Through my journey of becoming a yoga teacher and taking control of my health I have learnt a few additions to my cooking that have really made a difference. Now we are in the midst of Winter I'd like to take this opportunity to share what I have learnt to help keep you warm and healthy too. 1) Ginger. I am addicted to ginger at the moment, it's just so warming when it's snowy outside. Either fresh ginger in teas, curry's and soups or I have discovered Pukka Tea does the most delicious Three Ginger Tea. Really recommend it!
Ginger is great for inflammation and pain relief, I am sure it's been easing my shoulder injury and helping my breathing now I no longer take my asthma inhalers. It helps get rid of mucus and it's really good for your digestion.
2) Tumeric. Tumeric has so many healing properties, it's like a super food of spices. It calms your digestion, is anti inflammatory, antioxidant, it protects the liver, reduces blood cholesterol levels, protects against Alzheimers disease, cancer and heart disease. It's a staple for curries but also works well in soups and marinating.
3) If you have the beginnings of a cold try this drink through out the day:
Half juice lemon
Fresh ginger chopped up
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper (be careful of putting too much!)
Some honey to sweeten
It's delicious and will blast those germs out of your body.
3) Green Tea. If you are used to a caffeine hit in the morning and not ready to give it up just yet (since giving it up my mind is calmer, emotions are more balanced and I sleep better) try switching to green tea. Even though it does still have some caffeine it has lots of antioxidant in it.
4) Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. We have all been told too much salt is bad for you but this type of salt contains 84 essential minerals, alkalises the PH of your cells, balances electrolytes and is anti ageing. As well as adding it to your food, taking a long bath in it will help sore muscles and will restore your natural energy. Plus you sleep really well after bathing in it. It's amazing! You can order it on Amazon or find in most health food shops.
5) Cinnamon is great for balancing your blood sugar and is also good for treating indigestion and colds. I am a big sucker for sweet things so stave off those cravings by adding cinnamon to porridges and having it in tea. Cinnamon and ginger in a cup of tea is lovely!
6) Sugar. Making an effort to reduce inflammation in the body(eg when you have colds/ asthma/allergies/muscular problems) is not good if you then eat a load of refined sugar! It creates inflammation and weakens your immune system.
7) Seeds. Seeds are a great source of magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus needed for bone development, immunity and energy production. Magnesium is again great for reducing inflammation which is related to many diseases. They provide slow release energy so great if you need to have a snack, much better than something sugary which will give you a high and then a big low. I find sautéing seeds in soy sauce and some chilli makes them really tasty. I also add them to porridge and yoghurt which is an easy way to slip them into your diet with out even really noticing they are there.
So that's a little of what I have been learning over the past few years. I am not a nutritionist but I do like to take care of my body and health, it's all part of living a yogic lifestyle.
I also believe in the benefits of having a huge slice of home made cake every now and then, that is simply good for you soul :-)