🍽️ Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes to Warm You Up this Autumn

Preparing a healthy meal that still impresses doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours in a hot kitchen – not when you have your reliable slow cooker ready to lend a hand. These slow cooker recipes are a healthy way to reduce the time you spend preparing while still letting you deliver a meal your family and friends will love.

One of the trickiest feats when preparing your Thanksgiving or any holiday meal is having each dish arrive on the table piping hot: solution – your slow cooker.


Slow-Cooker Squash, Chickpea & Chard Stew

RECIPE INSPIRED BY FOOD NETWORK MAGAZINE

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, rinsed

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into large pieces

1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

Crusty bread for serving.

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil, sliced onion with garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, between 4 and 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook 1 more minute. Stir in ½ cup of water and scrape up bits on the bottom of the skillet. Transfer the skillet contents to your slow cooker.

2. Add chickpeas, squash, chard stems (not the leaves), 2 teaspoons of salt, and 7 cups of water to your slow-cooker. Stir, then cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  If you’re in more of a hurry, cook on high for 4 hours.

3. Ten minutes before serving, stir in the chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to slightly break up the squash. Ladle the stew into bowls; top with grated parmesan if desired and serve with crusty bread.

Tip: If you’d like a creamier stew, use your stick blender to puree about 1/5 of the squash and chickpeas in the slow cooker before you add the chard.


Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken

RECIPE INSPIRED BY DELISH

INGREDIENTS:

2 lb. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 yellow bell peppers, sliced

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

½  c. Knorr Chicken Broth

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 

1/3 cup capers

8 oz. cooked linguine for serving 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place in your slow cooker. Add peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and broth, then season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours, until chicken is cooked through. 

2. Remove chicken from slow-cooker and stir capers into the sauce. Serve chicken over cooked pasta with sauce.


Slow-Cooker Mushroom Soup

RECIPE INSPIRED BY YUMMLY

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups boiling water

2 cups of porcini – (about 1½ ounces)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

5/8   teaspoon kosher salt

½  teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sliced shallots (about 8 ounces)

1 garlic clove (minced, about 1 teaspoon)

1 cup dry sherry

3 pounds fresh mushrooms (assorted, such as cremini, portobello, shiitake, and button, sliced)

1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 ½ cup of heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

1. Boil 2 cups of water and pour over the porcini mushrooms, let the mushrooms steep for 20 minutes. Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the mushroom broth; set the mushrooms aside. Stir in soy sauce, salt, pepper, and the remaining 2 cups boiling water into the mushroom broth; set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots are soft for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sherry; bring to a boil, and cook for 30 additional seconds and remove from heat.

3. Stir together the mushrooms, broth mixture, shallot mixture, fresh mushrooms, and thyme in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors blend, about 4 hours. Uncover and cook another 20 minutes to thicken. Either transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender and blend or use a stick blender to blend about ¼ of the soup. Return the puréed soup to the slow cooker; gently stir in the cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot.

🍭 The Worst Halloween Candy for Your Health, Plus Alternative Ways to Indulge Your Candy Cravings

Between haunted houses, scary movies, and spooky costumes, there are many frightening (and fun) things about Halloween.  Yet, the most alarming thing you may encounter is the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Each Halloween, Americans will drop over 600 million pounds of chocolate bars, candy corn, lollipops, and sticky, sour candies into the bags of the neighborhood kids. Shockingly, each kid will collect up to 7000 (empty) calories.

But that’s not the scary part…

It’s the Sugar!

Halloween candy is loaded with sugar which is highly addictive. (4)  It stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin in the brain, much like illegal drugs. The more we eat, the more we crave it. That’s the reason it’s tough to limit candy to just one piece.

Sugar is much worse than fat for your waistline because it’s the first thing that turns into fat in your body.

Most Halloween candy is made with high fructose corn syrup – otherwise known as the most toxic form of sugar you can consume. Long-term studies indicate that high fructose corn syrup increases your risk for obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. (1-2)

Additionally, high doses of high fructose corn syrup kill off the good bacteria in your gut, impairing your digestion and immune system.

The Worst Halloween Candy for Your Health

Now, it’s OK to indulge your Halloween candy cravings; just do it mindfully.

First, try to avoid the worst of the worst, the candy that’s loaded with sugar, trans fats, and artificial coloring.

3 Musketeers: These chocolate bars filled with fluffy, whipped nougat are hard to resist, but they are the highest in saturated fats and sugar, with 36 grams per bar.

