Winter Healing Drinks

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Warm Grapefruit Tea

Grapefruit has a compound called naringenin that has been shown  to make our insulin more effective. This tea was featured on the Martha Stewart Show (and Martha loved it!)

2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice (squeezed from 2 grapefruits)
2 to 4 tablespoons honey
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
Directions: In a medium pot, combine juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat; strain and discard solids. Serve with a grapefruit segment or strip of zest.

Cough-Control Tea

1. Pour hot water over 2 teaspoons organic lemon rinds, 1 teaspoon sage, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. (Dried or fresh herbs can be used.)
2. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
3. Strain tea, then add juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon honey.
4. Drink two to three cups daily for cough relief.

The Safest Choices

Did you know that the pesticides that are used to spray most conventional crops sky rocketed after WWII when we realized we could use the same war-time nerve agents to kill bugs? That’s right, the same weapons used to kill enemy combatants are now being sprayed, although diluted, on our fruits and vegetables.

These chemicals enable foods to travel long distances and protect them from natural predators and pests, but they also do major harm when consumed. Dr. Oz says beware when you buy your produce which choices are the dirtiest.

Strawberries are one of the dirtiest fruits you can buy conventionally because most are imported from countries that have even less strict laws about pesticide use. Studies have found more than 59 pesticides have been detected in the residue on certain strawberries, and because they have external seeds they are more difficult to clean. Buying local strawberries is the safest way to go. If you can’t find local strawberries, soak the ones you do buy in a solution of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water for 2 minutes to help loosen dirt and chemicals.

When buying apples choose organic, no question. Apples have been tested and revealed more than 42 different pesticides to help protect the crops from everything from fungi to insects. Conventional apples  may also contain food wax on them which makes them shiny and more appealing. So, if organic apples are not available, look for apples that actually smell like apples. This means that the wax is not there or is minimal. Always scrub apples before eating them. You can also choose apples that don’t look perfect. Perfection comes with modifying the crop; real organic apples aren’t always perfect looking.

Spinach is another dirty culprit and has been found laced with as many as 48 different pesticides. Because spinach is more vulnerable to bugs, there are often extra pesticides used to protect a crop. Adding to the mess is that when sprayed, much of the extra runs off into the soil and can contaminate groundwater and exposes other ground plants to those chemicals.

If you are cooking with the spinach, choose frozen. The process of washing and freezing it can remove as much as 90% of the pesticide residue.

With more than 63 pesticides detected, conventional peaches are one of the dirtiest foods you can eat. The delicate fuzz on the peaches acts like a sponge bringing water, sunlight, and pesticides into the fruit. For this food, a quick rinse won’t cut it. Wash with water and hydrogen peroxide solution if organic is not an option.

Now that you know what to avoid, here is some of the cleanest produce:

Onions’ thick outer layers act as a barrier from pesticides and protect the vegetable on the inside.

Corn husks are very strong and help protect the kernels. Their stalks are also very tall, giving it some distance from soil, where pesticide can seep.

Kiwi has a fuzzy outer skin that protects the fleshy fruit as it grows, creating an impermeable layer against pesticides.

Book Review: Secrets to Controlling Your Weight, Cravings and Mood

By Maria Emmerich

Before my passion for nutrition came along, I had a passion for donuts. I was an athlete and thought I could get away with eating what I wanted, as long as I worked out. NOT TRUE. Even though I ate enough calories, I was starving myself, specifically, I was starving my brain. My stomach was filled with “substance” but my brain kept telling me to eat; our bodies are smart, they make us crave certain nutrients we need.

For 90% of dieters, a deficiency in one of four essential brain chemicals can cause weight gain, fatigue, and stress. The solution to losing weight doesn’t lie in deprivation diets; it lies in balancing our neurotransmitters.

1. Serotonin influences appetite.
2. GABA curbs emotional eating
3. Acetylcholine regulates fat storage
4. Dopamine controls metabolism

When these brain chemicals are balanced, our bodies are more able to lose those extra pounds. Not only does this book cover how to find out which brain chemical you may be lacking, but directs you towards which foods will increase them, what supplements would be best for your body AND recipes that taste great and will keep all the brain chemicals happy!

Food for Your Hair

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the Fairest of them all?  What is your mirror answering? Experts say that what’s happening inside us, is reflected on the outside. “When you have skin and hair challenges, the body is letting you know it needs help,” says Lisa Petty, a holistic nutritionist and author of “Living Beauty.” Perk up your look with these healing foods.

