Category Archives: Let Food be Your Medicine

How Can We Help Protect Ourselves from Covid-19?

How can we help protect ourselves from Covid-19 when our bodies are already vulnerable because of cancer?

Almost every disease in older adulthood is made worse by inflammation in our bodies, according to Chris Fagundes, an assistant professor of psychological sciences at Rice University. [1]

Inflammation appears to play a role in Covid-19. This virus turns deadly when the body overreacts to the invasion and creates a “cytokine storm.” According to Randy Cron, M.D., Ph.D., University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Cytokines are inflammatory immunologic proteins that are there to fight off infections and ward off cancers… But when they are out of control, they can make you very ill.” [2]

Therefore, perhaps a good defense against Covid-19, and cancer, is a good offense: reduce inflammation in the body.

In addition to my 26 tips for improving immunity to help prevent contracting the virus (which you can find on my blog, all from my book, Thriver Soup), I will next be offering dozens of tips for reducing inflammation in our bodies to help us all stay a little healthier.

Here is a primer on inflammation, which is one of hundreds of reflections I offer in Thriver Soup:

“When threatened by wounds, irritation, or infections, cells inflame to assist with the transition back to health. A molecule called nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB), which normally resides in cell cytoplasm, moves into the cell’s nucleus (hence the name ‘nuclear factor’) and generates redness, heat, swelling, and pain. When the body heals, the NF-kB molecules return to the cell cytoplasm.

“NF-kB, however, also provokes the genes involved in creating chronic inflammation, which generally does not help the body heal. Instead, long-term heat and swelling becomes an open invitation to cancer. One-sixth of all cancers are directly linked to chronic inflammation. Most, if not all, cancers have unusually high levels of active NF-kB. This protein is considered their missing link. Researchers, for example, found that NF-kB regulates the inflammatory cascade necessary for breast cancer cells to proliferate and metastasize.

“Fortunately, inflammation can be smothered through diet and supplements. NF-kB can be suppressed by phytochemical-rich spices, vegetables, and fruit. Antioxidants can block the proteins so they don’t move into cell nuclei. Vitamins C, D, and E, curcumin (found in the spice turmeric), the herb ashwagandha, pomegranate extract, garlic extract, ginger root, green tea, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, and isoflavones found primarily in beans can be effective cellular firefighters. I found such a diet helped reduce my discomfort during treatment, decreasing my need for pain medications.

“When brought back under control, NF-kB provides the body with important healing mechanisms…. Keep the chronic flames doused with an anti-inflammatory diet to help preserve your internal landscape.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

“Ask your doctor to measure inflammation markers in your blood (C-reactive protein and albumin). ‘Patients with the lowest level of inflammation were twice as likely as the others to live through the next several years,’ according to long-term studies by oncologists at the Glasgow Hospital in Scotland.

“Talk to your oncologist about what anti-inflammatory foods and supplements work well with your treatment choices.”

Thriver Soup, Pg. 174

Other sources:

[1] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2018/10/30/new-research-on-inflammation-shows-how-extreme-emotions-can-undermine-health/#4bc491af56f5]

[2] [https://www.forbes.com/sites/claryestes/2020/04/16/what-is-the-cytokine-storm-and-why-is-it-so-deadly-for-covid-19-patients/#6b77ed6460fc]

Another 6 Ways to Improve Your Immunity

“One study demonstrated that significant changes take place in the brains of those who practice mindfulness meditation, even after only eight weeks of daily practice. Their moods lifted and their immune systems were strengthened.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 314

“According to Donald Yance, herbalist and certified nutritionist, licorice also blocks tumors and enhances the immune system. If you have any high blood pressure issues, I suggest using licorice in which the DGL (glycyrrhetinic acid) has been removed.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 149

“So maybe having a treat every so often is a way to increase the joy in life and give a little boost to the immune system. Denying myself an occasional treat isn’t terribly nurturing for the soul.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 150

“Probiotics in general can facilitate digestion, help the gut maintain regular bowel movements, stabilize the immune system, and assist with detoxification.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 140

“Reishi mushrooms can increase white blood cell and tumor-fighting cell production, cut off the growth of new blood vessels to tumors, and reduce the migration of cancerous cells. They have been known to decrease the toxicity created by chemotherapy drugs. When looking for a supplement, select one with a higher level of triterpenoids, which provides the most benefit. The more bitter the tea or tincture, the more potent it is. The recommended dose is three to five grams per day, or ten to thirty drops.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 134

“Don’t sprout alfalfa seeds, said Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions. The resulting sprouts promote inflammatory illnesses and suppress the immune system.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 133

How to make a quick green smoothie

Do you feel like you lack the time and/or energy to make green smoothies? Are you having trouble meeting your quota of three to five servings of dark leafies every day?