Skittles: may be lower in fat per serving than most chocolate options but, they are one of the highest in sugar with 30 grams per package. They’re also packed with food additives and hydrogenated oils — aka trans fats — which can quickly boost cholesterol levels.

Sour Patch Kids, like Skittles, are loaded with questionable ingredients. These dangerous candies are one step worse because they’re also acidic and can wear down teeth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. 

Candy Corn brings little to the table apart from sugar and calories; it’s also full of highly refined, processed, and artificial ingredients and coloring.

Healthier Alternatives

You’ll very likely find healthy Halloween candy at your local health food store. Pick up treats that use more natural forms of sugar like organic cane sugar or honey.  

Dark chocolate is a terrific alternative to milk chocolate. It’s made with much less sugar while it’s loaded with heart-healthy polyphenols and antioxidants. 

Payday bars are primarily nuts, have 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of filling fiber. You’ll feel more satisfied after eating just one bar.

Novelty Halloween candies like Dum Dums, Jolly Ranchers, and Tootsie Pops are low in fat and calories. They take longer to eat, which may slow you down and help prevent a binge.

Remember, it’s OK to indulge your Halloween candy cravings; just do it mindfully. We all know we shouldn’t be binging on candy every night, but Halloween is a pretty special occasion.

Probiotics Help Control Cravings

Your gut microbiome contains trillions of helpful and harmful bacteria that influence your cravings. The toxic kind feeds on sugar. They highjack your cravings, making you eat even more sugar-loaded foods. (3)

Probiotics, like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics, have a wide range of benefits for your digestive and overall health. They also help control the harmful bacteria by crowding it out with helpful, wholesome food-loving bacteria. With the help of probiotics like Dynamic Biotics, you take a big step towards controlling your sugar addiction.

Sources:
1.     pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15983189/
2.     pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23594708/
3.     ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284805/
4.     alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/sugar-addiction-more-serious-than-you-think/

🎃 Healthy Halloween Entertaining: Embrace the Spirit, Leave the Sugar, Fat, & Calories Behind (w/ Recipes)

Halloween is one of the most anticipated and celebrated holidays in America today. Part of the reason is that it’s a night to indulge our fantasies, become someone or something else for a night, and let loose. 

Another reason is that we have nostalgic and fun memories of the bag of treats we collected from our neighbors when we were kids. Put those two together, and our brains are now rewired to link Halloween indulging to happiness and pleasure.

And the word “healthy” is typically just not part of the equation.

But if you’re entertaining this year yet still want to hold the healthy line without seeming like a party pooper, you can put out a thoroughly delicious and fun Halloween spread and still make it good for your guests and nutritious.  

There are hundreds of healthy Halloween recipes available on the internet that will entertain your eyes and taste buds. I’ve done a deep dive and have selected a handful of crowd-pleasers that are legitimately good for you.

What you’ll find below is a complete Halloween menu that will put the folks in a festive mood while keeping the calories, saturated fat, and excessive sugar at bay.

Start with Chili…

There’s nothing like a special food tradition that brings back happy holiday memories.  Chili does it for me as it’s been a staple of my Halloween night for as long as I can remember.

Chili is the perfect warm-up before trick or treaters head out or start knocking.  And you can easily make it the center of your Halloween display.

I used Boca meatless crumbles to replace the ground beef the original recipe included. You and your guests will be amazed how much it tastes like the meaty version.  Consider adding more vegetables as they help counterbalance the effects of overindulging in Halloween candy.

Healthy Halloween Chili with Cornbread Cupcakes

Chili Ingredients:

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 package meatless crumbles (I like the Boca brand or Quorn brand)
• 1 chopped onion
• 1 chopped green pepper
• 1 chopped jalapeno pepper
• 3 chopped carrots
• 15 ounces canned kidney beans, drained
• 15 ounces canned pinto beans, drained
• 15 ounces canned corn kernels (drained)
• 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
• 2 minced cloves garlic
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
• 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 3 teaspoons salt, sea salt or kosher

Chili Instructions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onion, carrots, pepper, garlic, jalapeno, oregano, cumin, and chili powder for about 5 minutes.  Combine these ingredients well.  

2. In a separate pan, brown the vegan meat crumbles with salt and pepper.

3.  Transfer the onion, carrot combination, and meatless crumbles to a large soup pot or slow cooker.

3. Add the tomatoes, beans, and corn, bring them to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low. If using your slow cooker, set it on low for 4 hours.

4. Simmer uncovered (stovetop) for 50 minutes.

5. Serve with toppings such as cilantro, grated cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and chopped scallions.

