Spring time. I love it. I love the little buds on the trees, the tulips starting to come up and no more long johns, yippee! The desire to feel the sun on my skin and absorb real vitamin D has me wearing less clothes than the temperature outside agrees with. This, along with all those new spores of life floating around, can lead to colds and those annoying allergies, ruining all my flower sniffing abilities. But instead of popping cold pills like Pez candy and walking around like you're on speed, how about a good old fashioned healthy remedy that you can make in about 5 minutes? I'm going to give it to you but, of course, I'm also going to give you the breakdown of the wonders of these ingredients. It's astonishing to me that people have been healing themselves naturally since the beginning of civilization, yet since pharmaceuticals have taken over the world, we just trust that masking our symptoms with drugs is better for us. Do you ever stop to wonder about that? Do you ever think that artificially flavoured honey lemon lozenges can't really be better for you than real lemon and honey? Taking Neo Citroen before bed either puts me into a coma or has me sweating and shaking like a junkie going through withdrawals, how can this be helping my cold, really? You can go to www.drugs.com and look up decongestants and analgesics, which is what our over the counter cold and flu remedies fall under. The lists of warnings and side affects are overwhelming. One of the many side effects of ibuprofen was, "If you are vomiting blood or anything that resembles coffee grounds, please consult your physician." What the hell? The common warnings, such as "Do not take if you have the following health issues" or "Take only as directed," "Dose not likely to cause problems or birth defects in fetuses," kind of creeps me out. Not likely, um, I don't know if I'm willing to chance myself on a not likely. What if the warning said, "Your head might explode?" Would you still chance it? No, right? But are warnings like: convulsions, seizures, hallucinations, mental changes, severe stomach cramps okay with you? I have a dear friend that had a severe reaction to Tylenol. When he shared his story with me he felt, in his words, at the time, he was going to die. This friend is a very cool, stand up, kinda tough, guy, so to hear this from him meant it was pretty serious. I'm not saying to never take a pill ever again, I'm just suggesting to maybe try a remedy that could work and not have to be taken with food to protect your stomach walls from rotting. So, my little remedy is simple. Raw honey, fresh ginger, fresh lemon, raw crushed garlic and some cinnamon. I'm going to cover the healing properties of these special guys and give you a recipe. For those of you that really care and are food nerds, read on, the rest can just trust me and skip to the drink portion.
It must be raw honey. Raw honey has all the good stuff. Heating it kills all the live enzymes and nutritional elements. Raw honey is an alkaline forming food which means it doesn't ferment in your stomach, this is great for digestion. It contains B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, amino acids, calcium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and a healthy glycemic index. This means it's naturally occurring sugars can be gradually absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in better digestion. It also contains amylase, an enzyme which helps pre digest starchy foods. Raw honey has 5000 live enzymes. It is an antioxidant and proven immune booster. It helps metabolize cholesterol and fatty acids and is a wonderful sugar replacement. Refined sugar is void of any vitamins and minerals. The body has to use it's own valuable nutrients to digest it. Raw honey supplies energy. It has been shown to boost performance, endurance and reduce muscle fatigue in athletes. When mixed with lemon and ginger, it relieves nausea, soothes sore throats and helps to relax you. So take that cough syrup! Raw honey kicks butt! Raw honey is available at all health food stores and in some grocery stores. **It must be unpasteurized, raw honey you are buying, anything else will be vitamin, enzyme and nutrient free. (p.s. Manuka raw honey is the best)
This little gem of a root has 12 antioxidants. It has been used for healing for as long as we've recorded history. It is a rubefacient which means it can be applied topically to skin. It causes the skin to warm up, the blood rushes to the area and brings relief. This applies to sore throats. Ginger has antiviral compounds which are effective against reducing the common cold and flu symptoms. It is also an anti inflammatory and has been used in relief for joint diseases, arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis. Ginger lowers cholesterol. It releases an enzyme that aids in digestion and gives relief from nausea, bloating and gas. Some other good things are protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and fiber, all which live in the ginger crib. But even more impressive is that studies done at the University of Maryland recently showed that ginger effectively killed human ovarian and colorectal cancer cells in laboratory tests. Obviously not a cure, but I don't think your Contact C pills can do that.
