Tweaklet #42 – Lemons

Lemons are one of those things that people swear by. From cleaning pots and polishing furniture to using lemons as a bug spray, they are everyone’s favourite cure-all.

And in fact their use in our diets is very versatile and beneficial. Because they are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, lemons help boost our immune systems and fight inflammation. And we know, don’t we, that inflammation is at the root of so many health issues and diseases.
Fighting rogue cells in the body, like those that form cancer cells, are definitely part of a lemon’s life work.

Lemons also help prevent kidney stones, increase iron absorption and improve the health of your skin.

The interesting thing is that lemons, with their ultra-tart taste, are thought of as very acidic, yet inside our bodies they are highly alkaline, so that means they are great for restoring a healthy balance in our gut.

Perhaps their most impressive benefit is their effect on heart health. Again the high levels of vitamin C make them the most beneficial, out of any fruit or vegetable, in keeping our hearts healthy and strong.

I find the easiest way to include lemons in my diet is with a daily hot water drink with a slice of lemon and grated ginger. I have it before anything else most days. It’s like drinking a cup of absolute goodness and even if the rest of my day’s eating goes horribly wrong, at least I know I’ve given myself a real lemon boost.

So when life gives you lemons……..consider yourself lucky!

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Tweaklet #37 – Fermented Foods

If you’ve been tuning into Tweaklets for a while, you know I often talk about gut health and what a difference a healthy gut makes to our overall health.

Well, today I have another good way to improve our digestion, boost our immunity and help with our weight, which is by eating fermented foods. Those familiar with the concept of fermented foods will cheer and those new too it will shudder. Food that’s been fermented?

I know I get it, I shuddered too!

Fermented foods contain a whole lot of good bacteria (otherwise known as probiotics)….. and research suggests that these mighty microbes help look after our gut.

Here are some fermented foods you can have fun making.

Sauerkraut… t’s not just something you have with German sausage, it’s been around for thousands of years. All it is, is cabbage and salt. Choose a good quality sea salt and add it to your cabbage and then massage the cabbage very well until breaks down and releases all its liquid. Then you simply put it in a well-sealed jar, put it in a dark place in the cupboard and leave for a couple of weeks. It’s delicious and versatile and so good for your gut!

If you like spicy food then try kim chi, the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut. There are many different recipes for this that range from simply adding chilli to a sauerkraut recipe, to the more authentic style that includes adding Asian radish, ginger, green onions, nori, and garlic.  It’s a really interesting process to watch and learn.

Other top fermented foods included Kefir – a fermented yoghurt drink….. Kombucha – a tangy fermented tea. …….Miso – a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans which can be used as a soup or dressing………Tempeh, which is similar to tofu but fermented………and yoghurt.

Fermented food is all about boosting our gut and digestive function and that means better immunity and all-round better health!

So take a look at some recipes and see if one of them appeals to you. Just don’t do what I did and forget about some jars of sauerkraut I made, only to find them a VERY long time later in the back of the cupboard.

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Tweaklet #35 – Fish

I know cooking fish can be a bit divisive!

It can be slimy to handle. When it cooks it can be smelly. Do you buy fresh or frozen and how do you deal with a whole fish?

Don’t worry, I completely understand. I love eating fish and I know healthwise it’s really worthwhile, for all those fabulous omega threes that keep our hearts healthy and stave off cancer and inflammation, but I have to admit I am not the bravest when it comes to dealing with fish.

I’ve got a few tips though about choosing fish and about cooking it so that your hands and your home remain smell-free!

Fish types vary from region to region but a few things are true everywhere.
Firstly, buy from the best source possible as you want to avoid farmed fish.

Generally speaking, farmed fish does not have the same level of nutrients, can cause inflammation and they are often treated with antibiotics which we don’t want to be eating.

When it comes to buying frozen or fresh – fresh is great if you know that it really is fresh. A lot of fish is frozen on the boats these days so arguably frozen could mean fresher. Just do your best to still buy a local fish as a lot of frozen fish travels a very long way and can have been in the deep freeze for many months.

Now to the fun cooking part! If you have some reasonably firm fillets, like salmon or cod or whatever your local robust fish is, you can make a lovely almond crust and bake it in the oven, or wrap each one up in baking paper along with some Asian flavours of garlic and chilli and ginger and a little tamari and bake them in the oven.

Making a light curry is also great for flaky fish. Then for lighter more delicate fish you can dust the fillets with spices and simply pan fry them in a little olive oil or coconut oil.

Of course there are endless options for cooking fish and we’ll do more of that in the cooking series but for now, go on, be brave, and buy some fish!

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Tweaklet #30 Ginger – Powerful and Delicious

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE ginger! I make a ginger and lemon hot water drink every morning before I drink anything else. Freshly grated ginger! Yum. It goes into most dishes I cook –sweet and savoury.

I’m sure you find that there are certain foods that you are naturally drawn too? Well, ginger is one of mine.

It’s been around forever and is known for its powerful medicinal properties in both traditional and alternative medicine.

It’s a health enhancer in so many ways. It helps with upset stomachs such as morning sickness and motion sickness…….. It reduces the kind of inflammation that most commonly contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis and brain disorders. Its powerful antioxidant qualities can help prevent, slow down or even stop serious diseases in their tracks.

Ginger eases menstrual pains…. fights fungal infections…… protects against stomach ulcers….regulates blood sugar……lowers cholesterol…. Relieves joint and muscle pain……and promotes good gut health.

Fresh ginger can be grated into literally every dish, pretty much. Just scrape back the skin with your fingernail or peel it back. Add it into soups, stews, stir-fries……. Meat dishes…..Veggie dishes……Juice it or add it to smoothies. Then, of course, you can also generously sprinkle dry ginger into your food or use ginger essential oil or buy a ginger supplement.

Ah ginger….,my , zesty peppery, delicious and nutritious friend, you’re the best!

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Tweaklet #28 Tumeric – the healing power of yellow!

One spice that you just can’t help knowing something about is Turmeric! This glorious golden spice is so vibrant and its magnificence goes far beyond its place as the number one spice in Indian cuisine, this is a powder that for centuries has been used to heal the body both inside and outside.

Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It’s well known for speeding up the healing process of wounds and skin conditions. It’s great for digestion and has powerful antioxidant properties which can protect your liver and other organs from being damaged by strong drugs.

I really don’t use enough Turmeric which is what has prompted me to do this particular Tweaklet, so let’s look at ways to include this fabulous health booster into our diets.

Tumeric is a member of the ginger family and as you already know I love ginger! Depending on where you live you may find turmeric fresh and can grate it into your favourite stir fries, soups and savoury dishes.

If you only have access to powdered Turmeric you can sprinkle it into eggs….. greens……. Rice……. roasted vegetables …..and meat dishes or use it as a rub. You can add it into dressings…….. and sauces and put turmeric into your smoothies and tea.  Just sprinkle away and be generous!

For those of you who want to make full use of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties, look up recipes for golden milk. I haven’t tried making it yet but I will and we can then compare notes!

So that’s our golden Tweaklet for today – turmeric! I’d love to know how you include Turmeric in your daily diet.

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