Healing Foods: 9 Foods That Helped Improve My Health
Food is a subject very close to my heart. As a young girl, I loved being in the kitchen, baking, cooking and creating new recipes.
But, in my teenage years, as I started to gain weight, I started to see food as my enemy. I struggled every year to lose my extra weight. With each failed diet, I pretty much resigned myself to being overweight for the rest of my life. Just days before my 20th birthday, my body collapsed and I became extremely sick. Upon my doctor's recommendation, I was faced with the prospect of taking experimental medication for life. But, my intuition said no. There was another way.
I turned my attention to the alternative to taking pharmaceutical drugs. During this time, I learned how to use food to manage my chronic disease. I was able to rebalance my thyroid and hormonal imbalances and support my body's natural cleansing processes. Another unexpected side-benefit of going on my healing journey was that I also lost over 60 pounds.
During this time, I used specific foods to help support my health from within. I felt blessed to also rekindle my love-affair with food. I was delighted to discover that food can taste great, as well as heal. An Ayurvedic quote says, “If diet is wrong, medicine is no use and when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” Here are nine types of foods that I focused on adding more of in my kitchen. They radically transformed my body and allow me to experience vibrant health:
1. Fresh, green vegetables.
I refocused my diet around plant foods, especially fresh green vegetables, which are high in micronutrients. Specifically, I choose bitter greens, such as mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, arugula, spinach and kale. (And opt for organic wherever possible.) I ,ake healing broths and soups that are easy to digest, steam them served with a dash of sea salt and fresh lemon juice, or eat bitter greens in fresh in summer salads. Sometimes, I'll make a healing tonic by juicing half a cucumber with some pineapple, pears or apples and half lemon—yum!
2. Organic protein.
As I began to heal and build strength, I knew I needed to turn my attention to stabilizing blood sugars, and in turn energy levels. Protein-rich foods can help!
Organic meat, organic chicken, wild salmon, fresh local fish, organic greek yogurt, and organic eggs became staples. For vegetarian options, quinoa, peas, beans, lentils, almonds, almond butter, seaweed, micro-algae, low-processed organic soy and chia seeds are all good sources of vegan protein.
3. Extra-virgin cold-pressed, organic oils.
Oils can be used to make a wide array of healthy salad dressings, drizzled over steamed vegetables or used for dipping. You can use organic, extra-virgin coconut oil for making sweet treats. Unlike other oils, when placed in the fridge or freezer, coconut oil will go hard and set.
There are such a wide variety of delicious seeds available—like sesame, sunflower, chia, pumpkin seeds. Each kind of seed has its own distinct flavor and can be used to add variety to your cooking. When healing, it's best to grind them up to make them easier on digestion. I grind linseed, sunflower and almond seeds to make LSA, which I use on everything! Sprinkle them on salads or add to breakfast smoothies and cereal.
Sweets are an important part of the 4 tastes of the palate: sweet, salty, savory and bitter—but I always look for unrefined sugar. Organic honey in it’s natural form is delicious as a natural sweetener. Other vegan alternatives are coconut sugar or maple syrup. I also always opt for organic brands to minimize the processing.
These little gems made this list because fresh lemons are so versatile. I like to start my day by drinking a lemon water drink by squeezing a quarter of a lemon into a big glass of filtered water. Try lemons cut into wedges and squeezed over salads and soups for extra flavor and yummy zing!
7. Sea salt
Real sea salt is unrefined salt which has been taken directly from the sea and dehydrated by the sun, forming a beautiful crystalline structure. If you haven’t made the switch from using highly refined, regular, white table salt to natural sea salt yet, I urge you to do so today. You can substitute sea salt for table salt in both your savory and sweet cooking. Your health, your body and your taste buds truly will thank you for it!
Using either fresh or dried herbs can transform your cooking as they add new taste sensations to your food. They can take your cooking from every day food to something quite gourmet. Buy your herbs straight from a greengrocers or local food market. For the adventurous, try growing your own! Some of my favorites are fresh parsley, coriander, basil, and dill.
9. Apple cider vinegar
If you want to quickly improve your digestive health, then try apple cider vinegar. I highly recommend the brand Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider vinegar, which is affordable and delicious. I use it daily in combination with (or as a substitute for) lemon juice in a glass or water, or use it to make a tasty salad dressing by blending it with some olive oil, herbs, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Give yourself the gift of vibrant health today by stocking up on these healthy-kitchen must haves. When your kitchen is stocked with foods that are healthy, you will be more inclined to create healthy snacks and meals for yourself. A healthy kitchen = a healthy you!