Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
Digestion is an interplay between your body and your food. The food you eat directly impacts your digestive health. This means that every bite is an opportunity to heal, protect, and support digestion.
Adding flavor to your food at home with herbs and spices is an easy add that will make a huge impact on bloating, indigestion, GRD, intestinal churning, and intestinal gas.
Here are the top five that we use at jolie for maximum health impact and flavor.
1. Lemon. Technically not an herb, but in cooking it is used as one. Many digestive and absorption issues begin in the stomach. Low digestive enzymes prevent adequate breakdown of food prior to emptying into the small intestine leading to painful digestion and malabsorption. Adding lemon naturally increases digestive enzymes allowing food to be more completely digested.
2. Parsley is in many jolie dishes - finely chopped so the flavor does not become too strong. Parsley helps reduce intestinal gas and maintain regularity. We prefer flat leaf parsley for texture and flavor.
3. Cumin enhances the activity of digestive enzymes and aids in the production of bile which you need to digest fats - both plant and animal based fats. Using ground cumin is easiest. Add it when you are cooking the onion and garlic base of a dish or a sprinkle before roasting vegetables.
4. Ginger you know as an anti-inflammatory, but it also soothes the stomach, reduces nausea, gas, bloating, and intestinal spasms. We prefer to use fresh ginger in sauces and cooked dishes. You receive maximum benefit this way and can more easily control the flavor by how finely you chop or grate the ginger.
5. Coriander is an herb and spice. We use both. The fresh herb is added to a dish raw. The spice is used in the initial stages of cooking. Coriander is great for speeding up recovery from stomach illnesses and diarrhea. It is also being research as an plant medicine for colitis and ulcers.
6. Here is your + 1 - Turmeric helps the stomach by reducing bloating, heartburn, and gas. It too is an anti-inflammatory that also benefits digestion. Turmeric we use fresh and powdered. I prefer fresh turmeric for flavor, however, at home it is easier to incorporate a sprinkle of turmeric in your dishes.
Many of these you can benefit from in a tea form. Our Digestive Tea (soon to be renamed Happy Belly) contains all the herbs above except parsley. It also has other spices that benefit digestion that we didn't mention.
Another way to integrate these spices is with the jolie Digestive Spice blend which contains cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper. You can also make your own by blending the above spices. Use 1/4 teaspoon per 2 person serving - if you want the spices to be more faint, use less.
Just like we were forced to yield to the hormonal changes of our teenage years, in this other part of our life we also must surrender to and find new ways to take care of our bodies.
A big salad at lunch is a game changer for health. I remember reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and her confession that, “what happened is, is that you change what your palate wants. I'm suddenly craving fish and salad."
A huge part of jolie is The Salad. It is also one of the most challenging for clients. Somehow - I think it was the iceberg salads of the 80s - salads are seen as the quintessential diet, deprivation food. But, it’s all in your mindset.
Let’s talk about mindset. The mindset that gets me to eating another salad, to actually craving my salad, is first, I look forward to it. As 11 rolls around I start anticipating my salad. I look forward to sitting down, taking a break, and enjoying my lunch. I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors, to all the crunchiness, to the taste of olive oil, the creaminess of avocado or sweetness of fruit. I look forward to the nuts or seeds. I look forward to the variety of lettuce, herbs, and veggies. I look forward to what is seasonal in the salad that I can only have at that time.
I also have a ritual around my salad. I get out a large silver bowl. I dump the salad in and pour the seeds, nuts, and dressing over it and toss with two spoons. Then I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pile it on to my favorite white (great color contrast), shallow salad bowl. I sit down. I take a moment of gratitude and enjoy.
I love how full, but light I feel afterwards. I love the variety of flavors. I love how clean my palate feels. Ummm.
You can look at your salad like that. Or, you can say to yourself, “Another salad. I know it’s good for me. It’s going to make me healthier. It helps my digestion. I know my skin loves it. It will help me get these pounds off. They say it will bring down my inflammation.” That too is a mindset.
Choose to cultivate a mindset that makes you feel good and excited about the choices you make. Choose to look at your food in a way that supports your choice to give yourself the best. When you set down to your next salad, think about how awesome it is that you are gifting yourself this bowl of amazingness that is going to energize you and make you feel great.
Learning to take on a mindset that supports you is a tool you can use over and over - whether it is making financial changes so you can switch jobs, training for a marathon, or going back to school. Mindset and self talk is a power tool we can use FOR us!
On the road to health transformation, our food rituals sometimes need to be reframed. One ritual common to many is using food or drink to relax, release frustration, or as an end of the day reward. Often, however, these habits don’t support our health goals or add a few unwanted pounds.
