To achieve good physical, mental and perhaps even spiritual health requires an ongoing process of proper diet, exercise and habits. This section is dedicated to share knowledge that may assist that process. Good habits are important here, things such as exercise, attending to our nutritional needs and dedicating time to ‘feed our souls” can become healthy habits.

Nutrition nowadays seem to be a subject of interest for many. However, still many of us think that we may be too busy to develop healthy eating habits. We will include a recipes here to help with that. Mostly easy and healthy and delicious.

Also we will include an exercise or stretch and tips for our mental and spiritual health.
Super Foods for Immunity

Quinoa – is grow in the Andes Mountains of South America. The Incas called the quinoa “the mother grain”. This is a complete protein food which is rich in fiber and iron. It supplies a balance of all the essential amino acids.

Cruciferous vegetables- stimulate the body to produce enzymes for detoxifying cancer-causing chemicals. They have also been shown to modulate estrogen and thyroid metabolism. These includes thee high-fiber cabbage,, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy  and Brussels sprouts.

Dried beans and peas- their fiber aids elimination, keeps blood sugar stable, and benefits the heart. These includes white beans, black beans, garbanzo beans (chick peas), split peas, and soybeans (especially fermented tempeh, tofu and miso). Legumes (beans) are also an inexpensive low-fat source of plant protein.  Beans are a staple in the healthiest countries.

Allium (Onion) family- includes onion, garlic, shallot, scallion, chive, leek and asparagus. This entire family provides anti-microbial benefits. Garlic can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing natural killer cell activity.

Nuts and seeds- including tree nut (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts) and seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin). NA daily ounce of any of these can reduce heart disease by up to 50 percent. Nuts and seeds are also a good source of fiber, vitamin E and vitamins such as B1, B2, B5, and B6.Flaxseed is unique in that it boasts a high omega-3 fat content, assist the body in converting alpha-linolenic acid into heart and brain healthy DHA, and contains estrogen metabolism and lignan benefits.

Sea vegetables- contain chlorella, spirulina, and blue-green algae . They contain the most bio-available sources of complete protein, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, DNA and RNA. Sea vegetaables boost the immune system, detoxify heavy metals and pesticides, aid digestion, speed up the healing process, alkalize an acidic system, and fight bacterial infections. Seaweed, dulse, nori, kelp and other sea vegetables are low calorie food sources that can be added to soups, salads or can be consumed by themselves as crispy chips.

Tea- including black, white, red, green and white – has been used for more than 4,000 years as a medicinal for fighting asthma, bronchitis, infections and a host of viruses. Its powerful antioxidant effect helps lower blood pressure, keeps arteries clean, retards bone loss and prevents many types of cancer.

(Additional sources: Bonnie C.Minskey, MA, MPH, LDN, CNS, president, Nutritional Concepts, Northbrooks Illinois, MTJ Journal 2007, v.46, no.2)

Tips to Boost Your Immunity:

Eat a plant-based diet- Many fruits and vegetables are alkaline, and we need a healthy balance between alkaline and acidic to be in top germ-fighting form.

Follow the rainbow- If you are eating a rainbow you are more likely getting the vitamin, mineral and phytochemcal mix necessary for immunity. When you eat more color you are also getting more antioxidants.

Eat organically – when you eat organically you automatically reduce the number of toxins to which you expose your body.

Cut back on sweets- when we have more sugars in our diets and when we eat refined foods, it lowers our cells’ capacities to fight off germs.When you eat a high-sugar meal, your immune systems is suppressed for at least four hours after that meal. A bit of dark chocolate is O.K. which is a source of magnesium and helps your serotonin!

Eat a variety of whole grains- Quinoa, buckwheat wild rice and brown rice are great choices. These don’t have gluten and are more digestible.

Eat your fiber- fiber acts like a scrub brush, detoxifying your body as it digests, actually pulling out toxins and cholesterol.

Hydrate yourself – hydration is important to immunity as it will flush you out! If you could use a little impetus to drink your water a slice of lemon in the water it’s a natural cleanser and contains immune boosting vitamin C.

Use fresh herbs and spices – which have plant compunds that are high in antioxidants, phenols. These acts as selective antibiotics, zapping the non-probioticbacteria while supporting the probiotic.

Be probiotics- which are the healthy bacteria that lives in our gut, and can enhance our immune system. Eating foods that make it down to the large intestine so you can feed your healthy microbes.Your upper tract quickly absorbs refined foods such as white flour and white sugar. It’s foods that are rich in fiber that make it to the end.

Enjoy your meals! Think of your meal as a benediction, a time to connect with yourself, your companions, and the earth that provided you with bounty. And don’t forget to chew, you want to spend time chewing your food so you get the nutrients. Take your time time to eat. After all taking time to eat can be the greatest act of self-love.

Get a good night’s rest -sleep loss impairs the immune function. Adequate sleep helps to restore your body. During sleep your body release potent immune-enhancing substances that strengthen immune function.

Exercise regularly- scheduling time for exercise will help keep you balanced and ready to deal with stress. Physical activity assist greatly to release tension, and may help you sleep better.

Get a massage at least every three to four weeks- regular massage sessions provide significant benefits beyond the immediate relaxation you enjoy. It will assist with an increase of serotonin and in natural killer cells, the first line of defense in the immune system. It also stimulates the lymphatic system and improves the circulation of blood nourishing our whole body.

