December 2013 Highlights: Posts I Enjoyed

This month has flown by. It’s been an amazing month despite the busy start I had with finishing up some difficult classes. I have two semesters left to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and I can’t wait! I have a feeling it’s a very exciting year ahead of us… 🙂

I’ve had the pleasure of reading some great blog posts this past year and I’m going to share the ones I’ve enjoyed the most this past month.

This post on the patience it takes for fertility to return after birth control usage really piqued my interest. I’ve always been skeptical about birth control usage. I have been reading Cleansing for Conception by Donielle Baker lately, which is an amazing book for those struggling with their fertility. Healthy babies are one of my passions, and the book gives great advice for those trying to conceive and also includes a meal plan and step-by-step advice.

This informational post on why to avoid almond flour (at least in excess) is also a must-read.

I want to try whipping up a batch of these paleo egg muffins for my son. He is constantly hungry and they seem simple and yummy enough. I found a good write-up on milk kefir–I love the idea of using milk kefir for weight loss. And this apricot chicken is going on my menu, looks soooo delicious!

I don’t really like chocolate…true story. But I did used to love Almond Joys! I look forward to trying this with less chocolate and way more coconut! Bonus is they would make an awesome edible holiday gift!

I have a soft-spot in my heart for homemade eggnog. My family used to make it together when we were kids, and we would spike it with some rum. We were in Jamaica, so we weren’t breaking the law 😉 I don’t think we were, anyway… I actually have two versions of my own to share next month…yes, kinda late…

While I can’t enjoy these cookies just yet (due to some ingredients that we must avoid right now), I have been assured these nut butter breakfast cookies are very, very yummy. I would make them with peanut butter, of course! Love cookies? Check out the book Just Eat The Damn Cookie, which includes many cookie recipes including ones that are Paleo/GAPS-legal. I’ve really enjoyed looking through it and will be trying some of them soon!

Nettle Infusions For Asthma, Allergies, Constipation, Adrenal Fatigue And More!

Nettle infusions are simple to make, and a great way to provide your body with nutrients it desperately craves. There are so many nettle infusion benefits that you just have to make this nourishing herbal remedy a part of your normal routine!

Right before bed, I usually boil a cup or two of water, add 1-2 tbsp of dried nettle leaves, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let steep until I wake up in the morning. The nettle infusion recipe is that simple–1 tbsp dried nettle leaves for each cup of water, steeped for 4+ hours. Click here to print the recipe.

In the morning, I warm it slightly and share a mug of the resulting infusion with my almost-four-year-old son. This routine has gone on for well over a year now, although we aren’t as habitual as we were at first. You do not have to warm it, but we prefer warm tea.

Nettle Infusions Is A Natural Healer

Why we started drinking nettle infusions

I came across the idea of drinking nettle infusions to support health on the Heal Thyself! website. It was at a time when my son was suffering from constant asthma attacks and taking multiple meds, still often ending up in the hospital. Along with asthma, he suffered from digestive issues, multiple allergies, and adrenal fatigue.

The adrenal fatigue was undoubtedly from me–his nursing mama. I could barely get out of bed in the mornings, required daily naps, was overtired before his bedtime, and yet I could rarely ever fall asleep before 1-2AM in the morning. I was also struggling to keep weight on, which for me was a big problem.

I knew that many of our health issues at the time pointed to a need for more minerals. We were drinking bone broth regularly, although not daily. We were dairy-free at the time and ate plenty of vegetables, including fermented foods, but it just didn’t seem like it was enough. Our bodies needed more minerals and B Vitamins and reading about nettle infusions was like finding a long-lost friend! (Click here to source dried stinging nettle leaves.)

Nettle Infusion Benefits

Two cups of nettle infusion has all the vitamins and minerals you need for a day. And, it’s in their natural, effective, complex forms; not synthetic and broken up like in pills. – Pat, Heal Thyself! (Source 1)

Nettle, also known as Urtica dioica, has been treasured for its medicinal properties for ages. It is most prized for its ability to fight inflammation and histamine. Inflammation and histamine is at the root of many conditions we typically face these days, whether it is respiratory such as with asthma, related to the muscles and joints such as with rheumatoid arthritis, or gastrointestinal, such as with IBS, Chron’s and related diseases.

Nettle leaf infusions contain a variety of B vitamins, vitamin K, and many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. It also has nutrients such as choline and betaine, Lutein and zeaxanthin.