Get more protein to fortify and promote growth.

Eat more: Beans, dairy products, eggs, fish, meat, and poultry.
Iron helps bring oxygen into your scalp and boosts circulation.

Eat more: Asparagus, dried fruit, egg yolks, legumes, red meat, dark leafy greens, and whole grains.
Omega-3s help prevent dryness and promote moisture.

Eat More: Flaxseeds, sardines, soybeans, walnuts, and wild salmon.
To strengthen your cuticles and boost your hair’s elasticity get more Silica.

Eat More: Cabbage, celery, and steel-cut oats.
Fight free-radical damage from the world around you with Vitamins A, C, and E.

Eat More: Carrots, dark leafy greens, and sweet potatoes (vitamin A); citrus, kiwi, and strawberries (vitamin C); almonds, avocados, nut oils, peanuts, and sunflower seeds (vitamin E).

Coming Home

by Doug Dobberfuhl

Brendan sat back on the couch and ran his fingers through his hair, sighing.  “I moved back to my hometown two years ago. I had not lived within a 60 mile radius of the place for over 15 years, and what I experienced surprised me. At first, I just felt a little out of sorts. I had a life and identity unique from what developed growing up. But here I was, married with two children, back in the home where I had grown up. This was the place full of memories and ghosts from when I was a child. Yet at the same time I was an adult, with kids of my own.  These two worlds – my childhood me and my adult me – were colliding.”

The experience of coming home happens to many of us. It is a return to old, familiar places, people or events. The holiday season is the prime time for coming-home experiences to occur – family gatherings, getting together with childhood friends, visiting your favorite restaurant growing up, etc. It can bring up a lot of emotions, both positive and negative.  Brendan struggled coming home. It triggered him to react from that child-like place instead of from his adult state. He became reactionary, easily irritated, impatient, and full of self-doubt. It caused problems in his marriage. He returned to old coping skills that he had worked hard to let go of in previous therapy sessions.

The goal to weather the storm that often arises when coming home is to be at a place of wholeness. It is to say and believe within ourselves – “I am who I am no matter what the situation or audience.”

Coming back home is always a high risk for parts of ourselves from the past to be triggered, to bubble up to the surface.  We act and do things and say things we might not normally say or do otherwise. People and places can trigger these smaller parts of ourselves to come to the forefront. Anytime we tread upon the paths of our past, we risk doing more than just visiting – we risk slipping back in time and acting or reacting from that past time.

Do you find yourself drinking a little too much at the family holiday gathering and not really knowing why? Or maybe you have feelings of resentment that seem to come from nowhere when you get together with your siblings. Maybe you find yourself edgy, easy to anger, withdrawn or otherwise just not you. These can be totally normal reactions that accompany coming home.

To those who have had bad experiences at home, suffered disappointments or serious failures within their childhood/adolescence, coming home and staying in a healthy functional place sounds unrealistic. Wouldn’t it just be better to run away and stay away from home? Is it impossible to stay a whole, functional, integrated person even when we do walk down memory lane (figuratively or literally)?  Not at all. There are some key strategies that need to be mastered, however.

1.) Become aware of the parts of you that still live and breathe in the past. Know what they look like, how they feel and how they think. This will help you more quickly identify when they come to the surface.

2.) Face the fears of the past – clean out any stored “energy” of the past place. If you don’t do this, the energy of the past will bubble up, causing you to fragment and lose your wholeness and functional integrated “adultness.”

3.) Learn to find peace and serenity within yourself no matter where you are or who you are with. Meditation, prayer, reflective contemplation, feeling comfortable in your own skin – all this will help you be true to yourself regardless of the trigger.

Some part of us may feel fear that the old people, places, or events will not accept who we have become over the years. Affirm to yourself that the reaction of others is something you cannot control. Being true to yourself is what feels best, not living to please or fit in with whatever outside expectations or scenarios may seem to dictate.

This holiday season, prepare for those coming-home events by taking some extra time the weeks prior to meditate. Follow the three steps detailed above, and love who you are. Knowing who you are and what matters most to you today is what will help you thrive and enjoy your yesterdays as well as your tomorrows.

Doug Dobberfuhl holds a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and has been working in the field for the past 15 years. He works with families, couples and individuals that struggle with traumatic pasts, addictions and intimacy problems. He is married with five children. He has finished writing a workbook on applying the 12 steps of recovery from a spiritual point of view, which will be published by the end of the year.  He can be reached at thedobberfuhl7@comcast.net