Healthy Cornbread

Cornbread Ingredients: (yields 12 cupcakes)

• 1 cup almond flour
• 1 cup cornmeal
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup yogurt
• 2 eggs, beaten

Cornbread Instructions:

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Place Halloween-themed cupcake cups inside the cupcake tray.

2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Don’t over mix, just until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tray.

3. Bake for 18 minutes, or until bread springs back went gently pressed.

Guacamole with Spooky Chips & Skeleton Crudité

Guacamole with chips and veggies are a staple at many festive gatherings due to their simple preparation. And you can easily display them together in a variety of spooky settings.

Guacamole is a good choice because avocados are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and dietary fiber. The chips, on the other hand, are notoriously laden with trans-fat, carbs, and calories. Instead of store-bought chips, you can easily make your own using carb light corn tortillas and spooky cookie cutters.  Once you cut your chips, lightly spray them with vegetable oil and bake for a few minutes in the oven or five minutes at 350 degrees in your air fryer.

Best Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole Ingredients: (yields enough for 12 guests)

• 4 Large Avocados
• ½ finely chopped red onion
• 1 finely chopped jalapeno
• Finely chopped cilantro – to taste
• Juice from 1 lime
• Sea or coarse salt to taste

Guacamole Instructions:

1. Peel and crush the avocados in a large bowl.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

3. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.  

Feel free to make it your own; add chopped tomatoes, olives, and red pepper. Be creative!

Blood Red Hibiscus Punch

Start by steeping 4 bags of Tadin’s Organic Hibiscus Tea in 64 ounces of hot water for 15 minutes.  Add 2 cups of pomegranate juice.  Chill for one hour. Pour into glasses with ice and garnish with mint, raspberries, blackberries, and other fruit that add a splash of spooky.

How To Satisfy Your Pumpkin Spice Cravings the Healthy Way – 4 Recipes Included

You know it’s autumn when you see pumpkin spice-flavored goodies everywhere you look. 

(Just reading the phrase “pumpkin spice” summons smells and memories of turning leaves and cable-knit sweaters.)

But for those of us with weight management and healthy eating goals, autumn can be an ordeal.

It’s just too easy to indulge in festive foods filled with fat and sugar – and it seems that is particularly true of anything labeled pumpkin spice. For example, Starbucks fan-favorite Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte (16 oz.) has 390 calories plus 50 grams of sugar.

But buried beneath the flood of baked goods, snack foods, and coffee drinks, the ingredients that make up the flavor of pumpkin spice – nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice – are as healthy as can be.

1. Nutmeg

Nutmeg offers many health benefits, from reducing stomach pain and nausea to stress and insomnia relief. It boasts numerous B vitamins and minerals and contains powerful antioxidants and essential oils. (1)

2. Ginger

Ginger is well known for combating nausea by reducing gas and painful cramps, and it has several other healing effects. It can reduce discomfort from menstrual cramps, headaches, and arthritis, plus it helps stimulate circulation. (2)

3. Cloves

Cloves are chock full of manganese, which is essential for strong bones and brain function. Cloves have antimicrobial properties, meaning they may help stop the growth of microorganisms like harmful bacteria. (3,4)

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help protect your body from illness. Cinnamon works as a prebiotic, which promotes healthy gut bacteria and improves gut health. It’s also been found to be helpful for your heart and brain. (5,6)

5. Allspice

Allspice can help with stomach issues like indigestion, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps. It also has a reputation for assisting bowel movements. Allspice contains eugenol, which has antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria on your teeth and gums. (7)

If you love the nostalgic flavor of pumpkin spice, your best approach is indulging at home using your own pumpkin spice blend. This way, your body and mind get the benefits without offsetting them with lots of extra sugar, cream, and calories.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Recipe 

Homemade pumpkin spice only takes a few minutes to prepare with ingredients you may already have in your spice cabinet.

You don’t need added syrups and other sugars to make it delicious. 

In fact, it’s an excellent substitute for some sweeteners since it’s a seasoning and not a type of sugar. 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

·1/4 cup ground cinnamon
·2 tablespoons ground ginger
·4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
·2 teaspoons ground allspice
·2 teaspoons ground cloves

In a bowl, mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Store recipe in an airtight container for up to a year.

Add your homemade pumpkin spice blend to most of your favorite desserts and breakfasts. And yes — create a pumpkin spice latte with a lot less sugar than the coffee shop versions. 

Here are a few guilt-free recipes that may satisfy your craving for pumpkin spice.

