These two books teach such simple ways of enriching the healing quality of our foods, it’s a shame we aren’t all raised with this knowledge. But it’s available through these cookbooks!
Several years ago I bought a cookbook that changed forever the way I cook. Secrets from a Healthy Asian Kitchen by Ying Chang Compestine is not only a great cookbook, but suggests methods of cooking integrating health giving ingredients into a variety of dishes.
For example, those of us who are garlic lovers use garlic whenever we can for its taste, knowing we’re also reaping the benefits of its side effects of immune support, and support in preventing heart disease and cancer. She takes us further, advocating not only the regular use of garlic, but also ginseng, ginger & other healing foods.
One of the ingredients she advocates using frequently is green tea. You’ve no doubt heard that green tea has antioxidant cancer fighting properties; it’s also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Compestine uses green tea as a base in recipes where we would normally use water. It was a novel idea to me! As I got into the habit of using green tea, I expanded into other herbal teas depending on what I had available or what I felt I needed. In the spring, a rejuvenating tonic of dandelion tea can turn into a soup or spaghetti sauce base.
Taking the concept a step further, why not use the water left after steaming vegetables? Steamed broccoli gives a broth base to cook rice or pasta in. Now I almost always use a health giving tea or a vegetable broth as a base for my dishes. It’s a healthy addition to any recipe that doesn’t alter the taste.
Her recipes are light and delightful. This is where I learned to make a basic Thai sauce and candied walnuts for garnish. She includes a section on stir frying that includes an explanation of the order of foods to add in order to have them all cook together evenly.
Another book that has influenced my recipes is Sandra Cabot, MD’s Raw Juices Can Save Your Life!: An A-Z Guide to Juicing She provides the basic process for making health giving vegetable and fruit juices in your blender or juicer. She gives specific combinations that are the most effective for over 50 conditions including concerns such as candida, asthma, fluid retention and skin problems.She even covers different types of juicers. I have a good blender, not a juicer, so I have the choice of straining my results for a juice, or drinking it with the pulp. More often than not I strain it and use the pulp as a base for soup or a sauce. Juicing aficionados prefer a juicer that removes the pulp.
It’s a wonderful reference book too. I love that I can look in her book to see the beneficial nutrients and effects of different fruits or vegetables. If I’m feeling worn down, I know I need to pull out the wheat grass or if I have a cold coming on the garlic, ginger and lemons are on my list.
Try adding some of these simple tricks to your meal preparation, it's such a simple way to increase the value of the meal!
Going back a couple of years I reviewed a book called Secrets from a Healthy Asian Kitchen.
This book advocated making foods healthier by substituting ingredients such as green tea for water when cooking. I loved the simplicity of the idea.
In recent months I've started adding another health enhancing trick to my repertoire. I am adding healing spices to many of the foods I eat. My mainstay is turmeric which helps fight against the development of tumors; when coupled with pepper turmeric is said to be especially potent.When I add these two spices to things like my homemade salad dressing on a regular basis I know I'm adding a little more health insurance to my food.
Here are some other spices that are being shown to help your body:
Rosemary - The carnosic acid found in rosemary has been shown to reduce stroke risk in mice by 40 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry. It can also protect against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and the general effects of aging.
Cinnamon, turmeric, basil, oregano, thyme, and sage can all protect your brain from inflammation, according to neurologist Eric Braverman, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Braverman recommends 3 to 7 teaspoons of any combination of these spices each day. I always include basil when I'm having tomatoes, such as in a salad or a sandwich.
Cinnamon also helps the body process sugar. It's natural compounds improve insulin function lowering blood sugar with as little as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day. It has also been found to help cut triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
Oregano and cinnamon both have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Oregano oil is available in a tincture as well and is often used as a bacterial fighter.
Cilantro enhances the bodies ability to detoxify heavy metals. Since I have a history of high levels of lead and mercury in my system I regularly eat cilantro, it's also available in a tincture. After first taking chlorella to protect the stomach from the metals that it may pull from your body cilantro is good to take before getting a massage, using a sauna or participating in other activities that make you sweat or get your lymph working. It will enhance the detoxifying effects of these activities. It is also a digestive aid and is used as a tea to calm diarrhea.
Speaking of detoxing, last spring I did the 21 day Clean protocol recommended by Dr. Alejandro Junger. According to Dr. Junger the body needs 12 hours after it's last meal of the day to fully detox for the next day. He recommends a 12 hour window overnight before you eat the next day. I thought that sounded pretty interesting and matched my tendency to get hungry about 12 hours after my last evenings meal. I've found I feel much better on days when I follow that guideline. I recommend the Clean experience, particularly if you suspect you have food allergies. The Clean "diet" is a great way to identify foods you're sensitive too and it has a great Clean support site on the web. The site includes a lit of healthy recipes too!
The book is available here Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself
There are plenty of books on healing spices available if I've piqued your interest. I love simple tricks to increase my chances of living a long healthy life, and this is certainly one of them!