Flu Fighting Foods – From Apples to Hot Toddies

apples
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – Your mother probably told you that, and she was right! It’s amazing how well we can prevent disease through simple nutrition alone, even during flu season (yes, even during THIS flu season!). Here are some scientifically proven snacks that have the power to prevent – or at least shorten the duration – of colds and flu. Give your body the weapons it needs to fight!

Apples to the Rescue!

Apples not only have Vitamin C, they also contain flavanoids (which help prevent heard disease), antioxidants (which prevent cancers), phenols (which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol), phytonutrients (prevent neurodegenerative diseases), and antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay.

Make Room for Mushrooms

Cremini, portobello, and white button mushrooms are sources of beta-glucan – a dietary fiber that reduces risk for disease and infections by activating the immune system. Barley is another great source for beta-glucan. Try sauteing them with some garlic and olive oil for an anti-bacterial and antimicrobial boost.

Time for Tea (or a Hot Toddy)*

Tea with honey not only feels great on a sore throat, it packs an antibacterial and antiviral one-two-punch. Kick it up a notch by adding a shot of brandy, lemon, and a slice of fresh ginger (antibacterial properties!) for some added cold comfort. Either way, you’ll also benefit from tea’s antioxidants.

Chicken Noodle Soup for Body & Soul

Chicken noodle soup is an anti-inflammatory, especially when it comes to inflammation of the nasal passageways. In fact, Dr. Irwin Ziment at the UCLA School for Medicine found that chicken soup contains “drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines,” even one that’s commonly prescribed for bronchitis.

Recipe for a Hot Ginger Toddy

In a large mug, combine:

  • 2 Tb Honey
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • Thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tea bag of your favorite black tea
  • Fill with boiling water
  • Top with a lemon slice

Keep out of reach of children.

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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Celery and Garlic Juice

No, this title isn’t about your state of being two weeks after making your New Year’s Resolutions (you’ve stuck to them like glue, right?). It’s the title of a 2010 documentary (which you’ve probably heard of) that follows Joe Cross for 60 days as he does an extended juice fast to regain his health.

And, he has a lot of health problems. Starting the film, he weighs in at 309 pounds and is on steroid medications to treat a rare autoimmune disorder. The drugs, of course, were only treating the symptoms, not the underlying issues, so Cross loads up his car with a generator and a juicer, fruits and vegetables, and takes off on a cross-country road trip around America for two months filming a documentary on health.

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and water. That’s it.

Yes, he loses a lot of weight. But the most interesting part of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is how he – and the truck driver he meets and gets started juicing – are able to go off their medications entirely. They heal themselves through nutrition and exercise alone!

Both men’s juice fasts are doctor-supervised, and the morbidly obese truck driver ended up losing 91 pounds in 60 days. That’s a very long fast, but even if you want to try a shorter fast, you can accomplish a lot. After just 10 days, he had lost 30 pounds. Of course, if you’re within a relatively healthy weight range already, you may not see such dramatic results – which is a good thing.

Whether or not you want to commit to a life of raw plant-based foods and juice, this is a fascinating film that shows us just how much power we have over our health and wellness. And – it’s inspiring. The sales of the Breville juicer Cross uses went sky high after this movie came out!

3 Things You Should Know About Juice Fasts

  1. The first few days of a juice fast are tough, especially when your social life revolves around eating. It can feel very isolating. But once you blast through the first few days, your energy increases and you start to look and feel better than ever. I’d say that’s worth it, wouldn’t you?
  2. Liquids are more rapidly absorbed than whole foods, which means the micro-nutrients in the juiced vegetables and fruits are more readily available for the body to use.
  3. Forget the juice at the grocery store – by the time it reaches the shelves, it’s been so processed that it’s practically sugar water.

Curious? Try a 3-day juice cleanse for just $195. We do the hard work (and the cleanup) for you.

“But wait! I’ll gain it all back in a week!”

