Returning back to my native MN from a life in the tropics, I brought with me a few treasured souvenirs: a fading tan, a jar of sunshine (which may have a leak), and a newfound appreciation for the wonders of turmeric root. Along with the sand, sea, and exotic plant life, the tropics offer some pretty heinous jungle-strength infectious organisms. It was as a result of one of those nasty buggers that I was first introduced to the healing, protective effects of turmeric root.
The Hawaiian Kahuna L'au Lapa'au (the native hawaiian herbalist) that I desperately sought for advice suggested taking a spoonful of crushed, raw turmeric root ('Olena in Hawaiian) mixed with honey each morning to help reduce inflammation and improve immune function. I was happily amazed with the results, and soon I learned how people have been been benefiting from the properties of turmeric root since ancient times, in cultures around the world.
In India, turmeric root is used by the traditional Ayurvedic practitioners to aid the digestive system, promoting proper metabolism proteins. Curcumin, one of the active ingredients in turmeric, has been shown to stimulate the gallbladder to induce the flow of bile, which breaks down fats. It protects and detoxifies the liver. It is used to strengthen the circulatory system, purify the blood, (228) prevent blood clot formation, lower cholesterol and prevent the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Traditional Chinese Medicine also uses it for its mood-lifting abilities.
With so many positive health benefits, it's no surprise that many folks in Minneapolis are starting to incorporate turmeric root into their diets. What's more fun than a daily spoonful of turmeric? How about trying a tasty Indian curry instead? Turmeric is one of the three staple spices used in traditional Indian curries, giving them the distinctive yellow color. For a fun infusion of turmeric in your day, try one of these mouth-watering recipe ideas.
Breakaway Cook Eric Gower gives a great interpretation of Jehanghir Mehta's Turmeric Chips featured on Iron Chef. To try the recipe yourself, thinly slice turmeric root and fry it up in walnut oil or olive oil and butter with sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle these on top of fish, salads, or soups, or nibble on the tasty morsels all by themselves. For more info by the Breakaway Cook Read More
Add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.
Dietary Recommendations to Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
The first step in preventing heart disease is to eat a healthy diet. Increase your consumption of whole foods rich in phytonutrients, plant molecules that give your body the nutrients it needs. Here are some practical tips:
1. To avoid the blood sugar imbalances that increase your risk for heart disease, eat protein with every meal, even at breakfast. This will help you to avoid sudden increases in your blood sugar.
2. Use lean animal protein like fish, turkey, chicken, lean cuts of lamb, and even vegetable protein such as nuts, beans, and tofu.
3. Combine protein, fat, and carbohydrates in every meal. Never eat carbohydrates alone.
4. For the same reasons, avoid white flour and sugar.
5. Eat high-fiber foods, ideally at least 50 grams per day. Beans, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit all contain beneficial fiber.
6. Avoid all processed junk food, including sodas, juices, and diet drinks, which impact sugar and lipid metabolism. Liquid sugar calories are the biggest contributors to obesity and diabetes and heart disease.
7. Increase omega-3 fatty acids by eating cold-water wild salmon, sardines, herring, flaxseeds, and even seaweed.
8. Reduce saturated fat and use more grass-fed or organic beef or animal products, which contain less saturated fat.
9. Eliminate all hydrogenated fat, which is found in margarine, shortening, and processed oils, as well as many baked goods and processed foods.
10. Instead use healthy oils, such as olive (especially extra virgin olive oil), cold pressed sesame, and other nut oils.
11. Avoid or reduce alcohol, which can increase triglycerides and fat in the liver and create blood sugar imbalances.
12. Don't allow yourself to get hungry. Graze -- don't gorge -- by eating every three to four hours to keep your insulin and blood sugar normal.
13. Try not to eat three hours before bed.
14. Have a good protein breakfast every day. You can start with a protein shake or may use eggs. Some suppliers offer omega-3 eggs, which are ideal.
15. Include flaxseeds by using two to four tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day in your food. This can lower cholesterol by 18 percent. Flax is tasty in shakes or sprinkled on salads or whole grain cereal.
16. Drink green tea, which can help lower cholesterol.
17. Use soy foods such as soymilk, edamame, soy nuts, tempeh, and tofu, which can help lower cholesterol by 10 percent.
18. Eat at least eight to ten servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, which contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory molecules. (vi)
Lifestyle and Exercise Changes for Heart Health
I encourage 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least six times a week. You may try interval training (also known as wind sprints) if you are feeling stronger. I also encourage strength training to build muscle and reduce body fat composition.
Exercise is a necessity, not a luxury, in preventing almost all chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer, from dementia to diabetes, from osteoporosis to osteoarthritis. You cannot age successfully without it. It is how we are designed.
Stop Stressing Out Your Heart
Stress alone can cause a heart attack. It is often the trigger that leads to the cascade of events that causes that final, fatal heart attack. But all along the way, it contributes to heart disease by creating inflammation, raising your cholesterol and blood sugar, causing high blood pressure and even making your blood more likely to clot.
Therefore, finding ways to manage stress, to relax, and to find the pause button is essential for dealing with nearly all chronic health conditions, including high cholesterol.
Learn to reduce stress by doing regular relaxation exercises such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, breathing, guided imagery, or whatever it takes to engage the relaxation nervous system, which can lower cholesterol, reduce your overall level of inflammation, balance your blood sugar, increase metabolism, and help with your overall health.