Salad greens in a high-speed blender

Here’s a simple smoothie you can make if you have a high-speed blender. It provides dark leafy greens and green tea. One of my brothers even tried it and said it wasn’t bad… that it tasted like foam.

Dark leafies contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, and important trace minerals.

green tea
green tea

The main advantage of green tea lies in its polyphenol, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG influences what DNA codes are expressed inside cells. Green tea has been shown to stimulate the immune system, inhibit metastasis, reduce inflammation, provide anti-oxidants, promote the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and detoxify the body. It can even help increase bone density (Thriver Soup, pg. 149).

Of course, talk with your health care provider first (especially if you are on blood thinners).

simple green smoothie
simple green smoothie

Simply load up your blender with salad greens, then add some freshly made green tea cooled with ice. Blend and serve. Viola! Power-packed vitality for your body.

Watch Thriver Soup on Local12 WKRC and enter to win a free copy!

“What’s Happening in Health” with anchor Liz Bonis featured Thriver Soup on Sunday. It starts around minute 16.

https://local12.com/health/whats-happening-in-health/whats-happening-in-health-november-11-2018?fbclid=IwAR26OaY-pqg55iemxeuvmD7dNjMsgRPmNRdZKc5BgwQ9s05Vbx_oMZL0H-U

Be a lucky winner! Like and share Caitlin Wells’s Facebook post about her drawing to win a free signed copy of Thriver Soup! Saturday join Caitlin Wells and me at the Healing Inspirations Center booth at Victory of Light, Sharonville Convention Center. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1123398107784978&set=p.1123398107784978&type=3&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1123398107784978&set=p.1123398107784978&type=3&theater

Photo by James Harrison

 

A Little Chocolate a Day

A little chocolate a day keeps the doctor at bay.

~ Marcia Carrington

 

If only…

While the health benefits of chocolate have been touted in recent years, the added sugar and other ingredients can turn a good thing bad.

My answer? Make my own. Then I know what I’m putting in my mouth.

I bought some food-grade cocoa butter and raw organic cacao powder, then hunted down a recipe online for making chocolate.

Before making my own, I was inspired when my friend Laura and I toured Chocolate: The Exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The displays tell the history of chocolate from the Mayans to now. It included a tasting area (on special days) with a few samples of different types of chocolate.

In the little shop at the exit area, we couldn’t resist trying out a delicious 70% dark bar of just cacao and organic cane sugar. Mmmm. I don’t know if that bar would keep a doctor at bay, but it might help me hold off a visit to a psychologist…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Here’s a chocolate recipe that fits the bill for me:

https://eatbeautiful.net/2015/07/04/homemade-chocolate-with-cocoa-butter/

The recipe calls for raw honey. The many benefits of raw honey are on pg. 47 in Thriver Soup. If you believe it’s still too much in the way of carbs or simple sugars, perhaps you can experiment with other sweeteners, like xylitol or stevia, and add other flavorings.

I’m in the process of experimenting with different non-cane-sugar sweeteners and a little flavoring. So far the raw honey is smooth, pairs well with hazelnut extract, and melts quickly. I find the coconut nectar sugar makes the chocolate extra hard. The chocolate sweetened with xylitol is a little crunchy (unless you can find xylitol in a superfine variety) and pairs well with mint, almond, and vanilla flavoring. This way it tastes like a Peppermint Patty candy to me. Mmmm.

What have you tried, and how has it worked?

A Secret to Great Tea

As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing.
-Kristin Chenoweth, American actress and singer

The healing benefits of green tea are well documented for cancer patients. Do you try to have a cup each day? It would be easier to swallow without the bitter aftertaste. Yet there is a little secret about how to brew it, and other teas, to greatly enhance their flavor.

You’ll spend far less money on your tea, and get better-tasting brew at the same time with this method.

The secret is in the tea-making process, which I learned from my sister, Roselie, who learned it from some Turkish friends.

To get great-tasting tea, start with a double boiler, which is a two-layered pot. Don’t have a double boiler? You can create one with a regular 3-quart pot and a sturdy glass bowl. Place the glass bowl into the pot so it nestles inside but still sits a good inch above the bottom of the pot.

Pour half an inch of water into the bottom pot. In the top pot or bowl, add a few cups of water and enough tea for a typical single cup. Cover with a lid.

