Safe and healthy spring cleansing

Image

Forest floor foraging

Spring is the best time of the year to clean our bodies from the inside; so many plants that grow during this time of year are ideal for this purpose. Whether plants are used, there are many ways to accomplish this effectively through different types of cleanses. Methods include juicing, fasting, flushing and lifestyle changes in concert with possible products using herbs and or supplements. These methods are marketed to apply to a specific system to achieve a specific result. Our body’s systems work together so addressing one system may generate other (additional) outcomes.

Image

Fleshy fruits are satisfying when cleansing

Foods alone are powerful sources used for detoxification. Fresh produce contains both macro and micronutrients that interact with our own biochemistry, creating a chemical reaction. These biochemical reactions can momentarily disrupt the body’s ability to balance while naturally striving for homeostasis. This one reason is why people often report experiencing flu-like symptoms and other discomforts, albeit temporarily. Combinations of these phytonutrients can equally upset the balance negatively when a physical condition exists; diagnosed or not. For example, a sugar spike could prove detrimental if blood glucose levels are compromised.

Image

Tender asparagus spears contains highest percentages of selenium and vitamin K.

Image

Squeezed organic grapefruit juice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amount of time committed depends on the method. Generally a flush is quicker than a cleanse. Regardless, the length of time spent on the process should be determined to meet your individual need. Repeating a course of treatment may be necessary. Adjusting the recommended protocol by altering specifics or incorporating additional methods may also be warranted. Supplementing foods with plants helps increase nutritional benefits from an already depleted diet. Edible flowers, weeds and herbs add flavor, color, nutritive and medicinal value.

Image

Sweet violet flowers, roots and stems have multiple use.

Foraging has become a popular practice. Taking care to not deplete an area by leaving regenerating plant parts and knowing which plants are protected are important when wild crafting. Open areas may be tainted by environmental contaminants. Learn the potential hazards beforehand to spare potential legal and health consequences. Educational resources such as botanical gardens, local garden clubs or park systems are helpful when identifying indigenous plants in your region.

Image

Fern fiddle heads are rife with minerals

Image

Garlic scapes are best clipped in spring

Before considering any type of health regimen, understand the goal you hope to achieve, familiarize yourself with the language and consult a qualified health care Professional with formal/practical knowledge, taking your personal health history into consideration. Pop culture wants us to believe that a quick-fix or single approach made available for the public is designed for you. It is not. Your cleansing or flushing program should be specific to your needs.

3 healthy green ways to celebrate springtime this March

Image

Shamrock

Good, green things come in threes.  Following an unusually cold and frosty winter, we look forward to springtime and all it brings.  The spring solstice occurs on the third week of the third month of our calendar year.  In addition to spring, this year we recognize celebrations including St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras.  Plants symbolic of these holy days appear in nature and are represented in groupings of threes such as the three-leafed clover, and what is known as the “holy trinity” in Cajun cooking.

Image

“Holy Trinity” of Cooking

Celery, onion, and green pepper are traditional spring vegetables available in the Southern climate where Mardi Gras is observed.  White salt, black pepper and cayenne are the three customary spices enhancing traditional dishes. These indigenous foods provide continuous fortification of our bodies during the last vestiges of winter while simultaneously cleansing our systems in preparation for summer.

Image

Trefoil of Healing Greens

The green goodness offered by the clover trefoil is a nutritionally rich and abundant resource for cows and pasture animals.  The high water content cellulose construct of onion celery and bell peppers are necessary for flushing and rehydration.  This action contributes to reduced atherosclerotic inflammation, beneficial for continued cardiovascular health.  Chlorophyll from fresh greens chelate heavy metals and toxins from vessels, helping restore flexibility and healthy blood flow.  Channel your spring with three green things and nourish your mind, body and spirit.

 

 

Giving thanks for Mom’s applesauce

Variety of locally grown apples

Variety of locally grown apples

There’s nothing better than a recipe handed-down through generations that stands the “test of time”.  We grew and harvested apples at my nearby childhood home.  My parents accepted donations for the hand-picked, polished and proudly prepared produce they carefully cultivated nearly half the year.  They were acknowledged for their earnings as pioneer supporters of ‘Heifer Project International’, helping others to feed themselves via sustainable farming.

