Health & Wealth Archives

needs_and_wants

 

Your distinction between needs and wants determines the quality of your life. It may lead as far as the difference between mediocre and remarkable.

Needs are the essential or necessary things that support your well-being. On all levels.

Wants are of two kinds. The first kind are your long-term intents and deep desires.These are of significant importance but are not the subject of this post.

The second kind of wants are the momentary impulses to satisfy your greed for pleasure or status.They run on an instant gratification principle.

You can not only survive, but thrive on much less

We buy stuff because we want it. We buy more stuff because we want it. And then, we buy even more stuff. Soon, our lovely stuff becomes clutter.

Of course, many things are useful. They enrich our lives, add convenience, entertainment or fun (or at least a possibility for these), but overall they are not the most important things.

The truth, easily forgotten, is this. You can survive on much less than you currently do (unless you are very, very poor). Even more, you can finally thrive when you focus on your basic needs and make space for growth in your life.

You don’t need the many things you buy or use. These are your wants. Your instant reward for pleasure, worth or status.

For instance, if you have internet at home, you can perfectly cancel your TV subscription and follow the most important news only.

You can choose to drive a second-hand car or use public transport. Even better, you can commute by bike. In the end, the car is your means of transport and usually your liability.

You may stop buying sandwiches at work and prepare your own lunch at home. You may stop buying coffee and start drinking water and herbal teas instead. You may stop indulging in smoking or alcohol.

You may buy moderately-priced clothes instead of fancy designs.

You may rent a smaller apartment than you currently have.

Do you need to buy the latest ipad just because it is there? Surely, it is cool to play with the newest technology. It is fun. But, do you really need this? Unless your job depends on being up-to-date with the latest technology – let’s face it – a new gadget is your want.

Note: I am not advocating to cut your spending for the sake of saving money. It makes sense, of course, but concerning your finances, a more efficient strategy is is to earn additional money aside.

My point is different. Surviving on less is about essential needs and conscious practices that make space in your life, be it physical, mental or emotional, so that you can gain clarity and focus on what is the most important. It is also about the awareness behind the choices you make or impulses you follow.

Happiness and stuff

It is an illusion that the abundance of possessions will give you true happiness. Possessions have to be handled and maintained. They require attention, care, time, energy and money. They will make you either very busy to the point of exhaustion or make a mess of your life when you become a stuff collector. Happiness does not depend on how much you own to impress others, but actually on the quality of living in the now.

If we consider the feeling of happiness as the function of the amount of stuff you own we will observe a specific behavior, following the curse of dimensionality principle in statistical learning or rational decision taking. Initially, with the increase of possessions you become happier until you reach a point where the reverse trend begins. Then, the more you own and maintain, the less happy you become. Why? Because you have all the stuff or possessions you may want but hardly any time to enjoy them.

Surprisingly, this saturation point is not as high as you would imagine. Stuff multiplies super-fast and occupies any room it finds.

Why do we buy stuff?

We buy stuff because we blindly follow the instant gratification principle and/or we accept consumerism as the working model of reality.

Instant gratification vs delayed reward

Instant gratification is the satisfaction you gain from impulse behaviors. When something appeals to your senses, be it beautiful clothes, a fancy handbag, great climbing shoes or the newest smartphone, your natural response is to want it.

You see a delicious cake, you want it and you eat it. You feel like having the fifth cup of coffee. You want it and you drink it. You see the newest ipad. It is even thinner and slicker in the design than you imagined. You want it so you buy it.

Wait.

Wanting a thing and wanting it badly now is the key characteristic of toddlers and preschoolers. It is the time window, between one and four, where the emotional-cognitive brain is being hugely developed. The verbal-intellectual brain (neocortex) will begin a fast development only around the age of four.

Children at the preschooler age are emotionally very expressive, going from a perfect laughter to a total frustration in a split of a second. There are battles of wills, stubbornness and tantrums about the things they want to have now or their way. They are learning to experience and handle their emotions. They have not yet developed a time perspective, not even mentioning any reasoning ability (to be developed much later). Emotions are in the moment and they need to be expressed excessively.

Any conclusions from this?

Delayed reward

It is possible to teach preschoolers simple ways of waiting before you turn your attention to them. Similarly, it is possible for us to practice patience. Persistence and ability to delay gratification are the antidote for getting out of debt and taking care of own financial future. They are a must-have qualities of conscious people: happy, fulfilled and successful.

