Updated: May 6, 2021
It's gardening time! I live in NJ and we are nicknamed The Garden State. Abraham Browning of Camden, NJ is given credit for giving us this nickname. Browning said that our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other. The name stuck ever since. It is even on the standard license plate! (Source: NJ.GOV)
Regardless of how NJ got the nickname, I am an avid gardener. I suspect I would be regardless of where I lived. I love the whole process. Planting, pruning and the best part: eating what I have grown. Over the past three years, I've really begun to appreciate the nutrition and health benefits of herbs. As I continue to work on improving my health, herbs have become a staple in my routine.
One herb I've always grown is basil. Basil goes great with tomatoes, which are a staple in a veggie garden in NJ. But did you know basil has been traditionally used for colds and chronic lung conditions? It cuts through mucus and relieves congestion. (Source: Joyful Belly)
You may see Tulsi or Holy Basil in supplement form. They are from a different species of basil and are not the same as the basil typically sold in a grocery store. But that is OK! The basil sold in grocery stores can still provide health benefits, especially since it is high in Vitamin C.
It is best to use fresh herbs whenever possible to gain the maximum benefits. But do the best you can. Sometimes, using dried is easier due to the convenience and long shelf life. Here are some of my favorite herbs with powerful health benefits.
Thyme is high in vitamin C and very good for our digestive system. I drink thyme tea every other day. Organic Facts states if you are suffering from an upset stomach, nausea, constipation, bloating, or cramping, thyme tea may be the perfect remedy. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties and soothing nature, as well as antibacterial effects, can help get rid of stomach bugs and promote proper digestion, while also normalizing bowel movements.
How do you know if you have a digestive health issue?
If you’re tired of…
Pain and discomfort from symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating
Anxiety and being tired all the time
Stigma, shame, and embarrassment about your health
Anger and frustration that this is happening to you
The confusion and desperation about whether or not you will ever be FREE of your symptoms. Then I want to tell you about a discovery I made — one that will help you get on top of your symptoms once and for all.
Aren’t you tired of relying on “Dr. Google” to help you diagnose and treat your gut health gut health issues? I bet you are — but that you’re frustrated too. After all, you wouldn’t be searching the internet if anyone was giving you answers that made sense.
And I want you to know... I’ve felt exactly how you’re feeling right now.
My journey hasn’t been an easy one…But I’m guessing neither has yours. I bet it’s been full of pain, frustration, anxiety, and confusion… And, frankly, hopelessness and desperation when you feel a flare coming on.
But what if you could enjoy...
Confidence about eating at family meals, parties, or on dates?
Peace of mind about your symptoms?
Freedom to eat without worrying about every bite?
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Well, I’ve got some incredible news. I’ve developed a step-by-step process, informed by evidence-based research, that will help you manage your symptoms and end your discomfort...
And now you can use that same process to get your health “in sync” at last.
As a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach, I tell my clients the truth about their health goals:
The food you eat may be exacerbating your symptoms. Genetics may also play a role.
Things like infection, a stomach bug, or trauma can make symptoms appear when they might not have been there before.
And there are a whole host of physical and emotional issues that can definitely make it worse — anxiety and stress, poor sleeping habits, menstruation, and more.
Getting your health in sync is about balancing all of this knowledge. It’s about learning to eat the right foods, taking some helpful supplements, and managing your emotions with alternative therapies.
I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy session where we will discuss how you are feeling, what your challenges are and how my services can help. If we decide to work together, great! If now is not the right time, that is OK as well.
What do you have to lose?
Parsley is great to include in every thing you eat and drink every day because it helps eliminate heavy metals from our body. How do we get heavy metals in our body? Pollution in the water we drink, mercury fillings, medications, wear and tear on cookware and food containers, and pesticides found in our food. If you have a thyroid issue, parsley increases T3 production and helps feed the thyroid. Eating about 1/4 cup a day will help remove heavy metals from the intestinal tract. We are learning that there is a gut-thyroid connection - meaning if you have a thyroid issue, more than likely your gut is unhealthy as well!
Cilantro is another herb that helps remove heavy metals from the body. Specifically, mercury and lead. There are some people who can't eat cilantro because it tastes like soap! There is a genetic variation in the way the smell of cilantro is processed. For this reason, people can't eat it!
If you can eat it, cilantro stimulates release of digestive enzymes, helping to create more efficient digestion, as well as better assimilation of the nutrients in the foods eaten. In fact, if you love hot spicy foods, adding a generous handful of cilantro to your favorite dish can help alleviate the indigestion and heartburn that often accompanies these foods. Cilantro and coriander also help decrease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and the bloating, gas and constipation discomfort that comes with it. (Source: Integrative Medicine of NJ)
During cough cold and flu season, you may have been told to take an oregano oil supplement. Why? Because it is a powerful anti-viral herb that can help you stay well during peak virus season. Oregano has been found to contain 42 times the antioxidant power of apples, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries. (Source: White Rabbit Institute of Healing) While supplements can be helpful, supporting your body throughout the year with oregano helps keep the immune system strong.
Chives are part of the onion family and very easy to grow. Regular trimming will help the plant replenish itself quickly. Chives are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and has some cancer fighting properties. It can lower cholesterol, blood pressure and help prevent dangerous blood clots. (Source: Chinese Medicine Living)
When cooking with herbs UNL Food recommends adding delicate herbs like basil, chives and parsley, 1-2 minutes before the dish is done cooking. However, more sturdy herbs like oregano and thyme can be added the last 20 minutes of cooking. This is an awesome cooking tip since I usually just throw all the herbs in at once without considering the cooking time needed.
5 POPULAR SECRETS OF EATING HERBS EVERYDAY
To summarize, here are the 5 secrets:
Herbs provide powerful health benefits and help prevent illness
Fresh herbs are easy to grow, if you are so inclined
Herbs have different cooking times, so it is best to learn a little bit about when is the best time to use them in recipes
Herbal supplements can help keep you healthy during times of peak seasonal illness
If you can use fresh herbs over dried, that is the best way to consume them regularly
Cheddar Chive Skillet Corn Bread by Delicious Living. I love a good bread recipe! This recipe is gluten-free as it calls for a gluten-free flour. But it if you don't have issues with gluten, the recipe states you can also use whole wheat flour - which is an ingredient I always have on hand. Click here for the recipe.
Sage Breaded Chicken, Spinach and Snap Pea Salad by Delicious Living. I know - I did not write about sage. But this recipe has a vinaigrette that calls for parsley. Plus, this salad has strawberries and basil leaves as well, making it a perfect combination of veggies, herbs and fruit! Click here for the recipe.
Garlic Thyme Chicken Thighs by Julia's Album. Chicken thighs are so tasty, juicy and usually inexpensive. I love cooking with them. You need an oven-safe braiser pan or skillet with a lid to make this recipe. It is relatively fast to come together, only 35 minutes from start to finish. Click here for the recipe.
Honey Oregano Pork Chops by Tastes of Lizzy T. I really like the savory and sweet aspect of this recipe. The honey oregano is part of the marinade for the pork chops. It is recommended to marinade the pork chops 4-6 hours - so making the marinade in the morning and letting the pork chops sit all day would do it. It doesn't take long to cook after the marinade is done so dinner is on the table in about 30 minutes after you make a side dish and veggie to go with it. Click here for the recipe.