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

This recipe makes six lattes. If making only one latte, brew one cup of coffee and prepare a half cup of milk. Keep remaining pumpkin syrup in a sealed container.

Ingredients:

·Water
·1/4 cup sugar (optional)
·2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
·1/2 cup pumpkin puree
·2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend
·1/4 teaspoon salt
·2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·6 cups brewed coffee
·3 cups dairy milk, oat, flaxseed, or almond milk

In a saucepan, combine water, sugars, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice blend, and salt.

Whisk together and simmer for 20 minutes

Add vanilla extract and remove from heat.

Brew coffee.

Over medium heat, in a separate saucepan, whish milk until foamy (different kinds of milk may not all foam in the same way).

Mix 1 cup of coffee with four tablespoons of pumpkin syrup and 1/3 cup of foamy milk for each latte.

Pumpkin Spice Granola 

Ingredients:

·2 cups whole grain oats
·Pecans halved
·1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
·1/4 cup maple syrup
·1/4 cup olive oil
·1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
·1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
·1/2 cup shredded coconut topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin seeds, and pecans. 

Combine olive oil, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice blend, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Spread the granola mixture evenly over parchment paper and bake for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle shredded coconut, and shake to combine. 

Return to oven for approximately fifteen additional minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.  Store the remainder in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Spice Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a winter squash, harvested between early September and ending in late fall. That’s why you see butternut squash soup pop up in restaurant menus this time of year. 

It’s easy to make at home. A quick trick is roasting the entire butternut squash in the oven for about an hour until it gets tender. Let cool, then cut it open, remove the seeds, and scoop out the flesh. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Pumpkin spice and maple syrup add just a touch of sweetness to compliment the roasted butternut. If you like it creamier, stir in cream or extra coconut milk into the soup.

Servings 4 -6

Ingredients:

·1 medium butternut squash
·olive oil
·4 cups vegetable broth
·1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
·1/2 teaspoon sea salt
·2 tablespoons maple syrup
·cream for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash on a baking tray, rub with some olive oil, and bake for an hour or until a knife pokes through the skin easily. 

Remove from oven and let cool. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and discard; then scoop out the squash. 

Put the flesh of the squash into a blender or food processor.

Add vegetable broth, pumpkin spice mix, salt, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth. Heat in a soup pot. Ladle into serving bowls. 

Citations/Sources:
1. mchemist.com/herboglo/pdf/7%20nutmeg.pdf
2. researchgate.net/profile/Shafeeqa-Irfan/publication/338361864_A_Critical_Review_on_Pharmaceutical_and_Medicinal_Importance_of_Ginger/links/5e6a7d8292851c6ba7fd7924/A-Critical-Review-on-Pharmaceutical-and-Medicinal-Importance-of-Ginger.pdf
3. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12505649/
4. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074903/
5. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
6. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5600121/
7. webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-allspice#1
8. foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/recipes/2016/10/health-benefits-of-pumpkin-spice
9. cedars-sinai.org/blog/pumpkin-spice-healthy.html

Health Contributions in History: Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benne, Raw Food Trailblazer

As a pioneer in holistic, natural healing in the early twentieth century, Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner was considered a radical in the medical world for preaching that exercise, spiritual peace, and diet were keys to a healthy body and mind.

Dr. Bircher-Benner may have been scorned by the traditional medical establishment of that era, but that did not stop him from opening his “Vital Force” clinic in Zurich. There he developed the world-renowned health food Muesli. Today the good doctor is recognized as one of the founders of vegetarianism and the earliest supporter of a raw-food diet. 

Let’s take a look at Dr. Bircher-Benner’s contributions to healthy living as we celebrate him today.

Early Life

Maximillian Bircher was born in Arau, Switzerland in 1867. He attended the University of Zurich as a medical student. At the time, different theories regarding nutrition were heavily debated. Some theorized that all human energy came from meat; some believed human’s best source of energy came from vegetables. Max was solidly in the vegetarianism camp; from there, he evolved his passion for raw food.

People did not generally eat uncooked food because Western culture believed that raw foods were hard to digest. At the time, all vegetables and fruits were thoroughly cooked before they were eaten. However, Dr. Bircher was open to the new ideas that were circulating regarding nutrition.

Upon graduation, Max went to Berlin to study the water-cure method with Sebastian Kneipp. He traveled to Heinrich Lahmann’s clinic near Dresden to learn about diet therapy and then to Vienna to attend Wilhelm Wintemitz on hydrotherapy.  

