Health Tip of the Month - Herbs

Bodhi Tree - Friday, August 01, 2014

by: Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini

www.loveandlightnutrition.com

It’s summer time and fresh herbs are abundant so head out to one of the many farmers’ markets and select some fresh organic herbs which are packed with nutrition and healing properties. Next spring consider starting an herb garden in your yard or in pots on your deck or balcony.

Parsley, the world’s most popular herb, is a digestive aid. When Peter Rabbit had overeaten Mr. McGregor’s vegetables and “was feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley”. Parsley supports the bladder, kidneys and stomach, helping regulate water imbalances and eliminate toxins. It is an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant packed with vitamin A and C. A sprig of it also freshens the breath. Use it as garnish, add to salads, dressings, soups, sauces, crackers and as a vibrant ingredient in steamed vegetable dishes.

Cilantro, one of my favorites for it’s detoxing property, is either adored or repulsed by people. Cilantro supports the spleen, stomach, bladder, and lung meridians. It helps regulate energy and treats urinary tract infections. It helps with nausea, inflammation, headaches and mental stress. Cilantro is used like parsley as a garnish and flavoring herb. Use it sparingly with delicate ingredients or it’s flavor will overpower. Or use it in large quantities in strongly flavored sauces, salsas and guacamole.

Dill, is an aromatic herb with delicate lacy leaves that helps calm the spirit, aids digestion and insomnia due to indigestion and relieves hiccups and intestinal gas. It provides free radical and anti-bacterial protection, is high in calcium, has a calming effect and helps manage headaches. Add this herb to fresh salads, sauces, breads, fish and pickles. Check out my web site for a delicious, easy to make cucumber, dill salad.

Basil, is tender and pungent with distinct flavors and aromas. It supports the kidney, liver, stomach, spleen and large intestine. Basil sharpens the memory, combats colds, flu and herpes, eliminates infections, is antibacterial, removes phlegm, relieves mucus, and acts as an anti-stress agent. Basil is especially savored as a pesto ingredient and goes great with tomatoes, fish, bean and egg dishes.

Oregano, has a punchy, almost peppery and slightly bitter flavor and is a powerful herb with unique healing properties. It has antioxidants for immune support, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, support for upper respiratory infections and cancer fighting effects. Oregano is great in Greek and Italian dishes, especially tomato based ones like pizza or pasta dishes. I enjoy adding lots of fresh or dried to a Greek salad, steamed vegetables or eggs. One of the best uses of oregano in cooking is adding it to your meat prior to cooking which may help to reduce the toxic components created during the cooking process. Oregano oil is a wonderful addition to your natural medicine chest.

Thyme, is a balmy, aromatic herb with slender woody stems and gray-green leaves. It helps relieve lung congestion, candida, flatulence and indigestion. It is an all purpose savory herb great for flavoring soups, stews, crackers, stuffings and sauces.

For most nutrient value and best flavor, use herbs fresh and if using in cooking add towards the end - as late as possible. So add in fresh herbs to Upgrade your salad, sauces, soups and other culinary delights!


Health Tip of the Month - Hemp Hearts

Bodhi Tree - Wednesday, July 02, 2014

by Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini 

loveandlightnutrition.com


We add in more good things so we can drop off the foods that do not serve us. This month let’s add in one of my favorite foods - hemp.

The hempseed is a complete protein containing 36%- 45% protein, which means that per serving, hemp has more protein than meat. It’s amino acid content helps with muscle and bone growth, proper enzyme formation, detoxification and improving the immune system.

It also contains a proper balance of the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that our body cannot produce. EFA’s are necessary for mental and visual functions as well as heart health. Hempseed’s EFA and protein profile provides a healthy alternative to fish which is becoming increasingly risky to eat due to radiation fallout and mercury and PCB contamination.

Hemp contains at least 20 major and trace minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. These minerals are necessary for all body functions. “Hemp also contains vitamin E which is essential for cardiovascular and brain health.

