Friday, July 15, 2011

Food as Medicine? How do you maintain your health?

  Have you ever wondered how you can increase your intake of a vitamin or mineral in it's most natural form, - ( an easy to digest food vs. highly processed vitamin?) but are not sure how?
   Or have you ever wished that herbs and vegetables came with an easy to read 'nutritional information' list like do most processed foods?  Wish no more!!

                                     Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs

A book I purchased last year I have really been enjoying lately is Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pederson.
Loads of herbs, (and what are listed as 'minor herbs', which includes apples, cabbage, wheat germ, etc.) have their own chart, listing calories, vitamins, and minerals along with suggested benefits and uses. There is even a section that analizes herb combinations.

   Here is an excerpt from the introduction of the book.

 'Since herbology deals with using plants as medicines, it might seem strage that the title of this book is  Nutritional Herbology.  Are not medicines and nutrients two separate and distinct things?  In western society, we do think of medicines and foods differently.  After all, there is a big difference between a bottle of aspirin we buy for our headache, and the carrots we put on our dinner table.

  But what about something like garlic? You can buy garlic in the produce section of the market right next to the onions and celery. Studies have shown that garlic lowers blood cholesterol overls, reduces blood pressure and kills bacteria. These are medicinal quatlities. Is garlic a medicine or food?'

    I love the idea of living a 'whole' life. One that understands the effects our choices in every area; physical, spiritual, and mental have on us. I love the idea of learning so that I can make wise, informed choices in life.

   For example, since I do not digest milk well, and have a daughter with milk allergies, - I am always trying to find other high calcium foods to work into our diet. To my surprise, I discovered in this book that cabbage is extreemely high, with 2,910 mg per 100gm. (on a zero moisture basis)
Stinging Nettle, which is in my Raspberry Leaf Tea mix from Bulk Herb Store, is almost as high at 2900 mg. 

     Though I don't really care for raw cabbage, such as in coleslaw, I do love it cooked down with onions. My family loves this with mashed potatoes and grilled Kolbasa sausage. Not only is this a tastey, low calorie side dish, I now know it is a fantastic way to work more calcium rich foods into our diet. I also love the fact that God gave a common 'poor man's food' that has been a staple in many countries in times of poverty such an important benefit.

  This book has been a great resource and I would highly recomend it.

My personal beliefe is that no-one cares about your health more than you, and the better educated you are, and the harder you work toward a healthy, balanced life, the more you and your family will benefit.
   However I do have one caution. - Since I do believe in the power of herbs, I do believe they require caution in use. If they have strong qualities that can benefit us, they can also hurt us if used improperly or without proper understanding not only of their specific qualities but used in combination with other herbs.

This being said, - I also believe there are many 'dangerous' foods (GMO, highly processed, etc.) and other toxic cleaners etc. that we don't even consider as harmful since they are such an accepted part of our American life.

This is an article that is full of quotes of research and studies looking at the effects of soda (carbonated soft drinks) on us. (A huge problem for absorbing and retaining calcium. - Meaning not only should I add calcium high foods, but eliminate the foods that reduce the calcium I do have.- Once again, food as 'medicine'!? :)

This article is about 5 calcium stealers you should know about. - Especially key for anyone with thyroid trouble. (a hereditary problem in my family)

Is there something you wish you want to improve in your diet? Do you have an area you want to learn more about?

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