I am so excited, I have been wanting to start a series of posts called Healthy Eating and Healthy Living but I couldn't figure out how to keep them all together. I even contemplated starting a new blog just for these posts but really wanted to keep everything here. Then I FINALLY figured out the whole Labels thing on blogger and now I will be able to group them together for easy access (and all this time I thought the "tags" feature was to type in keywords to link your blog when people google things, I am quite computer challenged what can I say!).
I have been inspired to do these posts for awhile now to document our family's journey to a healthier lifestyle. The motivation has increased recently due to my discovery of a blog called 100 Days of Real Food and from watching the documentary Food Matters.
Up until this point it has just been me alone on a quest to try and improve the overall health of my family with my hubby dragging his feet along the way. Ok, so he was more like a kid not wanting to go take a bath who clings, claws and straddles the door so you cannot place them inside. He refused to give up his fast food, white pasta's, white breads, white sugar, white everything as well as his beloved Mt. Dew.
He watched the majority of Food Matters with me and when it was over he told me I need to help him do better. So he basically gave me full reign to take this family in the healthy direction I have been wanting to go for awhile now.
I must admit it wasn't all him dragging his feet though. I still kept my crutches (hello Dr. Pepper, my frenemy!) and I used his refusal to switch as an excuse to indulge myself but now more. I am going to hold myself accountable and make the changes we so desperately need.
I jumped on Ted's offer too the last time I went to the store. I had been buying both white and wheat bread but this time it was only wheat. I don't think he cares so much because I converted him to wrap sandwiches anyways. They are so yummy that he doesn't care that they are also far better for you.
By far my favorite healthy discovery to date is Honey! Local Honey to be exact but we will get to that in a minute (as there is a difference). Honey has long been used not only for it's sweet taste but also for it's immune boosting and healing properties. In the documentary Food Matters Honey is listed as one of the top Superfoods. The use of honey both as food and as medicine dates back to the Eqyptians.
In researching all to post about the almost magical effects of honey I decided there was way too much information to compact down into 1 post so for now I am going to list some great uses for honey, as many as I can think of/find. In the future I plan to write more on all the wonders that makes up this amber liquid gold.
"Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities."
-source: Health Benefits Of Honey
40 (because I could not come up with more) Uses for Honey:
1. Take approximately 1 tblsp of honey and in the palm of your hand mix with approximately 1 tsp of brown sugar. Massage on face and remove with warm water or a warm rag-you will never use chemical facial cleansers again.
2. Next time you are working out or playing sports forget the sports drinks or even the water, instead opt for honey water. Simply mix in 1 teasp per every 8 oz of water. Honey is a natural energy booster, the glucose in honey is absorbed by the body quickly giving you the immediate energy you need and the fructose is absorbed more slowly helping you to sustain the energy boost.
3. Place a dab of honey on a bee sting-the honey will draw the stinger right out. My grandma did this all the time when we were kids.
4. Eat 2 Tblsp of LOCAL honey each day- this not only boosts your overall immune system BUT if you suffer from seasonal allergies local honey can help with the symptoms or even cure the allergies.
5. Next time you are baking some bread replace the required sugar with honey, not only will this make the over all bread healthier but it actually makes it taste yummier too. I have started baking all of our bread goods (bread, rolls, pizza crust, bread sticks, hoagie buns, hamburger buns, etc) with honey instead of sugar.
6. Honey possesses natural antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
7. Use it as a salve on minor burns- because of its natural antibacterial properties as well as natural anti-inflammatory properties making it perfect to treat minor burns.
8. Spread honey on a cut or scrap- Honey is a natural antiseptic and just like with the minor burns the antibacterial properties make honey a great natural healing agent. It also helps reduce swelling and pain and is even believed to help reduce scaring.