You can add raw organic hemp to your diet in many ways. Hemp seeds have a mild nutty flavor and pleasantly soft texture so can be eaten as a snack, sprinkled on salads, added into sauces or blended into a smoothie or salad dressing. They can be added to chocolates, cookies and crackers. Hemp powder is high in protein so add it to your morning smoothie. Hemp butter can be added to your toast, crackers, smoothie, sauces and salad dressing. I like to eat it out of the jar with a spoon! You can raw find raw organic hemp butter at Planet Organic. Hemp oil can be used as a supplement or in place of any oil in your recipes. I like to substitute 1/2 olive oil & 1/2 hemp oil. Hemp oil can also be used as a sun block or moisturizer. Find hemp oil in the retailer’s fridge. I get mine from Community Nature Foods. It is best to buy any liquid oil in a dark, glass bottle to prevent the oil from turning rancid. I love making my own hemp milk Hemp Goji Vanilla Milk and use it in place of dairy.


For optimum nutritional value, ensure the hemp or hemp product is raw and organic with no toxic additives.


Start adding this superfood into your diet today!


Health Tip of the Month - Hydration

Bodhi Tree - Sunday, June 01, 2014

by Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini 

loveandlightnutrition.com


All systems in the body rely on water as it is needed for metabolism, brain function, elimination and absorption of nutrients. Water is the most important nutrient as the human body is 60 to 80% water.


To fuel these body systems and processes, we need to drink at least 8 cups of water per day. If you are a male, pregnant or breast feeding, exercise, sweat, are sick or take meds that dehydrate, you need to drink more than recommended. Dehydration is linked to a long list of chronic health problems - diabetes, arthritis, colitis, depression and kidney stones - to name a few. Some signs of dehydration include headaches, fatigue, dark yellow urine, heart rate increase, lightheadedness, muscle cramps and constipation.


As we move into summer and the temperature outside increases, make sure you are drinking enough water for proper hydration. You will know if you are drinking enough if your urine is a light yellow color or clear. Throughout the day you should pass about 6 cups of urine. As a guideline, aim to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol are diuretics which dehydrate you and prevent nourishing your body. Limit coffee, soft drinks, alcohol and fruit juices high in sugar. Add in extra water if you choose to have these products. To spruce up your water add fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs such as cucumber and mint or raspberries and a cinnamon stick. Here’s the recipe for a refreshing Antioxidant Cooler


Drinking organic coconut water is a great way to hydrate by re-vitalizing your cells and boosting your metabolism. It is the purest liquid, second only to water, and is a very important source of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and natural sugar. Coconut water, being almost identical to blood plasma, replaces the fluids and minerals that the body loses during physical activities. The best form of coconut water is from a fresh young Thai coconut. I often enjoy the fresh water from Thai coconuts obtained from Superstore or the T&T market.


Fruits and vegetables are a great source for hydration as well as numerous nutritional benefits. Include fruits like watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit and cantaloupe. Add in vegetables that hydrate such as cucumber, celery, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower and broccoli. Electrolytes from seaweed are another form of hydration. Add some kelp power to your water or munch on some dried kelp.


Pure water is the clear choice to keep you hydrated without adding empty calories to your diet. As some sources indicate there are over 2000 toxins present in our drinking water, I highly recommend drinking only spring or filtered water. Water - don’t leave home without it!


Health Tip of the Month - Bee Pollen

Bodhi Tree - Thursday, May 01, 2014

by Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini 

loveandlightnutrition.com

Let’s get healthier by continuing to add in more of the good things so we can start dropping off the items that do not support nutrition.

This month let’s add in bee pollen - nature’s fountain of youth! Bee pollen is the male seed of a flower blossom which has been gathered by the bees. The bee pollen is the initial food for the larva and contains all the necessary supplements for life. This is why it is so often referred to as nature’s “perfect” food.

It’s considered a valuable weight-loss food! It rejuvenates the body, stimulates organs and glands, enhances vitality, and may counteract the effects of radiation and chemical pollutants. It provides anti- oxidants and has been proven to be quite useful for activity enhancement and sports nutrition. Bee pollen can improve fertility and reduce cholesterol levels. It also contains enzymes to aid in digestion and absorb nutrients, and it is good for the intestinal flora thereby supporting the immune system.

Bee pollen contains twice the amount of protein as beef (some sources say up to five or seven times), twice as much iron as any other food, and substantial amounts of highly- absorbable vitamins and minerals. In total, bee pollen contains approximately 96 essential elements for the body.

Start by adding 1/2 teaspoon per day and gradually increase to 2 teaspoons. It can be taken orally or with a drink of water or juice, mixed into smoothies, or sprinkled on cereal or salad. Do not heat your bee pollen, as nutritional value is lost. And for best results find a local source. I get mine at “The Beehive” in Kensington.