One of my “relearns” when losing weight after Eli was learning to relax without food or wine. Learning to uncouple food and relaxation allowed me to reach health goals faster, grow as a person as I learned new ways to nurture myself, and I began to relax in ways that I didn’t regret later.
When we want to relax, we are looking for relief -from the day, a feeling, or tiredness. I looked at how I felt toward the end of the day from both the cause and effect level. By 7 I was exhausted, so I looked for ways to make my day less exhausting, stressful, and draining. Then I looked at what was available to me as other ways to relax.
Out of the first inquiry came the ever changing list I wrote about last week, “How to Make My Life Easier.” If you missed it, you can find it on our blog. Hopefully, you made your own list and are on the road to making your life easier.
I also made a Pleasure List for new ways to unwind. These are things that give me joy, that are easily accessible (like food), make me feel good (like food), and have no potential downside (unlike relaxation snacking).
Some of the items on the Pleasure List are:
Now write your own Pleasure List of easily accessible ways to relax.
Actively use your two lists. As the day winds down today choose a new way to relax and reward yourself for all your efforts today. Learning new ways to nourish yourself and stay aligned to your goals will build your momentum of showing up for yourself and trusting your ability to nurture yourself.
Being uncomfortable is a quality of change in progress. I work with many clients who are healing their bodies through food. Most come with the expectation of deprivation - needing to cut out tasty food and their favorite foods.
The knee jerk reaction we have when our doctor says our cholesterol is out of whack, or we get pre-diabetic numbers, or the scale goes into scary territory is to cut, eliminate, and forbid certain foods. Our actions are the equivalent to slash and burn agriculture. Unfortunately, the results are similar too. We end up in a cycle in unsustainability where our willpower is depleted, and like the used up land, we abandon our goals.
I want you to know you don’t have to go into deprivation.
Deprivation is not a sustainable way to live. There is no joy there. It leaves us seeking cheat days, binge weekends, and eventually we get close enough to our goal that the pain of continuing our diet of deprivation is worse than the angst that started us off. When that happens, we stop and end up back where we started.
I want you to be willing to be uncomfortable. But here is the key, the discomfort that needs to come and be worked through is mental - you will have to change your mindset.
My most successful clients are willing to take the dietary changes that need to be made slowly. The pace allows them to do the mental work that reteaches them how to eat, changes the relationship they have with themselves, and gives them a way of eating they can commit to for the rest of their lives.
If you are reading this, you probably have a health goal right now. I am going to help you see some small changes you can make now. Think of all the foods you eat that are not aligned with your health goals. Make a list of them. These are your yellow light foods.
Now think of all the foods you eat that are aligned with your health goals. Make a list of those - these are your green light foods. From a place of love, decide what you are eating tomorrow. What can you decide to eat tomorrow that will support you in moving closer to your goal?
Write down all your meals and your snacks that you are choosing for yourself. You can include as many green light foods as you want to eat tomorrow; then choose something from the yellow light list that you choose to eat tomorrow.
Tomorrow you will eat your pre-decided foods. The list is not one of deprivation, but of choice. Now, we get uncomfortable There will be things you want to eat tomorrow that are not on your plan. But, we are going to show up for ourselves. The next day we can include them if we want.
Food is tied with emotions. So, as you sit in discomfort know that it is okay, it is normal, and you are being there for yourself. Frustration, tiredness, exhaustion, restlessness may all come. It’s okay. You will gently hold yourself through it.
Taking each day as described above will create lasting change.
In my body transformation, my first commitment was to exercise daily for 20 minutes. My second commitment was to eat the plants first. Every time I sat down for a meal, I first had to eat all the vegetables and fruits and then I could enjoy everything else.
This goal was twofold. First, I found that I was attracted to the meat or carb on the plate first. When I finished those, I had little desire for the plants and usually left them on the plate. So by eating the plants first, I was ensuring that I get the “good for my body” stuff first. The plants contain the immune fortifying, age defying, and gut nourishing substance you need.
The second benefit was that I filled up first on the nutritionally dense, but calorically low foods. .So after having my vegetables, I always ended up eating less high calorie food such as meat, fats, and carbs. The end result was that I lost weight and ensured my body was getting everything It needed nutritionally.
As the weather cools, they become less bitter, but still are great support for your digestive flora and help detoxify the liver. I use dandelion sprouts for me and my clients because they are more nutritionally potent and have a softer texture. I also use them in salads chopped finely. This year I grew an Italian variety in the garden for a steady supply.
Heart Opener is my favorite yoga pose. It allows you to clear your head, release stress, and to feel more open to the light and love which surround you. 10-15 minutes a day is transformative. I am focusing on my ability to receive more, so I wish to increase my energetic openness to the love and support of the universe.
To do it place a yoga block on a cushion. Gently lower yourself with the lower edge of the block hitting where your bra strap comes across.your back. Relax for 10-15 minutes.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.