What a lovely weekend we had here in the Northeastern part of the United States. I headed out of the city for a relaxing weekend in the country. I start traveling again this week. Yesterday I hiked, and pretty much all day long today I have been sitting on this porch, reading and now writing this blog. What a nice way to celebrate the birth of SPRING!! Happy Spring!
We may all energetically feel the urge to spruce things up in this new season, either around the house or with our wardrobe. It also applies to our kitchen and our foods, and it may be fun right now to explore some foods you may not be as familiar with. Here are 5 I love:
1. Bitter Melon: It is a little funny since bitter melons are a beauty food, since I will lovingly say that they are indeed quite ugly themselves! The look like deformed, gnarled old cucumbers. Besides their outer appearance however, they are a wonderful tropical fruit that has several compounds, including charantin and plypeptide-P, which makes it a powerful food for blood sugar control and helping us process sugars well. Too much sugar in our system can lead to inflammation, which can lead to cross-linking and then wrinkles! Bitter melons help reduce these aging processes in our body, and also suppresses our urge to eat sweets. We can juice it or work it into our salads, if you don’t mind bitter things. An Indian doctor I know sautes it with spices and gives it to his diabetic patients.
2. Dandelion: Yes, the weed! Instead of being looked on as a pesky nuisance, dandelion is quite useful for us to ingest. It is best known for its important benefits for restoring and supporting liver tissue, thereby helping us detoxify. You can find dandelion leaves at health stores, as it is coming into season now, and work it into your Green Smoothies. Be careful though, as the taste is quite strong. A few leaves at a time are good. There are also good herbal teas which have Dandelion, such as the Yogi Detox and Peach Detox tea, which I really like!
3. Kelp: Gotta love the sea vegetables! Kelp is my new favorite. It has over 60 minerals and trace elements, and 21 amino acids. It helps promote the health of our glands, including the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid. Because it contains iodine and helps stimulate the thyroid gland, and thereby our metabolism, it has been noted by some that it helps with weight loss. It helps neutralize heavy-metal pollution and radiation in the body. It is also amazing to make our skin and hair healthy. Soak and add to salads!
4. Nopal cactus: Aka prickly pear cactus. This is traditional food throughout Latin America. This happens to be one of the highest food sources of calcium. It also helps us process sugars efficiently. If you can find it, slice up and eat raw in salads!
5. Curcumin (Turmeric): We’ve talked about this wonderful herb before, but it bears mentioning again. It has amazing antioxidant properties and helps prevent oxidation- which we can think of as the internal rusting on the insides of our body. Not beautiful! Oxidation occurs with free radical damage, which curcumin helps prevent. It also helps clean up metabolic waste and protects and restores the liver! I throw a bit into recipes and salad dressings. It will turn your dish bright yellow! One dish that comes to mind is my tabouli salad recipe, delicious!
Have an amazing, beautiful, start to the week and SPRING. If you slipped up a bit on some of your New Year’s resolutions or some of your health or life goals, NOW is a great week to restore those promises to yourself. No time like the present to take advantage – while forgetting anything we’ve done, or not done, in the past.
Lots of love!