger the breakdown of fat in existing fat cells, according to a report in Nutrition & Metabolism. White Tea is low in caffeine and high in antioxidants, and could be helpful in averting the many health problems linked to buildup of fat around the waistline – the worse kind of fat.
Life this time of year can feel like a marathon of family gatherings, shopping, and general overdoing. Instead of relying on vast amounts of caffeine to keep up the pace, try a homemade herbal chai to build your body’s reserves.
This energy-enhancing blend stars eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng), which helps the body adapt to stress; burdock to gently detox the liver; and licorice to balance the adrenal system (omit if you have high blood pressure). Ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom warm your body and add a spicy-sweet flavor. Drink three to four cups daily for best effects.
Stamina Tea – Makes 1 quart
Simmer herbs in 1 quart of water for 20 minutes. Strain and discard herbs. Pour a cup, adding milk and honey to taste if desired. Keep remaining tea in a jar or thermos. Tea will keep for two days in refrigerator.
Many of you asked for specific herbal tea combinations….Best anti-stress bets include (try one or a blend of any of these great herbal teas):
valerian, hops, chamomile, scullcap, oats, damiana
St. John’s wort, passion flower, valerian, lemon balm, lobelia, scullcap, hops, chamomile, lavender
oats, barley, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root
kola nut, peppermint, ginkgo, gota kola, wintergreen, spearmint, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, ginseng
Whether you need to relax before climbing into bed, de-stress after a busy day at work, or even get your day off on the right (calm) foot, a cup of herbal tea can help. Try different herbs that are known for their soothing properties, then pick your favorites and enjoy them solo or in combinations. As a general guideline, use about a teaspoon of herb per cup of water, and steep for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remember, the best tasting teas are brewed loose!
If you are a tea connoisseur, then you probably know that experts recommend using loose teas for the best flavor, since loose teas are consistently higher-grade than those used in prepackaged tea bags. Loose leaves unfurl in the cup and release the full flavor of the tea, so when filling your own tea bags or using tea balls, be careful to not overfill.
At EdibleNature we have a taste for tea. And nothing tastes better than teas that are sustainably farmed and socially beneficially. That’s why we’re committed to offering a large selection of organic Fair Trade Certified teas. Purchasing Fair Trade teas benefits farmers committed to sustainable practices and provides support to their communities.