Health Tip of the Month - Tumeric

Bodhi Tree - Saturday, March 01, 2014

by Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and Yogini 

loveandlightnutrition.com


Let’s get healthier by continuing to add in more of the good things so we start dropping off items that do not support nutrition. This month let’s add in turmeric - the miracle root! 


It may be the most researched herb with over 600 potential health benefits so this makes it one of nature’s most powerful healers. Curcumin, the natural pigment is the active ingredient in turmeric that gives it a yellow color.


Turmeric is known to support healthy bones, joints and overall skeletal system, maintain a healthy digestive system, lower bad cholesterol, purify the blood, promote radiant skin, aid in fat metabolism and weight management, and promote the immune system, healthy blood and liver function. 


As well, this powerhouse is a natural antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti- carcinogenic. WOW!


To get the most benefit from turmeric use 100% certified organic and avoid cooking it. Turmeric can be purchased as a powder or a whole root which needs to be peeled and grated. Add turmeric to smoothies, nut milks, juices, salad dressings, tea, egg salad, guacamole, sprinkle on sauces and my favorite - add to organic air popped corn.


Health Tip of the Month - Gum

Bodhi Tree - Saturday, March 01, 2014

By Corrine Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and Yogini

loveandlightnutrition.com


Let’s get healthier by dropping off an item that does not support nutrition - GUM.

Commercial gum products are some of the most toxic substances on the market that you can expose your body too - leading to some of the worst diseases known. 85% of major brands still contain aspartame and sucralose - 2 known poisons to the body - as well as numerous other detrimental chemicals.

Whenever you chew, the brain sends signals to the stomach, pancreas and other organs involved in digestion to prepare for food. Enzymes are released which are needed to digest food and absorb nutrients. Chewing gum starts this process prematurely and can lead to digestion and disease problems.

Nothing in chewing gum is natural. Do you know you are chewing on tire rubber, plastic, carpenter glue and petroleum? As you chew, these substances leach into the body causing damage to your cells. 

For fresh breath, a great alternative to gum is to carry around a bottle of organic food grade peppermint oil and take a drop to freshen up.  


Health Tip of the Month - Goji Berries

Bodhi Tree - Saturday, February 01, 2014

By Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist 

loveandlightnutrition.com

Let’s get healthier by continuing to add in more of the good things so we start dropping off items that do not support nutrition.

This month let’s add in Goji Berries - an amazing antioxidant food packed with essential amino acids thus a complete protein. These superfood berries contain essential fatty acids, many trace minerals and vitamins A, C, E and B-complex.

Goji berries support, improve and revitalize many functions of the body, including the following areas - cardiovascular, pancreas, liver, kidneys, immune, eyes, circulatory, muscles, mood, libido and skin. Goji also helps with cholesterol, inflammation and blood sugar regulation.

Goji berries are a very versatile food and can be used in a variety of ways including cereals, trail mixes, salads, smoothies, nut milks, teas and baking. They can be eaten on their own as a powerful snack with their mild, tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour. For best nutritional value use raw organic berries. I suggest taking these on a consistent  basis to keep the body well mineralized and detoxified while supporting key organs associated with optimal health.



Health Tip of the Month - Chia Seeds

Bodhi Tree - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

by Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini

loveandlightnutrition.com

Let’s get healthier by adding in more of the good things so we start dropping off items that do not support nutrition.

This month let’s add in Chia Seeds - an amazing food packed with omega 3‘s, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and protein. These little seeds are packed with fiber and anti-oxidants so they help reduce inflammation in the body which can lead to all kinds of health problems. 

The seeds can be added to any food or drink. The soluble fiber in the gel forms a wall between carbohydrates and the body, releasing them slowly into the body. This gives a feeling of fullness so they help to control appetites thus can aid in weight loss. They have been shown to enhance energy and stamina, strengthen the immune system, normalize blood sugar levels, aid insomnia and improve mental focus. The fiber helps cleanse the colon reducing constipation and rids the body of toxins.

Add these powerhouse seeds to your morning smoothie, sauces, chocolates, soups, salads, crackers and cookies. For best nutritional value use raw organic seeds.


Life Knowledge - Ayurveda

Bodhi Tree - Friday, December 21, 2012

Many of us in the yogic world are familiar with the term Ayurveda, while many others respond with a blank stare. Although becoming more common place, Ayurveda is still very much an elusive concept and healing art to the Western world. Ayurveda can be defined as a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual’s body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.