It is especially high in calcium and manganese. Manganese is worth pointing out because it is another mineral we are often lacking in. Low manganese levels are associated with symptomatic asthma, PMS, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, infertility and epilepsy. It helps with calcium absorption, which is one of several reasons nettle infusions are great for those struggling with tooth decay.

Manganese is a trace mineral that is present in tiny amounts in the body. It is found mostly in bones, the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Manganese helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function. – Manganese | University of Maryland Medical Center (Source 4)

Betaine is made up of choline along with three methyl groups. These nutrients are important for keeping homocysteine levels low and fighting inflammation. High homocysteine levels are strongly correlated with many health issues such as atherosclerosis, blood clots, kidney disease, thyroid problems, impaired memory and psoriasis. Elevated homocysteine levels are more common in people with the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene mutation, which affects folate processing and is further impaired by synthetic folate supplements.

The magnesium from nettle, as well as the properties that aid in fat digestion, help to promote bowel regularity. Constipation is a condition that we should make our best efforts to avoid because it means that toxins are backed up in your system wreaking havoc on your body. Put simply, constipation promotes disease. It can also be a result of adrenal fatigue! When my son is constipated, I find he has a lowered tolerance of histamine foods, possibly because of an overgrowth of histamine-producing bacteria.

What can be done if I don’t like how nettle infusions taste?

You gotta just drink it anyway! Just kidding.

Nettle leaf infusions have an earthy flavor, but it is not overpowering. A great way to make nettle infusions more palatable if you’re not a huge fan of the taste is to mix with another tea. Peppermint and ginger are great choices. Of course, you can also sweeten with a little raw honey or maple syrup.

Conclusion

As a result of making nettle leaf infusions a regular part of our lives, we have experienced much less asthma, constipation, allergy and adrenal fatigue symptoms. This means that my son’s nose doesn’t get irritated and sneezy as much, so bloody noses happen much less often. It means that our blood sugar is more balanced so I don’t have those crazy crashes and his behavior is a bit more controlled. In general, it means that life is more enjoyable!

Nettle Infusion Recipe

Course: Beverage
Keyword: Tea/Infusion
Servings: 1 person
Author: nourishingtime.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp dried nettle leaves

Instructions

  • Bring water to boil in a small saucepan.
  • Add dried nettle leaves
  • Cover and allow to steep at least 4 hours, and up to 8 hours.

Notes

Using fresh nettle leaves: If you are lucky enough to be able to source fresh nettles, you can use approximately 1/4 cup and steep for a bit less time if desired.
Drinking hot vs. cold: This is purely a personal preference. I prefer warm tea so re-heat before drinking. Some people prefer cooled tea, or even iced tea.
Sweetener: I drink my infusion unsweetened, but you can add raw honey, maple syrup, or other suitable sweetener if you prefer.
You can also add another herb for flavor, such as peppermint, spearmint, ginger, etc.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Buttery Bok Choy Featuring Bell Peppers And Onions

Buttery Bok Choy featuring Bell Peppers and Onions

Bok choy is a very popular vegetable in China. It has a mild taste and easily complements many dishes. It is the member of the cabbage family with the highest concentration of beta carotene, and also provides us with good amounts of Vitamins C and K, folate, and several trace minerals such as molybdenum and manganese.

Health benefits aside, it is also one of my favorite greens. My son absolutely adores bok choy and loves this time of year. In Florida, this is when we can get this stuff locally. We were lucky to find a lady who sells homegrown bok choy and a few others things for practically pennies. This is good, because my little one tries to get away with eating bok choy all day when it’s in season. He will easily eat it as an entire meal, so I take advantage and add in other great foods such as onions, bell peppers, saturated fats, olive oil and sometimes grated raw liver. Most of those foods offer plenty of immune-boosting antioxidants which are soooo important in our increasingly toxic world.

Buttery Bok Choy Recipe (Serves 1-4)

Ingredients
1lb bok choy
1 medium onion
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper
At least 4 tbsp butter
Olive oil to taste
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Wash bok choy, onion and bell peppers. Then, chop ’em up.

2. In a reasonable sized skillet, put butter and onions and turn to med-low heat. Cook until onions are translucent and smell yummy.

3. Add bok choy, cook to desired tenderness, stirring every now and then. Add more butter if necessary/desired.

4. Add in bell peppers and cook an additional minute or so (longer if you prefer your bell peppers well cooked!).

5. Remove from heat, and add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.

6. Enjoy!

Do you eat bok choy regularly? How do you usually cook it? Let me know by leaving a comment!