Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Chicago has been bit by a cold bug – merciless cold has crippled the whole city, with temperatures as low as -25F.  We were all instructed to stay inside and stay warm so today was the perfect day to enjoy one of my favorite soups – Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup.

This soup is delicious, hearty and so nutritious.  Red bell pepper has the highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper and contains  phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, providing the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Tomatoes are also a rich source of antioxidants Tomatoes are also very high in vitamin C, another antioxidant that fights free radicals. Plus addition of ginger and garlic make it therapeutic as they help fight infections and reduce inflammation in the body.

Also, this soup is so easy to make as the oven and the blender does most of the work for you. There is very little stirring the pot or cooking on the stove required.

Here is the recipe for you to try this simple immunity boosting soup:

Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 long celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper  to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk
  • 4 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Set the oven to broil
  • Chop all the vegetables ( Red peppers – deseeded, onions, tomatoes, carrots, celery) into medium size chunks
  • Take a baking tray and spread all the vegetables, ginger, garlic, green chilies and sprinkle lightly with olive oil
  • Broil for 15-20 minutes until they are toasted and nice aroma is coming
  • Let it cool for few minutes
  • Add the vegetables and water in a blender and blend for smooth, creamy  consistency
  • Transfer the soup in a pan and add basil, coconut milk, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and tomato paste
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes on low-medium heat until it starts to boil
  • Serve warm

Chronic Constipation: The Scoop on Poop

Did you know in United States alone about 60 to 70 million people are affected by digestive diseases and chronic constipation is the leading cause of all digestive issues?

While it may seem harmless problem at first but recent studies have linked chronic constipation to problems like weight gain, hormonal imbalances, low immunity to more serious diseases like cancer.

Dehydration, poor diet, medications, illness, lifestyle and stress are the primary causes of chronic constipation.

If you are one of the people suffering from chronic constipation the good news is that it can be cured naturally. Here are 10 simple strategies to treat this condition without medication:

  • Eat more fiber : I think we have all heard it many times that a diet high in fiber helps add bulk and weight to stools, soften them and stimulate bowel movements. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both are important for maintaining normal bowel movements. Soluble fiber absorbs and binds to toxins so they can be excreted out of the body and also keeps stool soft because it absorbs water. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and also acts like a broom, helping to sweep things out of the intestine. Eating fruits such as figs provides a significant dose of fiber that can help your bowels begin to operate correctly. Dried figs are loaded with fiber — as little as 4 figs can do the magic! Another option is taking Psyllium Husk (Isabagol), which is rich in soluble fiber and some insoluble fiber. In patients with chronic constipation, taking 5 g of psyllium twice daily improved stool consistency and frequency. Other great sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts.
  • Drink Water: This is a no-brainer but unfortunately still a lot of people are not drinking enough water in a day. When your body is properly hydrated, less water will be withdrawn from the colon. This will keep your stool soft and easy to pass. Make it a habit to drink 8-10 cups of warm water throughout the day. Please remember to not drink water WITH your meals. 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after the meal is the ideal time to drink water.
  • Add fermented foods to your diet/Probiotics: Improve your gut health to treat constipation at the root. Fermented foods have been a well-established part of the human diet for thousands of years but its benefits have been well researched only recently. Adding fermented foods to your diet have shown to alleviate many gastrointestinal issues, including constipation. Here are some examples of fermented foods – Yogurt (preferably homemade), Kefir, Kimchi, Khamboucha, Sauerkraut, Miso, Dosa, Kanji, some cheeses, pickle (achar). With so many options to pick from, I am sure you can find one that meet your taste preferences. Another option is to supplement with Probiotic over the counter supplements until you find a way to add more fermented foods in your diet.
  • Triphala:  Triphala is an ancient Ayurvedic herbal formula made from the dried fruits of haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki. It’s not habit-forming and it doesn’t irritate the bowels, making it a great formula for treating constipation. Triphala tend to be gentler than over-the-counter laxatives, nourish the digestive tract and help produce regular bowel movements. It can help to naturally cleanse the colon.
  • Diet: As you know your diet plays a critical part in your overall health, make sure you are eating more unprocessed foods and avoiding junk carb and sugar laden foods which can trigger constipation. Have more vegetables soups and add soft foods like khichdi and dahi. Some people have adverse effects of eating too many raw vegetables. If that is the case, make sure you lightly cook or steam the veggies before consuming. It is easier for your stomach and digestion.
  • Exercise : Make sure you are moving and not spending your whole day sitting when you are constipated. According to WebMD- Exercise helps constipation by lowering the time it takes food to move through the large intestine. This limits the amount of water your body absorbs from the stool. Hard, dry stools are harder to pass. Plus, aerobic exercise speeds up your breathing and heart rate. This helps to stimulate the natural squeezing (or contractions) of muscles in your intestines. Intestinal muscles that squeeze better will help move stools out quickly. Find any exercise you like to do and incorporate it in your lifestyle. The benefits you gain will improve your overall health, not just constipation.
  • Good fat/Omega-3s: Are you following a low fat diet or eliminating any food groups completely? Fat is not only needed for our hormones, cell walls but also a key enabler of good digestive. Make sure you are eating healthy fats with all meals which includes Ghee, coconut oil, Avocados, Nuts, Fish etc. Supplementing with high-quality Fish oil which is high in Omega-3 also boosts digestion and relieves constipation.
  • Sleep/ Stress: Your bowel movements can be affected by stress that you experience during the day. Everyone has stress that is unavoidable in their lives, but when it is excessive, it can negatively impact your whole body, including your gut health. Try meditation, relaxation and improve your sleep quality to reduce constipation. Believe it or not your sleep position can also impact your digestive and gastrointestinal health. Sleeping on the left side aids digestion and lets food waste easily move from the large intestine into the lower colon, meaning you’re more likely to have a bowel movement when you wake up.
  • Squatty potty: It is no secret that squatting is the best position for complete elimination. Western toilets do not aid in the bowel movement and can often restrict and put strain on the excretion process. The footstool helps sitters assume a squat-like position while conducting their business. And that position appears to alter an individual’s anatomical angle in a positive way. Squatty potty is footstool for that particular purpose and is available at all major retailers.

Hope some of these work for you but whatever it takes please make curing chronic constipation a priority before it leads to any major illness.

Feel free to comment or reach out if you have any specific questions.

The Magic Elixir: Bone Broth

Bone broth has been part of various ancient cultures for more than thousand years. Recently, it has started to gain the trendy status of a superfood because studies have shown its numerous and extensive health benefits.

What is Bone broth: Bone broth is a simple drink made by slowly simmering animal bones with herbs, vegetables, and spices for more than 10 hours .

Why is it so good for you: Bones and connective tissues are packed with essential amino acids, protein, collagen, gelatin . It is also rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals,  which we usually lack in our diets today. 

Here are the top health benefits of bone broth:

1. Heals your gut : The collagen found in bone broth helps to improve and maintain healthy digestion by ensuring that the stomach lining is healthy. It contains collagen, which nourishes the intestinal lining and reduces inflammation. Plus, it’s easy to digest and is loaded with beneficial protein and minerals.

2. Improves immunity: Amino acids and minerals in bone broth have been shown to boost immunity in humans in various studies.

3. Cleans out toxins: The amino acids in the bone broth aid your liver in removing toxins from your body. In addition, glycine is a building block of glutathione, one of the body’s most powerful detoxifying agents.

4. Good for skin and hair: Bone broth is loaded with the building blocks of collagen, the protein that  is required to make your skin strong and smooth.

5. Good for joint health:  When the broth simmers, it pulls gelatin out of the bones.  As we get older, our joints become less flexible. When you drink the broth, your body absorbs all of that gelatin. It strengthens your bones and promotes joint health by providing a cushion-like coating for your joints.