Concerning the aspect of delayed gratification, the most famous experiment is perhaps the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment studying the impulsiveness of four- and six-year old children at a nursery.  The kids were offered either a single marshmallow or two marshmallows if they would wait for some time. The experimenter told the children that he had to leave for a while. The children could choose to eat the marshmallow immediately, but if they waited for him to come back before eating it, they could eat two marshmallows instead.

Some children ate the marshmallow immediately, but many attempted to wait for the extra reward. Of those, one third was rewarded with the second marshmallow. Not surprisingly, age was a major determinant.

The same children were tested 10 years later and while entering the adulthood. The ones who ate the marshmallow immediately were compared to the ones who were able to delay gratification. The later group described more competent adolescents who also scored better academically. An additional study in 2011 shows that such characteristics remain for life. See the article here.

In short, the conclusion from these and related articles is this. Instant gratification is related to people who tend to be stubborn, impulsive, easily overwhelmed, prone to stress and jealousy with a low self-image. On the contrary, delayed gratification is associated with people who are assertive, self-disciplined, dependable, eager to learn, able to cope with disappointment and frustration and more competent academically.

If you want to apply delayed gratification to your life, learn how to practice patience and self-discipline.

Consumerism

We have subscribed to the consumerism-based reality where consumption of goods is the central theme. It is a concept in which our worth or value is reflected by what we consume. The idea has repeatedly been broadcasted in media and by various companies and corporations for a long time. As a result, we have come to believe that it is what we buy and have that reflects who we are.

The philosophy is narcissistic in the sense that the primate emotional self is put on pedestal to be worshiped or satisfied. We buy things to feel good, to express ourselves or our personalities, to show off or reflect our importance, or to seek approval from others. We buy for pleasure, acceptance or status. We buy to belong. We buy to keep up with the peers, colleagues, friends, family and so on. We buy to look better than the neighbors. How pathetic is this!

It is quite common that women will go shopping when they are emotionally low, depressed or frustrated. New clothes, shoes or bags will often cheer them up. We have come to celebrate our life by spending money on goods. This is however unsustainable, as on average, at least in the USA and the UK, we spend much more than what we are making.

What do you really need?

Spend some time on this question.

What do you really need?

Your answers should relate to things that contribute to your long-term health, emotional and mental well-being and success. Begin to question anything you want to buy that cost more than, say, 25 GBP / EUR / dollars.

Think about your recent impulse purchases. Think about what happened in the moment of buying the thing and just before it. What was the trigger behind the purchase? How did you feel at that moment? What did you think at that time? How did you justify the purchase to yourself?

Identify the triggers in your mind and simply pre-program the desired action that should happen instead.

Find a way to distract yourself from buying or avoid the trigger from arising in the first place. Know your touch buttons and simply have a procedure in operation that saves them from pressing.

Play the scene in your head and choose a strategy that leads to non-buying.

You are ready for the next time.

A very short guide to buying stuff

  1. Repeat this mantra multiple times a day for a month: “Owning more stuff wastes my time and energy, creates hassle and takes me off track. I only buy what I need”.
  2. Pause before you buy small things. Are they really your need?
  3. If there is something above 50 GBP/EUR/dollars that you want to buy (different than your regular food or expenses), wait before your purchase. Wait a week for small things. Wait a month or more for big things.  Do you really, really need them?
  4. Pay cash.
  5. Invest the money you have not spent. Begin building your wealth: health, education or skills, relationships or assets.

In a month you will start to see the results.

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A great book on consumerism is Spent by Geoffrey Miller. Read it and you will learn new things.

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Photo credit Fe Langdon, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.

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Wealth creation

Photo courtesy Jan available on Flickr.

Getting rich or wealthy is a dream of many.
You would like that too, wouldn’t you?

Let us begin with the four pillars of wealth creation.

According to a dictionary, wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. Interestingly enough, we often think of wealth in terms of accumulated money or possessions. We forget that wealth is so much more than money.

In short,

Wealth creation is about habits, practices and systems that provide you with the abundance of resources. Of various kinds.

This can only be achieved and maintained through conscious thinking and actions.

Rich vs wealthy

Let me first clarify the difference I perceive between “rich” and “wealthy”. Even though they may be considered as synonyms, their meanings are different in the practical use of the English language.

Richness is about a series of events in which we earn money or receive money. We may think of a well-paid job (but not necessarily secure), investments, inherited money or lottery wins. When we hear “rich”, we think of “being rich” or, more frequently, we think of “getting rich”. Ideally, fast 😉 The later expression describes external events that help us to earn or receive money, or collect valuable resources.

