MBP Daily Three: Baby It’s Cold Outside

MBP3 IS A SERIES DEDICATED TO WALKING THE WALK. WHAT ARE 3 THINGS YOU’VE DONE TODAY TO NOURISH YOUR MIND, YOUR BODY, & YOUR PLATE?

snowy nyc cab

Body: Despite icy New York City streets and 10 degree weather, I managed to tackle two yoga classes yesterday. The first, my usual Thursday morning vinyasa class, is one of the most challenging classes I take all week. When I started attending well over a year ago, I used to joke with my husband that “it wasn’t a Thursday morning if I didn’t fall on my face!” Well, I have to say, I’m pretty proud that I now have the stamina not only to protect my pout, but to go back for more. Mind you, my second class was a restorative one, but still… I’m happy that I didn’t shy away from added activity, especially when this wintry weather makes it so difficult to stay outgoing and uplifted.

Mind: Speaking of staying uplifted, I made the executive decision not to spend my free day cooped up home alone re-watching old episodes of Law and Order SVU (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Instead, I decided to stay cooped up in Brooklyn, along with my dear friend and her beautiful new baby girl. Often when I’m exhausted, my natural tendency is to isolate myself, which seems right in the moment but leaves me feeling a bit depressed in the long term. Sometimes I have to push myself to be more social even if it’s not my first instinct, because I know in the end it will leave me feeling more stimulated, uplifted, and inspired. Plus, I had the added benefit of knowing I brightened someone else’s day! After all, it’s not easy to be a new mom stuck at home in the dead of winter.

mother and baby

Plate: The bountiful salad I had for lunch filled me so substantially that I was able to eat a relatively light dinner (1/3 c baked butternut squash, a handful of carrots, and 3 Tbsp hummus) and feel completely satisfied. Making breakfast or lunch your biggest meal of the day is not always easy, especially in our siesta-less American culture. But it is important: not only do our bodies utilize caloric energy most efficiently before 3 PM, but we also tend to sleep better when we’re not overly stuffed. In my mind, these are reasons enough to start “front-loading” your day.

An early 17th century family supper. Image via www.historiccookingschool.com

An early 17th century family supper. Image via http://www.historiccookingschool.com

Here’s a fun fact: the word supper comes from the word for soup, because from the Middle Ages until the 18th century, the last meal of the day was typically a light snack, like a bowl of soup, perhaps sopped up with bread. The middle meal was traditionally the largest and main meal of the day and was called… wait for it… dinner!

Yesterday turned out to be rich and rewarding despite freezing weather, but today is a new day calling for a new MBP Daily Three. What will you do today to nourish your mind, your body, and your plate?

Advertisements

Immune Juice

Ah, the common cold. I do my best to embrace it with gratitude. A cold can serve as a reminder, for example, to slow down and take some time for self-care. When the sniffles creep up, one of my fave ways to pamper myself is to indulge in a delicious immune-boosting beverage. Since I happen to be suffering from a particularly nasty little bug this week, I thought I’d share the recipe for my zingy Immune Juice.

My desire to combine all of the common powerhouse ingredients into a single serving led to the creation of Immune Juice, which is not really a juice at all but more of a concentrated elixir. To drink it by itself would be insane, but when a tablespoon is added to a cup of boiling water, something magical happens. The result is a steaming cup of zesty tea that will knock your socks off – and show your cold who’s boss. How to describe it? It’s…

Zingy

Spicy

Savory-sweet

Warming

Garlicky

Honey-laced

Did I mention spicy?

It will warm you to your core* and tingle your senses. Is it intense? Yes. But it’s also strangely satisfying, and it will kill your cold. How?

Apple Cider Vinegar – Real, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is absolutely loaded with helpful vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Hippocrates, known as the father of western medicine, hailed it as a germ-fighting antibiotic and antiseptic. The combination of apple cider vinegar and honey resembles a centuries-old remedy called Oxymel, or in the original Greek “acid-honey.”

Honey – Raw, unfiltered honey contains several different flavonoids, which possess well-documented antioxidant activity. According to a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food, honey may stimulate the production of antibodies during an immune response. In this particular recipe, it also makes the drink palatable.

Lemon – Not only are they a good source of vitamin C, lemons contain loads of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. It also happens that the limonene found in the peel contains anti-cancer properties. In fact, a University of Arizona study showed that drinking black tea with lemon peel actually reduces the risk of skin cancer by 30%.

Garlic – As heath remedies go, garlic goes back – waaaaay back. It was mentioned in the world’s oldest medical text, the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus. It helps fight the common cold through its antimicrobial activity, working against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi. Studies show that garlic not only reduces the incidence of colds, but also the duration of symptoms. And its healing properties don’t stop there: it’s also a natural anticoagulant, it reduces plaque in the arteries, it lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol without lowering “good” HDL cholesterol, it has chemoprotective properties, and it may be effective for use in weight control, lowering blood pressure, insulin, triglycerides, and even preventing weight gain in rat studies.

Ginger – In Ayurveda, ginger is known as the “universal remedy.” Like garlic, it contains powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties, and it’s great for boosting the immune system. Studies suggest ginger aids the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract, and that it helps with pain and fever. It also inhibits growth of human colorectal cancer cells, lowers cholesterol, and is antitumorigenic. It has been used for centuries to help improve circulation in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. And let’s not forget that ginger can be just as effective as a Dramamine in combating nausea.

Turmeric – This spice is actually a member of the ginger family, and its medicinal properties have been established in Ayurvedic, Chinese, and Western medicine. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, is an anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to be virtually as effective as the medication Phenylbutazone. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, and Deepak Chopra suggests it with honey to coat the throat at the first sign of soreness. That’s not all – the active ingredient in Turmeric also has an anti-tumor effect, demonstrating that its medicinal properties are as multifaceted as its deliciously complex flavor.

Cayenne – This spice contains an impressive profile of phytochemicals and nutrients, including zinc, B vitamins, and vitamins C and E. Cayenne helps thwart colds, sinus infections, and even sore throats (it can relieve pain when applied topically). I think of it as a great facilitator, because it acts as a catalyst for other nutritional compounds and aids in digestion.

Water – The bottom line with any sort of liquid remedy is that it gets you drinking, and hydration is key in getting rid of a cold. No magic involved.

Immune Juice

The recipe makes 150 ml, or approximately ten 1 tbsp servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c unpasturized apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c raw, unfiltered honey, warmed
  • 1/8 c lemon juice (fresh, if possible)
  • 2 cloves raw garlic
  • Enough raw ginger to match the garlic in volume
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Preparation:

  • Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender until the mixture is smooth and totally incorporated.
  • Boil water and pour some into your favorite mug.
  • Stir 1 tablespoon of Immune Juice into the hot water, allow to cool, and enjoy!
  • Store Immune Juice in a mason jar or air tight container for up to 4 days.**

*If you’re living in a warm region, or suffering through summer in New York City as I am, please consume Immune Juice carefully. It really is quite warming and can create some imbalance if you don’t take precautions to keep yourself cool.

**Some of these ingredients, such as garlic, lose potency after preparation, so drinking your Immune Juice sooner will give you more bang for your buck. And microwaving can destroy these compounds entirely, so don’t even think about it.

References:

Balch, Phyllis A., C.N.C., (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Bowden, Jonny, Ph.D., C.N.S., (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The surprising, unbiased truth about what you should eat and why. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press.