How to make Chicken bone broth at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of chicken bones ( I used it from the leftover organic chicken drumsticks)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves (with stems)
  • 1.5 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 cups water

Steps

  • Add all ingredients in a slow cooker
  • Let it cook for 20-24 hours
  • Strain and use

What if you are vegetarian: If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can still make this by using different vegetables like zucchini, mushroom, turnip, beetroot and eliminating the bones part.  By making this without bones, you won’t be getting the collagen and gelatin  but you will still be getting high doses of minerals that leads to bone and connective tissue healing and also carry similar anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Nutrition: Planning is the key

One of my friends just completed an Iron Man!! For those who don’t know what an Iron Man is:

An Ironman is a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break. It is considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.

I am still in awe of her achievement but more so of her hard work, dedication and grit that made her succeed this year, after one unsuccessful attempt two years ago.

When I asked her what made the difference this time, her answer was clear and simple – NUTRITION PLANNING.  She said last time she trained hard and was physically ready to triumph the challenge but what she lacked was the nutrition planning for the day of the event.  Unfortunately, she felt a lack of energy halfway through her cycling event and had to leave unfinished and disheartened.

This time she meticulously planned her food not just during training but for the day of the race.  Eating a nutritious, high energy food throughout the race provided her constant supply of energy to finish strong.

The biggest lesson to learn from her experience is in life also we all are so busy running around, preparing for our work, assignments, activities without giving much thought on nutrition, what we are eating, are we getting a balanced mix of nutrients to keep us going for the long run.

Eating healthy is a “full-time job”. It requires a lot of planning, commitment, and execution. If you are not planning ahead of time, you end up making some wrong food choices.

Here are some of the primary reasons why you should plan your meals:

  • You make healthier choices
  • Improved nutrition
  • Saves time and money
  • Reduces Stress

If you are struggling to eat healthy in order to lose weight or just stay active, reach out to us. We can assist with the weight loss consulting, food substitutes, pantry makeover, and customized meal planning.

We help YOU become your healthiest YOU!

Intermittent Fasting – Key to a healthy body

Fasting has been part of human lifestyle for centuries, mostly for religious and medical purposes.  More recently there are a large number of researches to support the health benefits of fasting which includes improved disease state, reduced oxidative stress and preserved learning and memory functioning.

Here are some of the top benefits of fasting:

  • Promote longevity and reduce aging.
  • Increase autophaghy, which is your body’s way to recycle old and worn cells. It’s linked to many health benefits including reduced risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Increase human growth hormone, which helps increase energy, increase bone density, and increase/retain muscle.
  • Fasting can help you get into a state of ketosis, where you’re running on fat instead of glucose.
  • Reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
  • Fasting can help with weight loss.

Fasting, though, is not for everyone. If you are like me, staying without food for a whole day will make you anxious but there is a better solution – Intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. The good news is that you get the same health benefits as regular fasting without stressing your body too much.

There are many ways to “intermittently fast” but the approach I liked best is the 16:8 rule, where you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8-hour window. The good news is that you will be sleeping for part of your “fasting” 16 hours window so it is not that hard to follow.

There are some rules to follow before you start intermittent fasting

  • Reduce the intake of processed foods
  • Increase raw foods in your diet – fruits, vegetables and nuts
  • Eat balanced meals – Protein, complex carbs, and fats
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day
  • Reduce the amount of sugar, especially processed sugar, from your diet.

Once you believe you are ready to start Intermittent Fasting, start small. Start with 12-hour fasting window and see how your body reacts. Gradually increase it to 16 hours. During fasting window, drink only plain water – no lemon, honey or any other additives. No tea, coffee!

Have a combination of fruit and nuts to break the fast. I usually have banana and walnuts as my first meal. Here are some other good options – Dates/Almonds/Raisins.

It is very important to listen to your body when eating and fasting. Women, especially should not starve and stress their body too much as it impacts the hormonal balance so it is highly recommended to start slow on your fasting. Try incorporating intermittent fasting once or twice a week.

I have experienced many health benefits by incorporating intermittent fasting so I assure you that it is not a fad but a tried and tested recipe to improve health, increase energy and eventually weight loss.

Remember Intermittent Fasting is not a Diet but a Lifestyle change. It is a tool for healthy living.

Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions.

