“A candle loses nothing if it is used to light another.
Spicing Up the Holidays—Your Way
By Sheryl Worthington Turgeon, MPH, CHNC
Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor
Your Health Potential, LLC
It’s official—we’re now in the Holiday Season! What does this mean to you? For most of us, it’s a mixture of revelry and celebration, shopping, stress and strained relationships, wrapping, lots of rich foods and desserts, decorating, eggnog and other party drinks, cooking, and togetherness with family and friends.
By January, we are ready to swear off everything that smacks of indulgence. We are usually sleep-deprived, a few pounds heavier, and a bit short on cash. We may also feel somewhat let-down that the festivities are over and a long winter looms ahead. Want to shake things up and enter the New Year with gusto?
Let’s start with adding in some feel-good spices to our holiday fare. Cinnamon, for example, adds an exotic touch of flavor to food, and while you are consuming more sugar than usual, it will help to control insulin levels, affecting how much your body stores or burns fat. It also increases circulation, giving you more energy and vitality.
Thyme, which has a minty, lemon flavor, is not only a potent anti-cancer herb, but the essential oil helps relax the stomach and relieve gas. It is also a powerful nutrient—it contains 100 times as much chromium and 400 times as much manganese as meat!
Another great spice for digestive issues is cumin. The seeds come from a small flowering plant in the parsley family. It stimulates the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas, which helps you better absorb nutrients. Perhaps more important this season, cumin aids the liver in detoxification.
Would you like to increase your energy, speed up your metabolism, alleviate headaches and improve digestion? Well, cayenne pepper can do all this and more. It can actually stop a heart attack within 30 seconds if taken in a glass of warm
water, according to Dr. John Christopher, a natural herbalist. Dr. Christopher,
who started the School of Natural Healing in 1953, was persecuted by many for his practice of using herbal medicine to help
patients heal heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis, infertility, rheumatism, leukemia, and many other diseases.
One of his greatest stories was how he could instantly stop a heart attack if he could get the patient to drink a glass of warm cayenne water.
If a pinch or two of spice can counteract the toll that holiday partying takes on our bodies, adding in some extra sleep (8 to 9 hours), meditation and massage will help us to relieve and reduce the buildup of stress hormones, indicated by the level of C-reactive protein in our blood. Another relaxing detoxifier to soothe mind, body and soul is a hot bath with Epsom Salts, Baking Soda and a few drops of Lavender. Using a little candlelight and your favorite music makes this an exquisite way to restore balance.
As women, we tend to put ourselves last on the list—especially during the holidays. So my last suggestion is to think about what you would really enjoy doing this month and then schedule it. You need to honor that desire as a sacred promise to yourself. It will boost your spirits and remind you that you really are worth it.
1 cup raisins
2 cups water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons kuzu
1. In a saucepan, cook raisins in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes.
2. Add cinnamon.
3. When finished cooking, blend in blender and return to saucepan.
4. Dissolve kuzu in 1 ½ cups water.
5. Combine kuzu with the blended raisins.
6. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
7. Dash with additional cinnamon and serve.
Used with permission from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
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