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Wednesday, October 31

Healing Smoothie

Lately I've been experimenting with anti-inflammation smoothies and soups. As we get older, many of us battle inflammation. This is true with me. While this morning cocktail might not cure everything, it goes a long way to reducing inflammation and congestion. As you likely know, inflammation is implicated in everything from asthma and allergies, to arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's.

I notice an almost immediate improvement to my respiratory system when taking as little as half a pint of this combination. It's also quite the energy booster. Made in advance, there's no quicker healthier way to start the day. 

Healing Smoothie

Make the intensely flavoured, chunky base first, then turn it into a smoothie by adding water, pressed apple juice, green tea, or raw almond milk. It's a bit of work, but well worth the effort. 

This recipe makes about 4 liters. That's enough for about 8 large smoothies, or 16 smaller ones. 

What You Need 

Food Processor and Blender, or Juicer

Pineapple - 2 large
* Ginger - 200g/about half a pound of fresh ginger root
Bananas - 2 large
Wheatgrass - 2 tbs powder
Turmeric - 2 tbs
Cinnamon - 1 tbs
Apple Cider Vinegar - 60ml/1/4 cup
Balancing Liquid of your choice: Water, Juice, Green Tea, or Almond Milk
Ground Flaxseeds - 1 tsp each sprinkled on top, or stirred into each glass just before serving.

* Ginger can be very strong tasting for some people.  You might want start with half the ginger, about 100g/1/4 lb, working your way up from there. 

If you don't want the sugar of pineapple, use celery instead. I alternate between the two, but think the sweetness of the pineapple makes the drink tastier. 

Experiment with combinations, until you hit on the one that best suits you. 

What You Do

Peel pineapple and ginger. Cut into a size your food processor, or juicer, can comfortably handle. Process, in batches. It will still be quite chunky.

Peel and add bananas, wheatgrass powder, turmeric, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar.

Blend in food processor for about 30 seconds. 

Transfer mixture, in batches, to blender. Add half the pineapple/ginger mixture and half the balancing liquid of your choice (water, juice, green tea, or almond milk) Blend. Taste. Adjust thickness for your sipping pleasure. Pour into glasses. Top with ground flaxseed just before drinking. You'll need to make several batches in the blender. 

I make enough for several days, filling glasses and covering them with cling film before refrigerating. Don't add flaxseeds until you're ready to drink.

While Lovers Kitchen is devoted to fabulous meals, fun and romance, sometimes we need a little extra help to feel our best. This is an alphabetized short list of the anti-inflammation foods I try to include in my diet. 

Woman does not live on pork knuckle and fried chicken alone.

Apple Cider Vinegar (go for raw, organic) is made from fermentation.  It starts as apple juice, then turns to apple cider, and finally into apple cider vinegar. Fermented foods are great for our digestive system, are rich in enzymes, and help us absorb more nutrients in food. Adding 1 tsp a day to your diet will make a significant difference. Shown to relieve seasonal allergies and sinus infections; aids in weight loss and detoxing the body; As if that's not enough, it's also good for your skin.
Blueberries not only reduce inflammation, they can protect the brain from aging and prevent diseases, such as cancer and dementia. Aim for organic berries, as pesticides are hard to eliminate from this small, powerful fruit.

Celery: The polyacetylene in celery offers an amazing relief for all inflammation including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, asthma and bronchitis.

Chia Seeds: In pre-Columbian times Chia Seeds were important to Aztec and Mayan diets. One tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin. 

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. The seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.  

Cinnamon is thought to be another great ally fighting inflammation. It's a good source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Studies have shown that just 1/2 tsp of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Cranberry contains the form of vitamin E known as alpha-tocopherol, which can reduce inflammation. 

Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower are loaded with antioxidants. Naturally detoxifying, they can help rid the body of harmful compounds.

FISH: Wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, bluefish, black cod, and albacore tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the unsaturated fats our bodies require for optimum health. Supplementing our diet with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory disorders, and mental and emotional problems. It can also help treat depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. 
Try fresh sardines, grilled with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice. Or make a spread from canned sardines, packed in olive oil, or water. Mash them with grilled tomatoes, chopped parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil. Spread generously on whole grain toast, or combine with low fat cottage cheese, an excellent blending food. Top with a bit of fresh ground pepper. 
Fish Oil and Flaxseed Oil: Both high in essential omega-3′s, good for heart healthy, joint mobility, energy and endurance, mental health, skin, hair, and nails. 
Garlic can help reduce inflammation, regulate glucose and assist your body in fighting infection. 
Ginger contains a host of health benefits. Among them, it helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. 

Green Tea contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that may even help reduce the risks of certain cancers. 

Kelp: High in fiber, this brown algae extract helps control liver and lung cancer, douses inflammation, and is anti-tumor and anti-oxidative. 

Olive Oil: The secret to longevity in Mediterranean culture, this oil provides a healthy dose of fats that fights inflammation. It can help lower risks of asthma and arthritis, as well as protect the heart and blood vessels. 

Pineapple: Bromelain, the key enzyme in pineapple, banishes inflammation as effectively as drugs. It reduces swelling, helps against sore throat, treats arthritis and gout, and speeds digestion of proteins. Research shows pineapple to be highly effective at cancer prevention and treatment. Be sure to include the core as that's where most the benefit is. It's in the stem too but I have yet to figure out how to make it edible. Pineapple steam soup?

Sage is a stimulant, a diuretic and an expectorant. It boosts memory and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial as well as anxiolytic properties (reduces anxiety) In addition it provides antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic effects. Because of these characteristics, sage tea provides many benefits. It's considered beneficial to patients with diabetes. It's also thought to be helpful in treating graying hair and thinning hair. 

Sweet Potato: A great source of complex carbs, fiber, beta-carotene, manganese and vitamin B6, and C. These delicious potatoes help heal inflammation in the body. 

Turmeric: This powerful Asian wonder root comes from the same family as ginger. It contains the natural anti-inflammatory compound curcuma longa. It is said to have the same effect as over-the counter pain relievers, without the side effects. If you get the chance, try the root itself, peeling it and grating as you would ginger.

There's strong evidence that turmeric contains agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstructs cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease. It has also been proven equally effective combating arthritis and cancer.  

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, "Adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves toward optimal health you can make. There are extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores; look for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily, or as directed on the product."

Walnuts deliver the most omega-3 fatty acids and contain the antioxidant ellagic acid, which supports the immune system.
Wheatgrass contains all the essential amino acids (our body’s building blocks) it has many trace vitamins A, B, and E, and also calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and high amounts of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is essential to purify the blood, and remove toxic metals stored in the tissue. It Improves digestion and helps you sleep. It can also reduce high blood pressure.  It's claimed drinking wheatgrass daily helps turn gray hair back to it’s original color. hmmm . . .  There's an idea. Too bad it doesn't taste better.