Dr. Bircher married Elisabeth Benner in 1899 and changed his name to Dr. Bircher-Benner. 

Vital Force

When Max returned to Zurich, he opened a clinic for physical therapy, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy. He called his clinic “Lebendige Kraft” (Vital Force.) The clinic had only seven beds, but its affluent proximity in Zurich got the attention of people who could afford the doctor’s therapies.

The doctor’s raw food ideas were solidifying by this point. He believed that raw foods held vital nutrition in them from “solar light energy.” Conversely, he thought cooked meat was the poorest form of nutritional energy. When he presented his ideas to a local medical association in 1900, they did not react well and labeled him a “quack.” Unfortunately, his solar energy ideas destroyed his academic reputation. 

Still, the doctor gained a following, and he pressed on. 

In 1903, he published “Brief fundamentals of nutritional therapy on the basis of the energetic tension in food.” Within a year, demand for his therapies became popular enough that he had to expand the clinic. In 1904, he moved it to the suburbs of Zurich and renamed the clinic “Sanatorium Lebendige Kraft” (Vital Force Sanitarium.)

At Vital Force, the doctor developed a living and eating regime he called the “order therapy.” Participants rose at 6 am, walked before breakfast, spent most of the day outside exercising, and went to bed at 9 pm. The regime also included massages, sunbaths, and cold showers.  

No alcohol, coffee, or tobacco were allowed on the premises, and the food plan was pretty much a raw vegetarian and dairy diet only. Alice Bircher and Berta Brupbacher-Bircher, the doctor’s sisters, transformed his raw food ideas into recipes for the clinic. Every meal started with a dish of their famous Muesli, which contained grated whole apple with nuts, milk, and oats. 

Over the following years, the clinic attracted well-known people such as Hermann Hesse, Golda Meir, and Thomas Mann. 

In 1927, Dr. Benner-Bircher publicly declared that he had given up meat entirely. By the late 1920s, his ideas gained popularity among the general public, and the doctor had become an authority in less conventional, homeopathic medical circles.

Max Bircher-Benner hated that the medical community did not respect him. It’s a bitter-sweet footnote to his life that his work was recognized after his death in 1939 upon the discovery of Vitamin C and other nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Legacy

As the founder of the first plant-based diet clinic and proponent of cleansing to address chronic illness, Dr. Max Benner-Bircher was truly a man before his time.  His ideas from more than 100 years ago shaped our understanding of holistic medicine and the importance of raw foods are still practiced today.

And his Muesli creation, known the world over, remains the standard breakfast not only in his native Switzerland but every European country.

Recipe: Golden Chicken Noodle Soup

 

With autumn upon us, I thought it would be a fun idea to share my version of everyone’s favorite comfort food recipe, especially when you’re feeling a cold or flu coming on – Chicken Noodle Soup

This flavorful recipe includes Ginger and Turmeric for when stuffy noses and sore throats need soothing. And once you have the basic soup made, you can take it in all sorts of delicious directions. 

Replace the egg noodles with rice, white beans, spaghetti, or any stray bag of pasta you have in the cupboard. I like mine with Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Noodles. And of course, load it up with extra vegetables to make it even healthier. 

I use rotisserie-cooked chicken from the grocery store. It’s easier and reduces the amount of prep time. When you’re not feeling your best, an easy recipe is key.

From start to finish, my chicken noodle soup should take no more than 45 minutes to prepare.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoonFresh Grated Ginger
1 tablespoonOlive Oil
1Small Yellow Onion (chopped, about 1 cup)
3 stalksCelery (chopped)
3Carrots (chopped)
½ teaspoonBlack Pepper
½ teaspoonSea Salt
½ teaspoonFresh Thyme (chopped)
2 teaspoonsFresh Grated Turmeric        
2 cartons (8 cups)Chicken Broth 
2 cupsWater
3 cupsRotisserie Chicken (shredded)
8 ouncesWide Egg Noodles
¼ cupFresh Parsley (chopped, to garnish)
1 teaspoonFresh Grated Ginger
 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a large pot, turn heat to medium/high, add olive oil.

2. Once the oil is hot, add in onion, carrots, and celery; cook for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent – about 7 minutes.

3. Add grated Ginger and grated Turmeric, cook with vegetables for 30 seconds.

4. Add in chicken broth, water, black pepper, salt, thyme, shredded chicken, and egg noodles.

5. Stir the chicken and noodles down to the bottom.

6. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Divide soup in bowls, garnish with parsley, and enjoy!