Old-fashioned apple corer and peeler.

Old-fashioned apple corer and peeler.

In the tradition that was uniquely my Mother’s, I share this classic process with you, slightly expedited but with all the goodness of simple down-home cooking.

Cored and peeled apples

Cored and peeled apples

Pour 1 C. filtered water into a Crock Pot on low setting for all day or slow, overnight cooking, or on high for a couple of hours.  Peel and core 12-15 quercetin rich apples of different varieties.  I chose a combination of local McIntosh, Jonathan, Cortland and Granny Smith, the same we grew on the homestead.  This blend of firm textures, crisp flavors and a balance of sweet and tart complement the slow-cooked concoction, satisfying diabetic requirements.

BAApplePeel

Additional anti-inflammatory ingredients include about ½ tsp. each:  Penzey’s “Cake Spice”

with star anise, high-grade cinnamon for depth, dried orange peel for brightness and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg.  Top it off with about a Tbsp. of raw organic sugar cane or agave syrup to sweeten.  I ceremoniously add ½ C. of cinnamon red hot candies to the first batch of the season, in memory of my Mother.

Anti-inflammatory spices and basic ingredients

Anti-inflammatory spices and basic ingredients

Place all ingredients in order listed into slow-cooker.

Place all ingredients in order listed into slow-cooker.

Use your best judgment should you opt to use sweeteners and organic and/or locally grown produce.  In the 1980’s, I was reprimanded by the self-proclaimed “food police” for providing preschoolers unhealthy snacks containing sugar and poisonous apple skins.  The very suburb criticized in today’s newspaper as a top city to avoid by French tourism (the capital of haute and nouvelle cuisine). Currently, they are well known for their innovative restaurants but it is often the misinformation that can be most dangerous. Today we have more information about what constitutes “healthy” food v. foods to avoid, and why.  HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) was not as prevalent an ingredient over a quarter a century ago.  GMOs were virtually unheard of while little differentiation was made between “organic”, “natural” and “locally grown” produce, and not as widely available.

Soft and warm applesauce cooked to your liking.

Soft and warm applesauce cooked to your liking.

Give a care – When you become the parent of a parent

Image

‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Seuss

I have been a caregiver advocating for the elderly community for 40 years.  This is from where we learn most, and learn best.  This practical education has enriched my awareness providing insight applicable both as a caregiver and a patient.

While undergoing medical tests, I spent weeks on the geriatric floor of the hospital which characterized the population with GI disorders.  I was barely 18.  I felt comfortable surrounded by those older and wiser, with whom I had become familiar and relied on to nurture me in my time of need.  I was relocated to the “Juvenile” wing, (as in juvenile delinquents).  It was assumed I would be more comfortable among those my own age.  My entire treatment was dedicated to maintaining calm, resting my gut and curbing physical and mental activity.  First, teens don’t sleep.  Secondly, teens are invincible, especially in the face of death.  Youth with stage 4 cancer, extreme eating disorders, grand mal seizures and severe Crohn’s disease.  These “kids” had literally lived in hospitals and had multiple surgeries under their belts. The rock music and medical marijuana filled the air day and night.  Having just been plucked from 6 short weeks of my first semester at college, THIS was dorm living!  Ironically, I needed the rest, I longed for peace and quiet.  I wanted everything to stop.

Sensory overload is what we all are subjected to from birth to death.  Used as torture, it is especially cruel while our bodies are expending all its energy to heal.  Our focus is distracted and the symptoms become amplified.  Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are not exclusively for the elderly.  No one of any age is immune to the insidiousness mental confusion and cognitive dissonance creates in the mind.  There is no mechanism to process nor comprehend external stimuli, which is often perceived as a threat.  Caregivers need to help themselves before they can even begin to consider helping others.  Learning empathy is essential.  The Alzheimer’s Association developed an on-line course designed for all caregivers called EssentiALZ.  An affordable, invaluable tool for everyone, supporting organizations endorse EssentiALZ to help us better communicate needs to have an effective, continued relationship with those we may be dependent upon, or those who may depend on us.

Advance Planning Can Help You and Your Family

Elders wishes were more likely to be known and respected when nurses of other health workers guided them through the planning process.” Paul S. Mueller, MD, MPH, FACP Journal Watch’, April 13th, 2010