Try classes, buy tapes, try therapy, or just go out and have fun. But you must do something to switch daily out of the alarm response to maintain your health.
Read More: Huffington Post
As the holiday season revs into full swing it presents us with the opportunity to further our consideration for Everspring Living. When it comes to our personal health and living a fulfilling life we cannot overlook interpersonal health. Interdependence is the root of human existence from our small family units to the world society as a whole. Now more than ever we need to cultivate our interdependence, to cultivate the opportunity for everyone to live their best life.
Strictly from a human development standpoint most of us are likely aware of the benefit interpersonal cooperation presents to ourselves and to our surrounding social environment. We shouldn't need the research to show how the act of giving cultivates our interpersonal connections and most certainly plays a role in healthy living. Nonetheless research has shown that when we show interpersonal connection (e.g. an act of generosity) both the giver and receiver show biological benefit via improved blood chemistry similar to that which is shown during stress reduction practices. At the same time should there be an observer of the act of generosity then the individual observing the act also benefits from a change in blood chemistry, an experience many of us can relate to even while watching a movie.
A great personal example of healthy living via healthy giving is the Jimmy's Kids program out of Detroit, MI. For over 20 years Jim Tuman along with 100's of volunteers have been making sure the children of Detroit are not forgotten. The program began when Jim decided one day that he wanted to help a group of 22 special needs kids at Dewey Elementary in southwest Detroit. He bought gifts and a Santa outfit, so he could play Santa's helper, and set out to share an afternoon with these kids so that even for just a short period of time these kids would feel safe and loved.
Now 20 years later serving kids in schools, churches, community centers and individual families the Jimmy's Kids program has ebbed and flowed with swells up to over 25,000 kids in a single season. What is important about the Jimmy's Kids program with regards to healthy living is that it focuses on interacting with the kids not just dropping off toys and wishing the kids the best. The toys serve only as the vehicle for interacting, for the relationship, with the kids and that is what makes the program such a great example for Everspring Living. The program doesn't have fancy offices or even employees, it is a simple volunteer organization that has experienced success because they understand that it is all about the relationship. It is in the relationship where healthy giving becomes healthy living.
One of the most influential memories for me was when I was dressed up as Winnie the Pooh for a Jimmy's Kids event. The outside temperature was well below freezing and unfortunately the facility could only allow for a certain number of guests inside at any one time yet the line to get in went around the block for hours. At this event we offered food for everyone along with toys and clothes for the kids and as the kids were playing I remember watching a guest crying as she shared her story with another volunteer. This guest was so happy and grateful that for just a brief period of time her child was getting fed, staying warm and playing with other kids. Mind you I was in a giant Winnie outfit so was not able to directly interact with her but the barrier of the costume presented me with a fly on the wall experience where I was able to observe how something seemingly simple to so many of us changed this woman's life.
It was through this experience that I began to understand how having the ambition to change the world is so much less daunting than what many of us may believe it to be. Changing the world is simply, genuinely, compassionately changing the current experience for another person even if for only a moment. Since that first experience I have spent almost ten years working with the Jimmy's Kids program and time after time I am reminded of the fact that the single most important thing to do is to show up. It is easy to say we are busy because we are all busy but if our intent is to change the world then we must show up and share our time and our lives with another human being. So as this season progresses but more so as our lives progress we need to think about how Everspring Living manifests in our choice to reach out to connect with and share in the reality that healthy giving is most certainly a part of healthy living.
Jimmy's Kids is a 501c3 organization that accepts donations of toys, clothing and funding throughout the year. Please visit their website www.JimmysKids.com to find out how you might help or how you can host a Jimmy's Kids event in your area.
Sleep! No vegetable, no exotic fruit, no secret potion will out perform a good night’s rest. Sleep is the most effective source of antioxidants we can find not to mention the dozens of other health benefits sleep provides. Get to sleep by 10pm for even a week and see how it changes our life.
Reduce stress! Take some time to relax, sit, be quiet and enjoy being who we are. If we can’t be content sitting still, sitting quietly for more than a few minutes, this is a sign we need to sit still for more than a few minutes! Take 2 mins out of every hour, 5 mins out of every 2, whatever the formula we should shoot for 30 mins of down time everyday (down time = zero stimulus) and see how it changes our life.
Eat well! It is a must that we enjoy our food. No single diet has a corner on the market and we should be cautious of generalized diets that suggest highly eclectic or exotic content or restrictive methods. The most successful short and long-term diets include simple whole foods and focus primarily on vegetables (60% or more). They will include a variety of simple dishes with small servings of whole grains, spices, fruit (usually best not with other foods) and limited high quality natural grazing lean meat. 2/3rds full + warm fluids (e.g. tea) = enough for one meal (i.e. if we feel full we have eaten more than we need). Simplify and diversify and see how it changes our life.
90% of all health conditions simple or serious can be positively influenced via better sleep, stress management and a healthy diet. These lifestyle practices help our body recover when our body is weak and they help us further refine our health for greater productivity when our body is strong. No other resource is as effective as these three resources, which is why they need to serve as the foundation of our personal health and quality of life. If we need help we should seek out practitioners that support these three lifestyle practices as the foundation of our health program.