Tag Archive | margaux

Authen-tip: The First Thing you Should do Every Morning

I wasn’t always a morning person. I would lie in bed and grumble when it was finally time for me to get up. Now, I view my mornings as a time to take care of my health! Before I brush my teeth or turn on the shower, the first thing I do is drink a big glass of luke-warm water. A cup of water first thing in the morning helps to clean you out and get things moving. It helps flush out the toxins inside your body and it will naturally start to energize you! I’ve been doing this routine for a year now and in addition to feeling much better, I have noticed an improvement in the clarity of my skin. A little water first thing goes a long way! If water is too boring for the morning, squeeze a little lemon in it to get a nice boost of vitamin C. So, before the coffee and the tea, start with good ol’ fashion H2O.

Natural Therapies for Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Stress is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days. Everything seems to “stress us out” and with good reason as we live in a very stressful world! The term “stress” refers to any reaction to a physical, mental, social, or emotional stimulus that requires a response or alteration to the way we perform, think, or feel. Obvious sources of stress include deadlines at work, relationships, financial issues, and much more. Other sources are less obvious and include things like traffic, noise, crowds, pain, extreme temperatures or weather changes, unwelcomed changes, and much more. Some people handle stress well but for others it can be devastating. Stress can cause fatigue, chronic headaches, irritability, changes in appetite, memory loss, low self-esteem, withdrawal, teeth grinding, cold hands, and much more. Here are some nutritional and natural therapies that can help in relieving stress and bring peace to your busy life.

  • Chamomile is a gentle relaxant. It is a good nerve tonic, soothing to the digestive tract, and a pleasant sleep aid.
  • Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that helps to act as a sedative and nerve tonic. Passionflower is also calming and a potent addition to any antistress formula.
  • Include plenty of “good fats” in your diet from foods like avocados, coconuts, olives, nuts, and fresh fish. Get your omega-3 fatty acids by adding flaxseed oil to your daily smoothies. Make sure you pick a good quality organic oil that has been expeller cold-pressed to retain all of the nutrients. I recommend using Barlean’s Organic Flaxseed Oil.
  • Eat plenty of leafy green veggies, fresh fruits, brown rice, and raw nuts.
  • Stay hydrated during the day by drinking plenty of water. One of the signs of dehydration is anxiety, so it is important to keep your fluids up. Avoid processed and refined foods full of sugar.
  • Eat a diet that is composed of 50 to 70 percent raw foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables not only supply valuable vitamins and minerals, but are rich in flavonoids. Many of these flavonoids scavenge and neutralize dangerous free radicals in the body.
  • Avoid processed foods and all food that create stress on the digestive system. These foods include artificial sweeteners, carbonated soft drinks, chocolate, fried foods, junk foods, sugar, white flour products, and foods that contain preservatives.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine as it can contribute to nervousness and will disrupt sleep patterns.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and any mood-altering drugs. These substances may relieve stress temporarily but they do nothing to really address the underlying cause.
  • Get regular exercise. Go for walks in the morning and evenings. Take up yoga, bike riding, Pilates, swimming, or any activity that you enjoy!
  • Practice deep breathing. Holding your breath and slowing releasing it is good for helping you get through stressful situations.
  • Monitor your internal conversations. The way that we talk to ourselves can play a big part in how we feel and act. Start utilizing positive self talk.
  • Aromatherapy is wonderful for helping calm and stabilize your moods. Essential oils affect both the mind and the body. Some that are very good for relaxation include chamomile, bergamot, sandalwood, lavender, and sweet marjoram.
  • Try not to take life so seriously. Learn to laugh!


Nutrition Webisode: The Health Benefits of Margaux’s Favorite Holiday Spices

In this nutrition webisode, I will tell you about three of my favorite spices that are most commonly used this time of year and share with you the health benefits of each one. Cinnamon is known to help prevent inflammation due to aging. It’s also a good spice for regulating blood sugar levels. Cloves are a good source of manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Nutmeg is great for pain relief, boosting your brain power, and aiding in indigestion.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc_BmY9PvdU]

Ask Margaux: Natural Ways to Beat Colds and Flus

Question from A.G. in North Carolina: “Margaux, I am having the worst year as far as getting sick goes. I just can’t seem to beat the flu! I feel terrible and all I want to do is sleep and isolate from the world. What are some natural things that I can do to help me get well? Thank you.”

Margaux’s Response: First of all, I am sorry to hear that you keep getting sick. That is not a lot of fun! When it comes to getting well, there are a few great things we can do from the comfort of our own home. The first thing (and most relaxing thing) is to take lots of hot baths to help fight the virus. I love to do this with epsom salts to help with detoxing out the “bugs” that are making me sick. I will sometimes soak in the tub two times a day! The other thing that you should do is watch your diet. Don’t load up on a lot of food, especially refined carbs and sugars, which are hard to digest. Your body should be focusing it’s energy on fighting off the illness and not on digesting your food. Drink plenty of fluids with an emphasis on good quality water.  Try organic ginger and mint tea to help with the symptoms associated with colds and flus. Get well soon!