 

Get More Turmeric in Your Diet

For thousands of years throughout many cultures around the world Turmeric has been used to calm, soothe, and aid the body in balancing and healing itself. I know I’m giving my body a gift when I add this golden spice to any recipe. 

You can add Turmeric to almost anything – soups, stews, and smoothies. Add a teaspoon to rice while it cooks, or add 1/4 teaspoon to a cup of tea. Sprinkle it over your hummus or use it to spice up roasted meats and vegetables. Add a pinch of pepper with your Turmeric. And adding black pepper helps your body absorb its therapeutic properties.

An easier, more manageable way to add Turmeric to your diet is through a supplement.

Stonehenge Health’s Turmeric with Ginger provides 1,600mg of curcumin complex and 10 milligrams of BioPerine, a pepper extract, for increased absorption. A powerful turmeric supplement ensures you’re consuming enough to provide your body with the fullest possible health benefits.

8 Easy Memory Boosting Tips & Tricks

It was once believed that the brain develops rapidly in the first few years of a child’s life, then reaches its peak in the early 20s, leveling off around middle age, and then declining with advanced age. We now know that’s not exactly accurate; the brain continues to develop throughout our whole lifespan.

The disturbing thing that happens to the aging brain is the hippocampus shrinks in size, and the protective coating around nerve fibers starts to wear down, reducing the speed of neuronal communication. This reduction can affect your ability to process new information into your memory and retrieve memories already stored in your brain.

But take heart, it’s not all downhill as we age. In older brains, connections between different brain areas become more robust, and the branching of dendrites increases. The result is an improved ability to identify relationships among diverse sources of information, see a bigger picture, and better understand the broader implications of specific issues.

Several things can interfere with brain function as we grow older, including medications, diseases like heart disease and diabetes, poor sleep, and depression. The more you can do now to strengthen your brain and maintain optimal brain health, the more resilient and elastic it will be as you progress into older age. Here, then, are seven simple ways to boost your memory and protect your brain from age-related decline.

 

1. Stimulate your brain

Research shows that an active brain enjoys more new connections between nerve cells, and it can even help generate new brain cells and promote neuroplasticity. Stimulating your brain is easy, simply involving activities that put it to work and make it think. Read more, take a class, learn to play an instrument, create art, or do math or word puzzles, and strive to do fewer passive activities like watching TV.

 

2. Exercise

Exercise is a proven way to heal nearly anything that ails you, including brain decline. Physical activity promotes the development of new nerve cells in the brain, and it improves the connections between existing cells. It also improves brain function by lowering your blood pressure and reducing cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and stress.

 

3. Eat your vegetables

A healthy brain depends on a healthy diet. Feed your mind a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil while cutting down on sugar, animal proteins, and processed foods. A nutritious, mostly plant-based diet can reduce your risk of cognitive impairment, including dementia, as you age.

 

4. Limit your drinking

Excessive alcohol increases your risk for dementia and other forms of brain decline as you age. It can also change your brain’s physical structures and chemical function, leading to addiction and dependence. Limit your alcohol intake to one or two drinks per day, and avoid binge drinking altogether.

 

5. Take care of your mental health

Mental illnesses like anxiety and depression take a toll on your brain function, and while these and other mental illnesses don’t appear to increase the risk of cognitive decline as you age, they can affect your brain function, including your memory and your ability to learn new things. If you experience symptoms of mental illness, talk to your doctor. Mental illness is highly treatable, and there’s no reason to allow your quality of life to suffer because of it.

 

6. Keep your friends close

Social connections have been linked to a lower risk for dementia, and having a healthy social life can lower your blood pressure, improve your quality of life, and even extend your life expectancy. Make it a point to socialize with your friends and family regularly. If you feel isolated, meet new people by joining clubs or volunteering to expand your social network.

 

7. Lower your cholesterol

High cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for dementia, and it can affect your day-to-day brain function. Have your cholesterol tested regularly. If it’s heightened, modify your diet and get more exercise, which will not only improve your cholesterol but also help you lose weight and improve your overall physical and mental health.

 

8. Boost brain health with a supplement

Brain-boosting nootropic supplements can have a positive impact on your brain function. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain provides powerful dosages of essential vitamins and minerals, including brain-boosting ingredients like Vitamin B, Choline, Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A. Two once-daily capsules of Dynamic Brain helps to improve your memory, focus, mental clarity, and cognitive function.

Taking good care of yourself–mind, body, and spirit–goes a long way towards keeping your brain healthy throughout your entire life. Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise your body and your mind daily, and take a daily nootropic support supplement to provide your brain with all of the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning no matter your age.