<Please consult with your doctor before starting Intermittent Fasting if you have any medical conditions that might get aggravated from prolonged starvation>

 

 

 

Morning Kickstart Smoothie

Smoothie is an integral part of my everyday diet.  My morning starts with the whirl of my favorite blender that results in a drink that I carry around all morning, slowly sipping and enjoying.  Smoothies are your best friend if you are trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. It is the simplest change you can make to start a healthy lifestyle.

I change my smoothie recipe depending on what is available at hand but this is my go-to recipe for the days I don’t want to experiment.

This smoothie will help kick-start your busy day with a burst of energy!

Ingredients:

2 cups Spinach or Kale

½ cup water, ½ cup ice

1.5 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (I get it from my local grocery store)

1 cup pineapple

1 cup blueberries

½ cup beetroot

A slice of ginger

1 tsp flax seeds

Blend the liquid and greens first. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend more until you have no chunks left.

Sip along!!

Note:

  1. If you are using frozen fruits, feel free to omit the ice
  2. You can use any fruit of your choice like mango, banana, kiwi, strawberries etc
  3. You can replace orange juice with coconut water or any other liquid but that will alter the sweetness so adjust the fruits accordingly

Live without Pain and Inflammation

We all have experienced pain in our bodies at some point. Pain usually appears when there is inflammation. Inflammation is an important part of the body’s immune response. It is the way our bodies heal itself. Without inflammation, infections would never heal. Inflammation becomes a problem when it is chronic.

Imagine the inflammation as our body’s personal army to protect against invaders or injury. Their job is to fight the battle (against infections and germs) and come back to base. When the soldiers lose the signal on when to stop fighting, it leads to chronic inflammation. Chronic Inflammation is when the body stays in the inflamed state even after the “threat” is gone”. Most common cause of chronic inflammation is the food we eat and environmental toxins we are exposed to. Our body’s immune system doesn’t recognize this “stuff,” so it tries to get rid of it by fighting it.

Recent research from well-known sources such as the Harvard School of Public Health has found that many illnesses are directly related to inflammation in the body including heart disease and stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and stomach or intestinal problems. When there is inflammation, there is a pain. Did you know Anti-inflammatory medicines are most widely taken medicine in the US?

If you believe that you are suffering from chronic inflammation – here are three easy steps you can take to reduce pain and inflammation:

  1. Practice “Clean” eating: Try adding more natural, raw food in your diet. Buy organic whenever possible. The best way to reduce inflammation is to just eat real foods. They are foods that bypass tinkering by a food chemist and are eaten very close to the way they grew on the farm. Slowly eliminate/reduce processed and packaged foods from your diet. A fiber-rich diet helps reduce inflammation by supplying naturally occurring anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
  1. Follow the 4-S diet: The easiest way to remember the key anti-inflammatory foods that will help keep you young and active is the Four S’s. Salads, Smoothies Spices, and Seafood.

Salads and Smoothies are natural anti-inflammatories because they are from plants. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables gives them their rich color and make them anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants are natural medicines. The National Cancer Society says we should eat 9 – 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Spices contain high levels of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients. Ginger and Turmeric which are heavily used in Indian cooking are one of the best spices to reduce pain and inflammation. Ginger inhibits production of the free radical that causes inflammation and pain. Turmeric’s benefits are largely because of curcumin, a potent antioxidant that dramatically reduces inflammation. The bioavailability of curcumin is highly improved if taken with black pepper so make sure to spice up your food with turmeric, ginger and black pepper.

Seafood, especially cold water fish, contains omega 3 oils which are the most helpful anti-inflammatory nutrients you can eat. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis — conditions that often are triggered by chronic inflammation. If you cannot eat fish for any reason, consider taking a good quality fish oil supplement to get the benefits of Omega-3.

  1. Exercise: What type of exercise should you do? The BEST exercise is the one you will do! You do it because you enjoy it!

There are lots of fun ways to move.  You can take up a new sport such as ballroom dancing or hiking or just do walking, yoga, running..whatever you enjoy doing!! Besides movement being good for your muscles, it’s good for your mind.  New movements actually build new cerebral pathways.

