Some like it Hot…Chili Peppers

Is there anything hotter than chili peppers?  They contain a compound called capsaicin, which gives a pungent flavor. It is the plant that puts fire on your tongue and tears in your eyes whenever you eat spicy Mexican, Szechuan, Indian or Thai food. The hotter the chili peppers the more capsaicin present. The higher the capsaicin the more antioxidant is present. Why do so many of us crave hot spicy food even though it makes our eyes tear. From a holistic point of view, the craving for hot, spicy food can possibly mean the desire for more excitement and stimulation in our lives. Then again, it might be as simple as the body craving something it truly needs or pure culinary delight. Regardless, are chili peppers beneficial?  For so long they have been wrongly accused of contributing to stomach ulcers. This is a misconception in so far as they can help prevent ulcers by killing H. pylori bacteria and stimulating the stomach to secrete protective juices.  This may also help in killing unwanted bacteria in the small intestine a major cause of irritable bowel syndrome.  Capsaicin has now captured the interest of many researchers. It raises body temperature (burning calories) as well as curbing appetite, aiding in weight control. A strong connection has been made in its’ power to kill cancer cells especially prostate cancer. Capsaicin can relieve many types of headache pain by clearing sinuses of unwanted congestion. A strong anti-inflammatory agent, it is being studied as an aid in reducing arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy (loss of sensitivity to peripheral nerves) as well as controlling insulin resistance. Meals containing chili peppers are shown to require a lower amount of insulin after eaten as opposed to the amount required after a very bland meal. Among the many benefits, it may also contribute to heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglycerides.  In addition, chili peppers provide 6% of your daily Vitamin C and 10% of Vitamin A. Ready to add a little spice in your life? Perk up your meals by adding a pinch to an omelet, to black beans or potato soup, make it part of your salad dressing or simply add to your diet to keep your feet warm (another benefit).

Vinegar…

 

Vinegar…Instead of using store bought dressings which are usually loaded with unnecessary fats, sugar and salt, explore the different types of vinegars now on the market. Each has a very distinct flavor when combined with high quality olive oil. One of my favorites is “Pear Infused White Balsamic”. Vinegar is also a fermented food which strengthens and nourishes our small intestines

Healthy Weight Loss Tip #13

Be Patient: Losing unwanted weight should be as slow a process as gaining the weight was. By losing weight slowly while exercising, you will allow the body to retain its muscle and slowly lose unwanted fat. Strive for a pound a week while focusing on changing eating habits as opposed to looking for a quick fix.

Can You Top This…Dates & Mushrooms

Ingredients:

– 1 medium onion
– Box of Porcini Mushrooms
– 4 Medjool Dates
– Rosemary
– Pepper
– Palm full of sliced almond

 

Directions:

– Chop onion very fine and saute in olive oil until clear
– Chop dates into 1/4 inch pieces and add to onions for 1 minute while turning
– Add mushrooms, some rosemary, pepper and almonds, cover and cook down mushrooms to 1/2 the size. (about 4 min.)
Exciting topping for fish, poultry or as a vegetarian dish over pasta or grains.

Building a Strong Core…

One of the best exercises for building a strong core is an exercise known as the “Plank”. This can either be performed with full extension of the elbows or as shown above. Try holding for 30 sec. then move on to longer periods of a minute or two. A strong core is so important for optimum performance in any sport as well as for maintaining a strong back.  

Healthy Weight Loss Tip #12

Choose a Variety of Colors for your Meals. Every pigment of every food represents a particular vitamin. To ensure that you are consuming a wide variety of vitamins and minerals make your plate as colorful as possible. Start with a base of green and then go from there. An example would be sauteed spinach with red peppers and garlic. Add to this a side of mashed sweet potatoes.

Generosity…

What does it mean to be a generous person? Does generosity have as much of a benefit on the giver as the receiver? In 16th century England the word generous was originally used to describe a person belonging to a lineage of nobility. In the 17th century the word was expanded to include nobility of spirit as well as heritage.  Traits of character such as courage, strength, gentleness and fairness were also included in the definition. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the liberal donation of money and possessions began to be associated with the word. Presently it is not associated with any level of social or economic status but simply a quality of an admirable person. Generosity is something volunteered as opposed to something being done out of obligation. Being a generous person is not something that is done randomly but if practiced becomes a moral orientation to life. In so doing we unconsciously reject selfishness, greed, fear, and arrogance. It encompasses more then just being liberal with money and possessions but includes giving of ones’ time, talents, attention, aid, encouragement and emotional availability. This ideal of acting with unselfish regard for others for some may come naturally. Although most of us possess empathy, giving without expecting anything in return can be a difficult concept. True generosity entails looking out for society’s common good and giving from the heart. Since it is devoid of any egoistic motivation it is derived solely out of the need to help one in distress. In short, by practicing true acts of generosity we expect no compensation or benefits either direct or indirectly nor recognition for our actions. True Generosity or Altruism has been associated with better mental health and a general feeling of well-being, fulfillment and energy on the part of the giver. Generosity by nature is the opposite of selfishness and is an ideal that we should all aspire towards. So hold a door for someone, let someone in your lane while driving or check in on an elderly neighbor.  Be creative, use your imagination, simple selfless acts can do so much for our world.