Sources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/how-memory-and-thinking-ability-change-with-age
https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young

Why Prebiotics Matter & Where to Find Them

Fascinating research continues to uncover the relationships between the bacteria in the gut and the function of numerous body systems. You’ve probably heard of the gut microbiome, also called gut microflora, which is the collection of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract. The microbiome helps regulate inflammation, protects you from bacterial and fungal infections, and forms short-chain fatty acids to help keep harmful invaders out of the gut.

Your gut bacteria play a significant role in your digestive health, cognitive function, mood, and energy levels. Your microbiome is also involved in nutrient processing, the development of vitamins B and K; and the health of your immune system.

A healthy microbiome is one that’s composed of a wide variety of bacterial species. Diversity in the microbiome protects against a number of health conditions, while less-diverse flora may increase the risk of those conditions.

Probiotic supplements and foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt introduce healthy bacteria into the gut. But once the bacteria are there, how do you keep the microbiome healthy?

A thriving community of gut flora needs to be fed a nutritious diet, and that’s where prebiotics come in. Prebiotics are the food the bacteria in the gut consume to maintain optimal health.

Prebiotic foods are generally types of dietary fiber that can’t be digested by the body. Here are five of the best prebiotic foods, with tips on how to fit more of them into your daily diet.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a culinary staple for many cooks, and it promotes the growth of beneficial Bifidobacteria while preventing the growth of “bad” bacteria. Garlic may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to research, and it also has been shown to have antioxidant effects.

You can use garlic in practically any savory dish for added flavor and excellent prebiotic benefits. Sautee or roast it to tame the spiciness and mellow out the flavor. Add it to meat and vegetable dishes, soups, and stews.

2. Onions

Like garlic, you can add onions to nearly any dish, including your breakfast scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, soups, and stews. The prebiotic fiber in onions helps strengthen the gut flora and increase nitric oxide production in the body’s cells. Onions also contain powerful antioxidants that help fight diseases.

3. Asparagus

The prebiotics in asparagus promote healthy bacteria and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Roasted asparagus makes a great side dish for a lean protein, or you can add lightly steamed asparagus to salads and soups.

4. Bananas

Bananas make a quick and easy snack, and they’re fantastic in smoothies, sliced over cereal, and baked into bread. The prebiotic fiber found in bananas increases populations of beneficial bacteria and helps reduce bloating. Bananas are inexpensive, and they’re rich in vitamins and minerals.

5. Apples

Rife with fiber, apples are an excellent prebiotic source. The pectin in apples increases short-chain fatty acids that feed healthy gut bacteria and reduce the number of bad bacteria in the gut. Apples have also been shown to improve digestive health and boost fat metabolism.

Prebiotic Supplementation

Research shows that shifts in the composition of the microbiome may be associated with the development of inflammatory bowel disease, blood cancers, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Especially as we age, it’s essential to make lifestyle choices that promote a healthy, balanced microbiome. Eating plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods or taking supplements will help you maintain better health on many fronts.

A prebiotic supplement like Stonehenge Health’s Ultimate Prebiotic Complex helps to ensure you’re getting the daily prebiotic fiber you need for the healthiest possible gut microbiome. Ultimate Prebiotic Complex can help relieve digestive woes, increase your energy levels, and promote optimal absorption of nutrients for better overall health and vitality.

 

 

Sources:
https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2179
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5797576/

The 10 Worst Foods for IBS

For many people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), symptoms may be triggered by specific foods. What triggers your symptoms may be different from what triggers the symptoms of fellow sufferers, but these 10 foods are likely culprits for anyone with IBS.

1. Gluten

Although gluten is often unfairly demonized, it’s fair to say that gluten can be a major trigger for IBS. Gluten is a type of protein found in certain grains, including rye, wheat, and barley. Many people who have IBS are also gluten intolerant and may experience symptoms like bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.

2. Fried Foods

Fried foods are high in fat and can be particularly hard on the digestive systems of people who have IBS. Frying food makes it more difficult to digest, so other cooking methods are recommended for people with IBS and other gastrointestinal problems.

3. Caffeine

Coffee and other drinks containing caffeine stimulate the intestines and can cause diarrhea. Instead of consuming drinks with caffeine when you need a little boost, go for a brisk walk.

4. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are found in sugarless gum, candy, and diet drinks. Commonly used artificial sweeteners include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, and sucralose, and since these and other sugar substitutes are difficult for the body to absorb, they can easily trigger IBS symptoms.