Make sure you incorporate these three components into your exercise routine:

Strength training:  At one time it was believed that losing muscle was a natural part of aging, but studies now show that older people can maintain muscle with the same amount of strength training as younger folks.

Endurance. Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate and include exercises like walking, swimming, and dancing.

Flexibility: Flexibility exercises like stretching, yoga, and Pilates, loosen and lengthen our muscles.  As we age, muscles not only become weaker, they become tighter and shorter.  Orthopedists have found that people who have increased flexibility are less likely to suffer from arthritis and joint problems.  

By following these simple guidelines and slowly making lifestyle changes, you can definitely reduce chronic inflammation and lead a healthy, pain-free life.

Eat Right not Less to Lose Weight

“Should I stop eating carbs if I want to lose weight” or “I am on a low-fat diet but still not losing weight. Why?” or “Is dairy bad for me”. These questions come up almost every day in my conversations with people.

Our “food wisdom” is often swayed by the food marketing industry. Last decade they made fat the “villain”   and I see that happening to our good ol’ friend “carbs” now.

All macronutrients – Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins are required for a healthy body.  It’s the form in which we eat them make them good or bad for us.

Adults and “active” children need approximately “50%” of their daily calories from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates or carbs can be “simple” or “complex” based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them. Simple carbs are quick-burning fuels. They very quickly break down into sugar in your system. You want to avoid these. They can be found in cakes, processed foods, soft drinks, candies etc..Complex carbs take more time to break down, which allows for a slower, more gradual release of energy. Whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables are all examples of complex carbs. Complex carbs have fiber and vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients so go ahead and enjoy your “roti”, rajma-rice, potatoes or any of your favorite complex carbs without guilt.

Similarly, there are good and bad fats. Fats from coconut oil, ghee, grass fed butter, and fish are all good for us. Chemically created fats that are made in a lab, like partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats, are what causes harm to our body. Avoid all foods that contain trans fat. These fats are found in most of the packaged and fast foods.

So how do you lose weight then?

The answer is not that simple. A human body is very complex and many factors contribute to its functioning like nutrition, environment, lifestyle, even our thoughts as our mind and body are closely inter-linked.  The first step is to understand the underlying cause of weight gain – is it stress, is it junk food or eating outside or is it because of your erratic lifestyle and eat/sleep patterns. Once you understand the root cause, it will be easier to plan your weight loss. Most people go on “strict” diets by eliminating various food groups without understanding the root cause but If the cause is not addressed, the weight will come back – pretty soon.

Here are the four pillars for a healthy lean body: L.E.A.N.

Lifestyle – how you live? Do you have a disciplined lifestyle? How well do you sleep at night? Do you eat/sleep in a “fixed” window every day? All of these factors control how your body functions. Also, there are so many toxins in everyday products that have impacted our health in a negative way. From household cleaners to cosmetics – everything is full of harmful chemicals that we expose our body every single day (a topic for another time) . Try to simplify your life by having a routine and using natural products whenever possible.

Exercise – how do you move? People always ask what is the best exercise to lose weight and the answer is whatever exercise you love to do. For some people, it could be walking/running, for others yoga or dancing. Whatever you enjoy doing is what is good for your body. Also, sitting all day and then going to gym for one hour is not a good idea. Stay active by walking, taking stairs or just standing instead of sitting whole day. Also, don’t “over-exercise” to lose weight faster. Too much exercise could put stress on the body and will be counter-productive in your effort to lose weight.

Attitude – how do you think?  A lot of studies have shown a strong correlation of stress to weight gain, especially around your mid-section (tummy) area. No amount of diet or exercise will work if you are constantly stressed out. Try deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation to manage stress and the weight issue will automatically be taken care of.

Nutrition – how do you eat? First of all, you don’t need to eat less to lose weight – you have to eat right. Add more raw fruits and veggies to your diet: Most of the food we eat is either cooked or processed, which are depleted of most nutrients. Try to add more unprocessed, uncooked raw food in your diet. Start your day with a bowl of fresh fruit and have a salad with your lunch and dinner. If you need to eliminate something, eliminate junk, processed food. Eat all food groups because they are full of nutrients that your body needs. Fat or carbs do not make you fat; eating junk food that is full of toxins makes you fat.