A lemon is a natural antiseptic. That means it is an agent preventing sepsis(the presence of pathogen bacteria). It is anti scorbic, it prevents disease by cleansing the system of impurities. It is loaded with Vitamin C. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals in the body. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells in the body, damaging them and causing inflammation and swelling. Lemons have unique flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti cancer properties. Laboratory tests with human cells using citrus fruits tested positively in fighting cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Lemons are heartburn, bloating and digestive aids. Lemon juice alleviates constipation and cleanses the liver and kidneys. Hmmm, what else? Oh ya, lemon juice flushes out bad bacteria in the urinary tract, kills intestinal worms, dislodges phlegm and cleans the mouth. *Tip: suck on a lemon if you think someone is going to kiss you. So, how's that for some good stuff? Most importantly, natural vitamin C is considerably more effective than synthetic vitamin C and when mixed with ginger and raw honey, is absorbed properly into the body. "Eat an orange, avoid a pill," that should be your mantra.
I love garlic, love it! I know some people have sensitivities or don't like it, so you may omit this from the drink. But it's really good for you. If you do omit it from your drink, try to have some crushed up in a salad dressing or how ever you like, just make sure it's raw so you benefit from all the good stuff.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic. Numerous studies have proven it to be a bacterial, fungal and virus killing machine. Go Garlic Go! The added bonus is that the body doesn't build up a natural resistance to garlic like it does prescribed antibiotics. Garlic has been proven to lower cholesterol as well. Wow, take ginger, lemon, honey and garlic all together and your arteries will function like a Indy 500 racetrack.
*Important: Garlic contains the amino acid alliin. When crushed and chopped, garlic releases the enzyme allinase which acts as a catalyst to transform alliin to allicin. Allicin is a powerful antibiotic. Unfortunately, cooking kills allicin and not chopping garlic keeps allicin from forming, so...you have to eat garlic raw and chopped to reap it's rewards.
Refrigeration may slow the degradation but the longer it sits the more it loses it's health benefits. Do not buy pre chopped garlic, garlic paste or pickled garlic if you want to use it for your health. Buy it fresh, chop it yourself. It's easy. It takes about 30 seconds, I timed it, seriously.
The U.S Department of Agriculture recently released a study that showed reduced proliferation of Leukemia and Lymphoma cancer cells using cinnamon. Copenhagen University conducted a study over 5 years with over 700 arthritis sufferers. They were given 1/2 tsp of cinnamon with 1/2 tsp of raw honey daily. Patients saw a significant relief in pain after only one week and were able to walk without pain after only one month. Cinnamon has been proven to have a regulatory effect on the blood and blood sugar levels and is now being suggested as a daily supplement to Type 2 diabetes patients. Only 1/2 tsp of cinnamon a day has been shown by numerous studies to lower cholesterol. Cinnamon is high in manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. Bring on the cinnamon baby!
Whew, that was a lot of information. You don't have to take it all in right now, look back and peruse it at your leisure. But at least think about all the great things nature has given us? Whether you believe in God or not, something designed this universe. And when you look at how we all develop, grow and live from something as simple as an amoeba to a complex human being, all the tools to survive have been given to us by nature. Did you know that 25% of all the drugs manufactured come from only 1% of natural sources? The rest are completely synthetic, trying to copy what is already there, right in front of us. My great grandmother lived to 100 years old. She took long walks everyday. There was no such thing as Xanax, Lipitor or Extra Strength Dristan in her day. She had her tea with lemon and honey and a "wee droppie" of scotch, everyday. If she was sick, a mustard poultice was smeared on her chest and she went to bed. She had to make her food, not microwave it. I think all of this matters. It really does. Drink your Food Bully Tea, do it!
The Food Bully "Kickin Up Yo' Health" Tea
I should also mention that Justin and I drink this almost every day. Neither of us have been sick in over two years.
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp raw honey
1 tsp cinnamon
organic white, green or herbal tea of your choice
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
Fill the kettle, boil water. Meanwhile divide ginger into two tea cups. Place 1 tsp of raw honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, juice of half a lemon and a tea bag into each cup. Pour boiled water over and let steep 2-3 minutes. You may filter or strain tea but the chunks of ginger are good for you. If using the garlic, stir in at the last minute to preserve nutrients. Have this once a day if healthy, but if you are sick, drink 3-4 times a day.