One of the key facts about juice cleanses and fasts that don’t get as much press is the issue of re-bounding. You know how it goes – you start a diet, or one of those “fat flushes,” and you lose a little weight, but once the diet ends you gain the weight back. When you fast on micro-nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans for a week, your brain chemistry that craves all those bad-for-you foods changes. You’ll find yourself able to control cravings better than you ever have before for long-lasting results. Just don’t spike your blood sugar with a celebratory donut, okay?

Sweet and Tangy Breakfast Juice Recipe (in case you bought that Breville juicer!)

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 bunch parsley
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Top 5 Health Trends for 2014 – Predictions!

Rainbow chard organic produceFood trends come and go – hey, remember when we were all chugging wheatgrass? But while these trends usually have real merit, it’s the ones that we can incorporate into our everyday lifestyles that really have the power to make a difference in our health. With that in mind, let’s look at some health food predictions for 2014 from Innova Market Insights.

  1. More heirloom vegetables! Who doesn’t love heirloom tomatoes. The big, richly flavored, colorful tomatoes have created a permanent home for themselves in my kitchen. But they’re not the only heirloom vegetables out there, and we’ll probably be seeing more parsnips, artichokes and kale varieties in the coming year.
  2. “New” ancient grains. Quinoa has become a significant part of our diets over the past few years, and other grains are waiting in the wings to be the next big thing. You might start seeing chia and freekeh on store shelves soon.
  3. More gluten-free foods. With gluten free flours coming out in force, expect to see more GF offerings everywhere.
  4. Holistic diets. This is a trend we’ve all been waiting for. A more holistic approach to nutrition that doesn’t demonize entire cross-sections of the food pyramid, but instead respects that each type of nutrition has its place in a healthy, balanced diet. Even our juice cleanses are embracing this trend, since we aim for a more balanced approach than just straight fruit and vegetables (yay for nut milk and hemp protein!).
  5. More alternatives. Remember when soy was the only “other” milk? Not so anymore, and this trend towards nut milks and coconut milk will continue to grow.

What trends would you like to see happen in 2014?

Is your New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight? Here’s the Skinny on How We Can Help

At Intelligent Gourmet, our goal isn’t weight loss – it’s to help our clients eat clean, feel better, and, ok – yes, look better. That’s why we don’t focus on low-calorie or low-carb, because we look at food holistically. For example, nuts are high in fat, but they also help your brain work better with all those Omega-3s, which makes you feel good, emotionally and physically. Those low-fat cheese puffs and “Lean Cuisine” dinners don’t.

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But, your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. You already know weight loss is not about a diet, but a lifestyle change. And you know there are no quick fixes. But we know you’re impatient, you don’t have time to make that crazy “fat flush soup” every week (or whatever the latest diet fad is), and after the slew of Holiday demands, you’re tired.

Here’s how we can help.

Cleanse for body and mind: Try our Intelligent Gourmet Juice Cleanse for 3 days to re-balance your body chemistry and kick-start your new healthier lifestyle.

Ready-to-Eat Diet-friendly meals: We specialize in low glycemic, low carb, low sodium, gluten-free, and most importantly “clean” pre-packaged meals. Don’t have time to cook? Can’t quite bring yourself to control portion size when you’re in the kitchen? Let us do it for you.

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Extremely Healthy Recipes: Every week, we post recipes right here that are low-fat, low-calorie, often gluten-free, frequently raw/vegan/vegetarian, and always extremely healthful. Then we tell you why what you’re eating is so good. Sure, you can’t cook all the time, but why not make a weekend family event out of an old-fashioned sit-down dinner (then live off the healthy leftovers for the week)? Roast a turkey or a whole chicken, and cook up our green beans (with vitamins K & A), wild rice dressing (B vitamins), and sweet potatoes (Beta-carotene and Vitamin C). Your whole family will think this new “diet” you’re on is great!

Tips, Tricks, and Expert Insights: From suggestions as simple as “add spinach to everything – your morning eggs, your lunchtime sandwich, your tomato sauce at dinner” to lists of super-foods, to teaching you how you can heal your body through food – Follow my blog via email, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and “Like” us on Facebook for daily reminders on how you can eat better, feel better, live better.

Happy New Year! And, here’s to a New You!