These are some simple guidelines that clarify some myths about food/diet and how to start thinking about weight loss. Start off by introspecting and making small positive lifestyle changes based on your root cause. Follow LEAN to get lean!

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need additional help to meet your goals.

 

Why I don’t recommend Gatorade (and other “-ades”) for kids?

There is a constant struggle in my house – since the kids are in competitive sports they demand Gatorade and other sports drinks, because “all the other kids drink it”. These drinks are marketed towards people who are active so my kids believe that it is a requirement to have sports drinks to get to their peak performance.

I agree that these sports drinks provide the electrolytes to replenish our bodies but unfortunately they have more than electrolytes in them.

Gatorade and other sports drinks are made up of mostly chemically treated & refined sugar (as much as a typical soda), artificial colors, and other ingredients that are really harmful to your body.

Artificial colors like Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens. They are also known to cause hyperactivity in the kids. The sad part is that they are found in most foods targeted towards kids like cereals, candy, drinks etc. It is very important to read the labels and avoid all foods that contain these food dyes.

Also, some flavors of Gatorade use brominated vegetable oil as a stabilizer. Brominated vegetable oil has been linked to some serious diseases like thyroid problems, fertility issues, and psychological symptoms. It also has been linked to certain types of cancer, and increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

According to a research done by Berkeley researchers, sugar in sports drinks may be contributing to the child obesity epidemic. When consumed often, the sugar content of Gatorade can also contribute to tooth decay, especially in children.

Healthy Alternative to Sports Drinks:

Water: Water is the most underrated drinks but it is one of the most natural, most powerful sources of hydration.  Help your kids develop a habit of drinking water during their sports practice and games. Even if the day is hot and humid, water can provide sufficient rehydration, especially if exercise lasts less than an hour

Coconut Water: Coconut water contains all 5 essential electrolytes. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur and manganese are all available in coconut water. These minerals re-hydrate and create balance in the body.

Watermelon juice: Watermelon is the most popular summer fruit. Watermelon juice is rich in electrolytes and is very helpful for maintaining fluid balance; it also improves circulation and aids in muscle recovery after a physical exercise session.

Chocolate Milk: According to one study, Chocolate milk rehydrates your body as much as a sports drink, but it also offers a boost of protein, which helps your muscles repair after intense exercise. The sugar and sodium in chocolate milk also supply you with electrolytes, which helps you recover and rehydrate more quickly. You can easily make chocolate milk at home by combining cocoa powder, maple syrup or cane sugar to organic milk of your choice.

Make your own Sports drink: It is very easy to make a sports drink which will provide you the right balance of electrolytes without the nasty and harmful ingredients. Take 1 cup of coconut or regular water; add a cup of orange/apple juice. Squeeze half a lemon and add ¼ teaspoon of salt. Add 1 tsp of honey. Mix well and store it in the fridge. Kids can enjoy this drink anytime during hot summer days.

There might be a market for these sports drinks for some heavy duty athletes but I believe it is best to avoid them for our kids. Do you have any other healthy alternatives to the sports drinks that worked for your kids?

 

Detox Series 3 – Water detox recipes

The first two blogs in this series focused on detoxification of mouth and skin – two most important gateways of our bodies. Today I am going to show you how we can make the water we drink act like a natural detoxifier for our bodies.

Detox Series 1 -Ancient practice to detoxify your body through Oil Pulling

Detox Series 2 – Dry brushing for skin detoxification

Did you know our bodies are naturally tuned to detoxify itself from all the unwanted chemicals and toxins we are exposed to on a regular basis? Our job is to support the detoxification process by either eliminating/reducing the toxin exposure or providing the body right tools to make the process easier.

One of the natural ways to flush toxins is through the water we drink. We all have heard it million times, drink more water. Water allows your kidneys to filter toxins and transport nutrients. If you don’t drink enough water then the toxins will start building up in your body leading to a weakened immune system.