9. Help soothe a sore throat- I can personally attest to this one as we have all been sick in our household this week (pesky summer colds!). I had never heard of or used honey for a sore throat before but just continued my daily 2Tbls's in the morning and noticed instant relief! Honey is also antimicrobial so it not only soothes the sore throat but also kills the infection causing it. Which would explain why I am getting better faster than Ted even though I got sick after him.
10. Speaking of being sick, you can also use honey to help aid with other general cold symptoms. Again, with my normal habit of 2Tblsp each day I noticed relief not only of my sore throat but also of my sinus symptoms and over all fatigue. This seems to last a few hours, about the same amount as over the counter medication, and when it wears off I just take 2 more. So the next time you have a cold instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet, reach for the honey instead.
11. Trouble Sleeping? Honey is a great sleep aid. The whole "warm glass of milk and honey" trick your grandma used on you really does work it seems. If milk is not your "thang" try it in a glass of tea, chamomile would be a great option as it is relaxing and also helps with sleep.
12. Honey is great for mild acne problems (see #1 for a simple but wonderful facial scrub)
13. Combine 1/2 cup of honey with 2 tblsp of Olive Oil and apply to your hair as a hair mask. Allow to sit on hair 30 minutes, rinse with cool water (you may want to shampoo to ensure all of the honey is rinsed out). This is a great deep conditioning treatment for hair.
14. Take a "Hot Honey Bath" Add in 1/4-1/2 cup of honey to hot (not burning, but as hot as you can stand it) water and soak. This is not only relaxing but it will also leave your skin silky soft. It is rumored that Cleopatra herself took hot Milk & Honey bathes to keep her skin soft and youthful.
15. Make your kids (and yourself) a nutritious healthy packed lunch simply by making Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Sandwiches or as we call them in our house Monkey-Bee Sandwiches (we called just peanut butter and banana "Monkey" sandwiches, we added the Bee when we started adding the honey). My kids think I am letting them indulge in a treat as a meal but in reality this is 1 of the most nutritious things I could feed them. We use 100% whole wheat/whole grain bread (I make sure its free of HFCS and other unnatural ingredients), Organic Peanut Butter and local Honey. Sometimes we leave the bananas off and just have "Bee-Butter" sandwiches.
16. For a quick and healthy breakfast toast some 100% whole wheat/grain bread, add a smidge of REAL butter and a drizzle of honey and enjoy. Honey is great for providing a boost of energy.
17. Honey helps prevent cancer- honey contains antioxidants, or bioflavonoids, which gives it carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumour properties. This is not to say that it will cure cancer but it can definitely help prevent it from ever forming in your body.
18. It is believed that taking honey regularly can improve overall blood flow because the glucose provides energy in the bloodstream, which is then distributed throughout the body. Glucose is believed to prevent capillary damage due to its ability to improve your blood flow.
19. Further, it is also believed that regular intake of honey can actually stabilize blood sugar levels.
20. Take the juice from 1 lemon and mix it with 2 Tblsp of honey- not only will this help with a sore throat but it will also help aid digestive problems (sour tummy anyone?).
21. Honey can prevent colon damage- if taken daily the antioxidants found in honey can strengthen the colon.
22. Honey is a natural Anxiety reliever. If you are feeling anxious just take some honey straight or mixed in your favorite beverage/food. Honey creates a natural mood stabilizing effect.
23. Honey can prevents Heart Disease (see #18) Honey can preserve the quality of the produced blood, which can help to prevent heart disease in the process.
24. Honey can even SAVE limbs from antibiotic resistant infections such as MRSA and group A streptococcus better known the Flesh Eating bacteria. (source: Honey Remedy Could Save Limbs by Brandon Keim)
25. Honey is great for eczema. Karma suffers from eczema and a dab of honey on the little dry patches (usually on her back and legs) clears things right up. If you don't want sticky clothes I would suggest some nakey time after you apply the honey.
26. Honey is a great treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (see #'s 2, 4 and 11 for starters)
27. This goes along with #22 as not only can Honey reduce your overall anxiety but in doing so it actually cane IMPROVE memory. Less overall anxiety means better overall brain function including memory.