5. Alcohol

Many people with IBS have trouble drinking alcohol because of how their body digests it. The dehydrating effects of alcohol are also problematic for people with IBS. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, stick with gluten-free beer, or enjoy a cocktail mixed with soda water.

6. Broccoli and Cauliflower

While broccoli and cauliflower are healthy vegetables, they’re not always ideal for people with IBS. These vegetables are among the hardest for people to digest, and when they’re broken down in the intestines, they produce gas and may cause constipation.

7. Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is that which can’t be digested. Although it adds healthy bulk to your diet, insoluble fiber can make diarrhea worse for people with IBS. Soluble fiber, which is found in grains, root vegetables, legumes, and berries, is a better choice if you have digestive woes.

8. Dairy

Dairy products contain fat, which can worsen diarrhea. They also contain lactose, and since many people with IBS are also lactose intolerant, dairy products may need to be restricted. Suitable dairy substitutes include rice, soy, or nut milks and cheeses.

9. Beans and Legumes

For some people, beans and legumes can help reduce constipation by increasing the bulk in the stool. But they’re also notorious for causing gas, cramping, and bloating, especially in people with IBS. Different varieties can produce different results, so trial and error may help you find which types you can safely eat.

10. Processed Foods

Highly processed foods like bread, crackers, sweets, and chips contain high levels of fat, sugar, preservatives, and other additives that can cause problems with digestion. Choosing mostly fresh, whole foods is the healthiest way to eat whether or not you have IBS.

Everyone’s IBS triggers are different, and once you know what yours are, staying away from those foods will help you remain as symptom-free as possible. Regardless of what you eat, a daily probiotic like Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics can help you maintain optimal gut flora balance for better digestion and fewer IBS symptoms.



Sources:
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/irritable-bowel-syndrome/eating-diet-nutrition
https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs-a-to-z

How to Stop Urinary Tract Infections Before They Start

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are common in women, especially as we age. Unfortunately, UTIs are commonly over-diagnosed and over-treated with antibiotics, which can lead to antibiotic-resistant organisms.

Urinary tract infections have a number of causes. A UTI may result when urine pools in the bladder due to an obstructed urinary flow, and the pooled urine grows bacteria. It can also occur when harmful bacteria cling to the urethra and make their way to the bladder. Other causes include sexual activity and a lack of estrogen in the lining of the vagina, which helps protect against UTIs.

Symptoms of a UTI include frequent urination, an urgency to urinate, and a burning sensation that accompanies urination. In elderly women, confusion is a common symptom of a UTI, and it’s often the only symptom. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to a kidney infection, which can be very dangerous, even life-threatening.

How to Prevent UTIs

Prevention is best when it comes to urinary tract infections, especially for older women and those who tend to get them often. Here are the best ways to prevent a UTI.

Stay well-hydrated.
Adequate hydration helps you produce plenty of urine to dilute and flush bad bacteria from the bladder and urethra. Avoid sugary drinks and stick to water for most of your fluid intake.

Take vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps make your urine more acidic, which may prevent the growth of bad bacteria. Get vitamin C from citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens, or take a 500-to-1,000 milligram supplement each day.

Eat (or drink) cranberries.
Perhaps one of the most well-known anti-UTI measures is consuming cranberries, which prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract. Eat dried cranberries, add them to salads or rice, or drink a little unsweetened cranberry juice each day.

Wipe from front to back.
Bacteria hang out around the anus and wiping from back to front can introduce them to your vagina, where they can migrate to the urinary tract.

Urinate after sex.
During sex, bacteria are introduced into the vagina. Urinating afterwards helps to flush it out.

Avoid feminine deodorant products.
The best way to stay fresh is to shower often with mild soap and water. Products like douches, deodorant sprays, and powders can cause a UTI and other problems.

Apply estrogen vaginal cream.
If you’ve gone through menopause, you have less estrogen in your body, which can cause vaginal dryness and promote infection in the urinary tract. Estrogen creams help balance your pH so that good bacteria will flourish.

Take a probiotic. Probiotics are live “good” bacteria in your body that are involved in numerous functions to keep you healthy. According to Harvard University Medical School, taking a daily probiotic may help prevent UTIs by preventing bad bacteria from growing in the vagina. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics contains all nine of the most important bacteria strains recommended for women.

If you get a UTI despite preventive measures, treating it early on is the best way to prevent severe symptoms and complications. If you have symptoms of a UTI, pay a visit to your doctor and consider starting a daily probiotic routine.


 

Sources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/stay-a-step-ahead-of-urinary-tract-infections