Meditate-   Studies show that meditation can help produce antibodies against illness.Research demonstrates there is a link between mental state and immune function.Chronic stress can impair immunity through its effect on hormone levels. Find time to quiet your mind!

Essential Oils – these are oils distilled from plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, roots and seeds. Therapeutic grade essential oils are very powerful, natural, plant-based products.These have complex natural occurring components that are highly beneficial to wellness. They can supply powerful antimicrobial action, support immune function, provide pain relief and fight free radicals. Essential oils can assist us in keeping our mind alert, focused and to relax. Essential Oils such as Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint are great to have around this time a year.

When we take care of ourselves, we’re much more able to take care of others!

(Additional sources: Clare la Plante, MTJ Journal 2007, v.46, no.2)

Basil /Holy Basil

Basil is part of the mint family and like like mint is aromatic. The stems and leaves whether dried or fresh can be used in recipes. Leaves, flowers and stems are used for the essential oil and teas. Basil comes in over 60 varieties with a range of tastes such as lemon, anise, cinnamon flavors and sweet. Among the most popular are purple basil best used for salads and vinegars, Thai basil which has more of a citrus flavor. The most commonly known is sweet basil which has more of a mint and cinnamon flavor. This is the one used for most Italian recipes. Also known is Holy basil or Tuli basil, sacred to Hindu people. This variety is mostly known for its potent healing properties and energizing effect.

Basil is a common ingredient in Italian recipes, and you can find it in many Asian dishes basil. However,it is used and known worldwide. In India was considered as sacred to gods Krishna and Vishnu. The holy basil or Tuli basil, also called Ocimum Sanctum was grown around Hindu temples. It has potent healing properties. Basil is also considered an antidote to the venom of the dragon in Roman legend. A few centuries ago English used it not only in food but also around doorways to discourage pests such as flies. Young Englishmen wore it as a courting sign that they had serious intentions with their girlfriend. In Europe and America basil been used for centuries. It has been used for its calming and relaxation properties by adding it to bathwater, in massage oil, or taken as tea.

Some of the properties of this herb are: Restorative, warming, aromatic, mildly sedative herb that lowers fever, relaxes spasms, relieves sore muscles, improves digestion and is effective against internal parasites and bacteria. It is  also used in skin ointments for stress-induced skin complaints.

Basil is a great source of vitamin C, magnesium and  potassium. It is also rich in iron, and calcium.  Holy basil also known as tulsi has even more heath benefits. See newsletter September 2011 issue for more on this plant.

There are three kinds of tulsi basil known. There is Vana Tulsi (Ocimum Gratissimum),  Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)  and Rama Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum) this one is the most medicinal.  One of the benefits tulsi basil offers is adaptogens. These assist the body to increase resistance to stress, fatigue, normalize organ functions, including trauma. It improves stamina, strength and endurance. Tulsi basil has antioxidants that protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. These work by shielding the cell structure from “germs” and foreign invaders that can threaten our health. It can relieve inflammation from arthritis, and also can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It reduces cell and tissue damage from radiation. Tulsi basil also has an energizing effect without caffeine. This makes it an ideal substitute for coffee. This plant is considered a super food!

Basil in general is use as a herbal remedy for:

insect bites and stings, snakebite and skin irritations. Basil is used as the main ingredient for aromatic body rubs, which tones the skin. An infusion of basil in wine is also used on the skin to close enlarged pores. It is used for a sore throat, cold and influenza, fever, nausea, migraine, insomnia, poor digestion, grastro-intestinal problems,  nausea, menstrual problems, exhaustion, anxiety and when in need of comfort because your “spirits are low”.

Caution: ** Not recommended for use during pregnancy or if nursing. May have a tendency to lower blood sugar especially in children, and it has mild blood thinning properties.**

The essential oil is:

analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-depressant, expectorant, energizing, digestive, tonic, mild sedative, emmenagogue, carminative, uplifting and also can be use as an insecticide. Use it in burners and vaporizers for headaches including migraines, to help increase concentration and clear the mind.      ****** Basil essential oil should not be used during pregnancy *****

Externally can be used also for:

Loss of smell,  also for acne, skin irritations, in aromatic rubs as a skin toner, and in an infusion with wine on the skin to close enlarged pores. Basil is also known for its magical properties. It is use to attract money, and to create a protective shield.

To dry basil you can place it in a warm,ventilated area away from direct sunlight for one full day, covered with a cheese cloth. I use the dehydrator in 110 degrees for about 12 hours or until ready.   You can grow basil indoors wonderfully if placed in a sunny window, keep soil moist and well drained.

Tuli Basil Tincture 

This is a recipe for a basic tincture that can be used to make other herbs & spices tinctures.

Fill a clean glass jar about half full with either fresh or dried Tulsi basil leaves. Label the jar  make the label including date.
including content and date.
Fill your jar with vodka, brandy,  rum, or apple cider vinegar.
Shake the jar. and place it in a cool location away from the light for one month.
Shake the jar a couple of times each day

After one month, strain your tincture. You may want to change it in smaller glass bottles with dropper tops for ease of use.

Take up to three full droppers three times daily. Discontinue use when your symptoms improve.