The Health Benefits of Crimini Mushrooms

I think that mushrooms are fun to eat! Their spongy texture goes “poof” in my  mouth and their woody, earthy taste makes my taste buds incredibly happy. There are so many different types of mushrooms and they all have amazing health benefits. Crimini mushrooms are very popular and a can be used in a variety of recipes. These mushrooms look similar to White Button mushrooms but they have a darker color and a deeper “mushroomy” flavor. They are great for sautéing but especially wonderful for making stuffed mushrooms. You should be able to find them at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Here are some health benefits and interesting facts about crimini mushrooms.

  • The Egyptians believed that mushrooms granted them immortality, and since the pharaohs were felt to be worthy of this gift, the common people were not allowed to even touch mushrooms.
  • The Romans described mushrooms as “foods of the gods” and believed that they were created by the lightning rods thrown down to earth by the god Jupiter.
  • There really is no peak season for crimini mushrooms as they are available all year.
  • Preliminary research shows that crimini mushrooms may be an important food in a diet that is geared towards protecting against cancer. Extracts of crimini mushrooms have been found to protect DNA from oxidative damage.
  • These mushrooms may prevent the circulating levels of estrogen in the body from becoming excessive by inhibiting the aromatase enzyme. Excess estrogen can spark the development of breast cancer in some women.
  • Crimini mushrooms are loaded with riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6. These B vitamins are necessary for carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism.
  • There are numerous nutrients in crimini mushrooms including zinc, copper and manganese, fiber, magnesium and potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus, protein, and tryptophan.
  • There are only 31 calories in 5 ounces of raw crimini mushrooms.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Collard Greens

This cabbage-family vegetable is a staple of Southern cooking. It has a flavor that is a cross between cabbage and kale. Collard greens are native to the Mediterranean and were popular with both the ancient Greeks and Romans. This is the ultimate “leafy green vegetable” that is usually sold as a loose bunch of leaves, though you can get it frozen as well. Here are some of the health benefits of collard greens.

  • One cup of collard greens provides almost the same amount of calcium as 8 ounces of milk. It also contains a whopping 5 grams of fiber!
  • Collard greens are great sources of magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
  • These vegetables contain significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids that are outstanding for eye health.
  • Collard greens have sulfur-containing phytonutrients have been shown to prevent cancer.
  • If you are concerned with building or maintaining strong, healthy bones, be sure to eat lots of collard greens. They are a dairy-free alternative for those seeking foods rich in calcium. They are also a great source of folic acid and vitamin B6.
  • The stems of collard greens contain more fiber than the leaves.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Cilantro

This year, I decided to grow cilantro in my little garden and I love it! Cilantro bears a strong resemblance to Italian flat leaf parsley and it is sometimes called Chinese parsley. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions dating back to 5,000 BC. Today, cilantro is used in a variety of dishes including Indian, Chinese, and Latin American cuisines. It is also known as coriander; the seeds are used as a spice. Here are some of the health benefits of eating cilantro.

  • Cilantro contains numerous phytonutrients with antioxidant power. It also features a compound called dodecenal which has antimicrobial properties.
  • This plant is low in calories. 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro contains less than 1 calorie!
  • Always look for leaves that are firm and green as they are the most nutritious . Avoid cilantro that is yellow or has brown spots. Try to get organic cilantro (or grow your own).
  • Cilantro contains a powerful antibacterial compound that has been shown to be twice as effective in killing Salmonella as commonly used drugs.
  • Food scientists say that cilantro might be developed as a tasteless food additive to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Studies have shown that the seeds of cilantro (coriander) help stimulate the secretion of insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Coriander seeds were found in some studies to reduce the amount of damaged fats in cell membranes and lower levels of cholesterol and LDL.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

The Health Benefits of Black Beans

Beans, beans, the tooting food…Ok, I’ll act mature now. Seriously though, I love beans! I like to put them in everything, even breakfast foods. They are a favorite in Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean; black beans’ popularity has been increasing around the world. They are fabulous in a variety of recipes and are available dried and canned. Here are some of the health benefits of black beans.

  • Black beans are a concentrated source of both dietary fiber and folic acid. This has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Black beans also contain magnesium, which can improve the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the body.
  • Research has shown that there are at least eight different flavonoids in black bean’s color coats, which bestow this little bean with potent antioxidant power.
  • Black beans are a great source of protein. One cup has at least 15 grams which can provide us with a significant amount of our daily requirement of protein.
  • Black beans contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.
  • These beans can provide sustainable energy while promoting stabilized blood sugar levels. Black beans contain vitamin B1, which is instrumental in converting sugar into usable energy, as well as phosphorus, which is a component of ATP (the fuel that powers our cells).
  • It’s not a secret that beans can cause gas. This is because we cannot digest oligosaccharides, which are sugars found in beans. These sugars are consumed by bacteria in the gut and cause gas. To help eliminate the gas-factor, soak the beans overnight, drain the water, and soak beans in new fresh water before cooking. Always rinse beans (even canned) before cooking.

References

Mateljan, G. (2007). The Worlds Healthiest Foods. Seattle, WA: George Mateljan Foundation.

Nutrition Webisode: The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds and Ways to Include them in your Diet

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Have you guys discovered chia seeds yet? These little seeds are a super easy way to add a boost of nutrients to your diet. In this nutrition webisode, I share with you the health benefits of chia seeds and give you some ideas of ways to include them into your diet. Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqC9ivx7YLY]