28. Honey can help improve and cure a Bladder Infection-this is great news to me as I have a lot of kidney/bladder problems including infections and stones. To treat a bladder infection, mix one tsp. honey with two tsp. apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Stir well and drink once a day until the infection is cleared.
29. To go along with #28 to help pass a kidney stone combine 1 tsp. of basil with 1 tsp. of honey swallow. Kidney stones will be minimized and expelled easier using this concoction should. Take once or twice a day.
30. Suffer from seasonal allergies? Find LOCAL honey and consume daily (see #4). The bee's collect pollen local to your area and turn it into the honey. Giving yourself a low dose of this each day helps your body build up immunity to it so that you are no longer affected when you breath in the same pollen. While there have been no formal studies done to prove this there was a study on allergies and honey conducted by students at Xavier University in New Orleans that produced positive results.
31. Even if the theory above is inaccurate honey is great for helping many sinus problems including to chronic sinusitis sufferers. It is believed that the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of honey are the reasons for this and as I said in #10 it has helped all of my symptoms with this pesky cold, including the stuffy/runny nose and sinus pain.
32. If you drink tea or coffee (which I don't!) replace the sugar you would normally add with honey.
33. To relieve the achy sting of a sunburn, gently apply a thin layer of honey to the affected area.
34. Honey is lower in calories than sugar, containing 40% less calories than an equal amount of sugar. This makes it very dieter friendly.
35. Honey can treat yeast infections- apply honey to the affected areas, allow to sit 5-10 minutes and wash off with a gentle unscented soap or pure water. Repeat several times a day as needed.
36. Honey can treat athletes foot- rub honey on the infected area before bedtime. Cover the feet with old socks, and leave on overnight. Wash and thoroughly dry the feet in the morning.
36 Honey increases the beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria in the gut when included regularly in the diet.
37. Honey can help heal a diaper rash- with my cold that I currently have I cannot smell anything. This is a blessing and a curse when it comes to stinky diapers. Blessing that I don't have to smell them as I changed them and curse because I am not aware they exist until regular changing times. Because of this Sariah got a bad diaper rash and after learning about the healing properties of honey I decided to try it. For a regular diaper rash just apply a small amount of honey directly to the rash. For a yeast diaper rash mix honey with tea tree oil and apply. This really did help clear the rash up and it had no ill effects on my cloth diapers so I would say it is a cloth diaper friendly option.
38. For a cool summer treat mix up some honey water (see #2 ) and pout into an ice cube tray. Freeze for a few hours and enjoy in your favorite beverage (I like them in cucumber water, you may enjoy them in tea if you drink tea). You could also use popsicles sticks to give the kids a healthy treat.
39. Enjoy honey in place of sugar for all of your recipes, this may need to be tweaked so play around with it. Start out using equal amounts of honey for sugar and then use more or less as needed until you perfect it.
40. Add honey to your morning oatmal or cereal to give a great pick me up for the day. Honey is also great on top of pancakes and waffles in place of syrup.
Make sure the honey you are buying is a good quality 100% pure honey. Watch the big store brands, read the labels, many bigger brands have sugar, water and even High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. They are not pure honey. Try to find a local honey farm to purchase from. I am lucky, one of the "perks" of living in the sticks is that our small country store carries a lot of locally made/grown/harvested foods. I purchase my honey from them, its made less than 20 miles away.
There is no definition for how close honey has to be from to be considered "local". A general consensus seems to be within a 20-30 mile radius or about as far as a bee can travel from the hive.
There are a few types of honey that seem to be held in high reguard for their healing properties, including Manuka Honey. These honey's are, of course, far pricier and I think that while thay may be useful in extreme situations such as #24 when you are trying to save a limb, for the most part as long as you find a good local honey the rest of the benefits can be achieved.
I think I am going to glaze our fish tonight in Honey with some lemon and herbs, can that be #41?
this healthy livin' (hopefully!) mama,