I let mine sit overnight on the stove top to begin the process. In the morning, I turn the heat on a low setting and let the water come to a slow boil. This will gradually allow the full flavor of the tea to infuse the water in the top portion.

Your reward—a few cups of delicious tea from one tea bag.

Loose-leaf teas tend to have larger leaves and produce more flavor. If you use tea bags instead, I would suggest removing the tea from its bag. Many bags contain unnatural ingredients that can be released into the tea at high temperatures. The loosened tea can be put in a tea ball or placed straight in the water. Then you can strain your tea through a sieve when pouring it.

With some herbal teas this slow-steeping method doesn’t bring out the flavor as well, so you might have to experiment. For green and black teas, I find I enjoy the flavor more, which means I’ll drink more to get the benefits.

Be tea-totaller. Sip your health-promoting brew with pleasure.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Loose-leaf organic green tea has been shown to inhibit metastasis, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and increase bone density.

Be Like Royalty: Add Cress

Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.

— Saadi Shirazi, Persian poet

 

Garden cress might not be filling, but it adds a peppery spiciness and lots of nutrients to your meal. It’s been cultivated for thousands of years and enjoyed by royalty.

I got my first-ever taste a few weeks ago through my community-supported agriculture program, Earth-Shares CSA. I had heard of watercress sandwiches, so I rooted around and found a simple solution: toast with butter and cress.

I tried it. What a fun new taste—and even my college-aged son loved it. We have a new summer fave. Especially because garden cress has as much anti-cancer potential as cabbage, kohlrabi, and Chinese broccoli. And apparently it even has more vitamin C than oranges.

If you know someone with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, maybe gift them some potted cress.

Other goodies in these greens include Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.

Another benefit is this annual is supposedly easy to grow in the house, so you can get a fresh dose anytime, and enjoy it like royalty.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Here are some cress recipes to try: https://cressinfo.com/recipes/

Sources:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0646e/T0646E0t.htm

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2437/2

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/garden-cress-nutritional-benefits.php

Going ’Round the Mulberry

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.

English nursery rhyme

I grew up hearing this song and assumed mulberries grew on bushes, like raspberries and blueberries.

Nope. They grow on trees. My sister and I discovered this two summers ago on Long Island, where we saw a man picking what looked like long raspberries off a tree. A tree? What was he eating?

Mulberries.

Oh, we crammed our mouths with their luscious juiciness until we couldn’t reach any more. So sweet, so ripe, and no exterior seeds.

This past week my friend Laura and I took a walk and she identified a mulberry tree. I didn’t know they grew in the Cincinnati area. We filled a bag with what we could reach.

When we met again, she arrived holding a bag filled with fresh, ripe mulberries she had picked. What a treat! And then we found more. I’m in mulberry heaven.

Fortunately, mulberries have great nutritional value. According to https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html, they can improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, build bone tissues, boost the immune system, prevent certain cancers, slow down the aging process, decrease blood pressure, protect eyes, and improve metabolism.

That’s a pretty nice list of benefits. Makes me want to go ‘round a mulberry tree and pick more. Just need a ladder to catch those ones up high…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
To find mulberries, check your local farmers’ markets or look for dried varieties in stores.
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html includes nutrition facts.
Research on “Composition of anthocyanins in mulberry and their antioxidant activity
Look up effects of mulberry extracts before considering using them.

Mandarins a-peeling against cancer

I have picked a lemon, and with it / An orange and a (fragrant) mandarin.

Gathering with care these (precious) things, / And while gathering I said with care:

“Thou who art Queen of the sun and of the moon / And of the stars–lo! here I call to thee!

And with what power I have I conjure thee / To grant to me the favour I implore!

Aradia, by Charles G. Leland

 

Fresh, fragrant mandarins are precious, full of flavor, and full of power.

The magic lies in their peels—which are quite edible and contain potent anti-cancer properties (see links below).

Also called clementines and tangerines, these citrus fruits are fresh and sitting in grocery stores now.

If you have a high-speed blender, mix two whole mandarins (peel on) with a quarter cup cranberries (at this time of year, try frozen, not the packaged sugary snacks), a little raw honey and/or stevia, a quarter cup raw/soaked-in-salt-water pecans, and coconut butter. Blend. Mmmm! Add chia seeds if desired.

Taste the fragrance, ingest the power.

Sources:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara07.htm

https://www.livestrong.com/article/310997-can-you-eat-clementines-with-the-peel/

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2006/pdf/2006-v21n01-p34.pdf

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/mandarin-tangerines.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116217