Ayurveda is the ancient healing medicinal system used in India, and dates back as early as 300A.D. It’s goal is to aid in the treatment and prevention of dis-ease by bringing the body back into its own natural state of homeostatic equilibrium.


Ayurveda teaches that we are a microcosm. A tiny universe exists within the self that not only mimics the world at large, but also interfaces with the external world around us. This healing system combines lifestyle with nutrition to create a holistic model of health by examining how the many different qualities of relationship play out as internal forces within the body or external forces from the environment. 


Practice listening to the body and how it interacts while implementing these few Ayurvedic rituals into your daily lifestyle regime:


1. Upon rising, start your day with a warm glass of purified water with fresh lemon. This will help activate digestive fire, also known as agni, and get peristalsis moving in the digestive tract. The lemon is rich in natural vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that will help cleanse the liver and pull toxins, or ama, out of the gastrointestinal tract.


2. Invest in a tongue scraper (or a metal spoon). Have you ever looked at your tongue in the morning? Most often there will be a white, even yellowish coating that resides along the middle towards the back of the tongue. This is built up ama or toxins that have accumulated in the gastrointestinal tract overnight. By scraping the tongue back to front 7-14 times, this will help dislodge unwanted ama while stimulating the taste buds to prepare for your morning meal.


3. Embrace the cold! There is no better way to enliven the system up than by splashing the face with cold water roughly 7 times in the morning. In addition, you can also bathe the eyes with cold water while blinking the eyes open and closed, moving them from side to side and up and down. The body becomes incredibly dehydrated overnight and bathing the eyes and face with cold water helps rehydrate the skin while the cold stimulates the optic nerve in the eye and sensory nerves in the face.


By Caryn Kilback - Ayurvedic Marmatherapist

Gratitude

Bodhi Tree - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A split second is all it takes to change one’s life forever. While racing in the World Championships a few years ago, I collided with another athlete. As wheels clicked and bodies crashed, I was helplessly airborne before slamming headfirst into pavement. The impact fractured my skull.

At the time, I didn’t realize the implications this event would have on my life, nor the challenges that would follow. In hindsight this accident, quite literally, knocked some sense into me. Until that day, I’d never stopped to consider the wonder of moving my body, the blessing of each breath, or even appreciated being alive.  Since then however, my ability to move is something I’ll never forget, nor cease to give thanks for.

Life with an acquired brain injury is both a blessing and a curse. Readily concussed, I routinely struggle with simple tasks. I’m a master of compensation. I look at my hands to tell left from right, and carry a journal like a pensive. With my brain on paper, I scribble names and numbers, dates and times. Frustratingly, when I become overtired or stressed, my brain stops working. This never ceases to upset me. So too does it teach me patience. Each time this occurs my only option is to rest until the fog lifts and I can think again. Enforced naps at age 29 are no more fun than they were at age 3...but at least now I can say “I am grateful.”

By definition, gratitude is a noun. It is a state of thankfulness. There is much in my life that I honour. But in the years since that fateful injury, it has come to mean far more than what I just take for granted.  Through the vicissitudes of trauma and recovery, I have discovered that gratitude is also a verb, a way in which to live - and through the practice of yoga, a celebration of the light that shines within.

So I am grateful. Even when my brain doesn’t work my body still can.  On these days especially, I feel blessed to stand on my mat and breathe words of thanks.  I am indebted for nothing in particular, and everything in general.  To appreciate one’s ability to move does not require perfection. Gratitude in its finest form is to realize that nothing is insignificant. I am thankful that my body still works despite all its cracks and that I can still think and marvel at the wonders of this world.

This past week in class, I gazed around the room. As always, I was stunned by the diversity of students at the Tree. It struck me how, despite all our differences, regardless of each person’s past or present, we are unified through our bodies. With yoga’s joyful mind/body connection, in every breath and gesture, we are fortunate to be able to move, breathe and live.

As you turn to the person beside you and whisper “Namaste”, smile and appreciate their abilities.  They may not be perfect, but the cracks that make them unique also let their light shine through. In this journey surrounding my brain, I’ve finally found the elusive answer to the question that flits through the scattered neurons.  What does my body have to do with gratitude?  Everything. Blessed be the cracked who shine in the light.

Namaste