Today, I am going to share different types of detox water you can drink depending on the condition you are targeting for.

  1. Full Body Cleansing with HONEY-LEMON-WATER: If you are low in energy when you wake up in the morning and feel tired throughout the day – you need a full body cleanse. Having warm water with honey and lemon first thing in the morning stimulates the liver to flush out the toxins from the body. The combination of lemon and honey in water is a rich source of antioxidants, help boost energy. As an added benefit, it helps burn fat which can lead to weight loss.

         How to make it:

  • Boil a cup of water and allow it to cool until it is just warm to touch.
  • Add a teaspoonful of raw, unfiltered honey and stir well to dissolve.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the honey water, give it a stir and drink up.
  1. Stomach cleanse with this SPICE WATER: If you suffer from frequent bouts of acidity and headaches, sipping this water in the morning and throughout the day help reduce bloating, constipation, indigestion, and acidity. Stomach disorders could lead to an incomplete elimination of bodily waste and the toxins are reabsorbed by the body. Having this water 30 minutes before and 10 minutes after your meals will help cleanse your digestive tract and eliminate toxins.

         How to make it:

  • Boil a cup of water
  • In a cup, add ½ tsp of each : fenugreek seeds (methi dana), fennel seeds (saunf), bishop seeds (ajwain), cumin seeds (jeera)
  •  Pour the boiling water into the cup with the seeds mixture
  •  Cover and let it steep for a couple of hours
  • Take the water from this cup and drink
  • You can refill the water 2 more times before discarding the seeds 
  1. Respiratory support with STAR WATER: If you are often down with viral and flu infections quite often, it might be a good idea to cleanse your lungs with this antiviral/antifungal/antibacterial water. Star anise, the primary ingredient of this detox water, contains shikimic acid, which is used in the production of anti-influenza drugs. Another ingredient in this water is black cardamom, which is used to prevent and relieve cold and flu symptoms. Regular intake of black cardamom and star anise water will boost your immunity and protect you from respiratory infections. You can make this water and sip it throughout the day when during flu season to protect and prevent the upper respiratory illness.

     How to make it:

  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Add 1 black cardamoms and let it boil for few minutes till water is reduced to half
  • Add ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • Take 2 star-anise in a cup
  • Pour the boiling water and the black cardamoms in the cup
  • Cover and let it steep for 15 minutes
  • Drink warm, add honey (optional)
  1. Stress management with TULSI WATER: Tulsi (Holy Basil), the sacred Indian plant is given that status for a reason. It is one of nature’s most powerful medicines. Tulsi not only helps protect the body from the degenerative effects of stress, but it also repairs the body from its damage. It is a powerful detox herb that helps reduce inflammation, lowers cholesterol, eliminates toxins and improves digestion. Tulsi is also a natural aphrodisiac, improves stamina and reduces anxiety.

     How to make it:

  • Boil a cup of water
  • Add ½ tsp of Tulsi leaves
  • Cover and let it steep for 15 minutes
  • Strain and drink
  1. Reduce inflammation with TURMERIC-GINGER WATER: Inflammation is body’s defense mechanism against external “attackers” but when the internal emergency alarm fails to shut off when it should, the inflammation becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation destroys the healthy tissues and creates pain in the body. It is a result of imbalanced and weak immune system. If you are experiencing unexplained pain in your body, most likely you are dealing with chronic inflammation. Both turmeric and ginger are excellent anti-inflammatory foods so this water can cleanse the body and reduce the inflammation.

       How to make it:

  • Boil 1 cup of water
  • Add 1 tsp of grated turmeric and ginger each, and then bring the heat down to a simmer
  • Add ½ tsp of black pepper
  • Allow the mixture to steep for 10-15 minutes.
  • Strain and enjoy with your meals

There is another level of water detox that requires you to drink only water for 24 hours – no food and no other drink. Have you tried water fasting? How was your experience?

I hope you can benefit from these different types of detox water. Please share it with your friends and family who may also benefit from these water detox recipes.