Wealth is about a process in which we create and deliver value, maintain the resources we have and accumulate new ones. When we hear “wealth” we think of “creating wealth” or “maintaining wealth” which are about long term approaches that involve a personal change.

In my opinion, “rich” is to “wealthy” as external circumstances that force you or help you to grow are to a self-inspired personal transformation. The difference lies in the details: the level of consciousness, value creation, independent thinking, self-discipline and the set-up of right systems.

Wealth creation

We are now at the core message here. There are four pillars of wealth creation. These are:
– Health
– Education
– Relationships
– Assets

Your health is your wealth

As you know it is hard to fully enjoy life when health is poor.  There are multiple limitations you will need to deal with, including low energy levels, possibilities for taking action and perhaps even the level of independence. Surely, you can achieve great things in any situation, but only when you take sufficient care of yourself first. When your health is compromised, you will spend lots of effort, time, money and energy to get yourself back on track.

Choose to become responsible for your health now. It may take some time before you get well, perhaps even years, but it is worth it. Even if you cannot become perfectly healthy, you can still create habits that support you in the optimal functioning on daily basis. Decide to take health as a life-time project and you will discover what serves you and what depletes you. In addition, you will learn to optimize both (maximize the former and minimize the latter).

Improvements will not likely happen overnight but they will come if you persist. Educate yourself on eating well, healing with whole foods, exercise, release of emotions (such as grudges, disappointments or anger), life in kindness and gratitude, meditation, prayer and rest. It is simpler than it sounds.

The challenge is that nobody can tell you what is right for you. There are theories, practices and guidance available. But there is a lot of confusion even with respect to the basic things: how to eat well or how to exercise well.

For any diet or recommendation you will easily find a diet with the opposite ones. E.g. raw food diet vs all-cooked diet, high-protein diet vs low-protein diet, eating small meals frequently vs fast-5 diet (eating only within five consecutive hours and fasting the remaining 19h – imagine that!), whole-grain based diet vs no-grain diet.

Obviously, the same holds for the exercising plan.

Finding meaning in chaos

How can you find out what makes sense?

I think that the first step is to learn about yourself. It can only happen through self-reflection and paying attention how particular food (or exercise) effects you during a day. Example questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you usually warm or cold? (too warm? too cold?)

If you are too warm you may need to eat more raw vegetables. If you are too cold, you may need to eat more cooked and spicy food.

  • What is your tendency under stress: anxiety or depression?

Anxiety is about confusion and expansion so you may need to eat food that encourages contraction such as naturally salty food (e.g fish) or drink herbal teas such as peppermint tea. Depression is about contraction, so you may need to eat food that nourishes and support expansion such as sweet root vegetables (carrot, parsnip, swede, sweet potatoes, pepper), lamb, lettuce or drink liquorice tea.

  • How do you feel satisfied after a protein-rich meal? Energetic or sleepy? Hungry soon after or heavy stomach? How do you feel after a carb-rich meal? Energetic or sleepy?

Depending on the action of protein and carbs on your body you need to find the optimal ratio. Warm people are often slow metabolizers, so it is the best to include more carb-rich food in their diets. Cold people are usually fast metabolizers and it is best to include more protein-rich food in their diets.

  • Which cravings or additions do you follow? Caffeine? Sugar or sweets? Energy drinks? Salty food?
  • What climate do you live in?

Hot climates will need more cooling foods, eating in their raw forms. Cold climates will need more cooked foods (such as soups or stews) to warm up the body.

  • What type of food depletes your energy soon after the meal?
  • What type of food make you feel energized hours after the meal?

Pay attention to what you eat and how it effects you. Health is a complex project and only through self-education, experimenting, reflection and observation you can determine what is best for you.

Why is health so important?

I believe that taking care of your physical, emotional and mental health is the first step to wealth creation. Why? Because your creative power, clear mind and good performance depend on your being well both in the mind and in the body.

More importantly, in the process of learning how to optimize and maintain your health you will learn how to deal with confusing information, cut through chaos, find meaningful suggestions, experiment and test various approaches. This is all done in order to set up habits and systems that promote your well-being. It is not an easy process, but possible!

Having learned how to take care of your health will teach you skills that can easily be transferred to creating abundance in your life. In the end, the maintenance of your health is about the right habits and approaches to which you stick daily.  It will prepare you to handle similar challenges, but now with respect to independent thinking, saving, investing and business.

Eating well

I think that eating well is very important. What “well” means, however, depends on a person. One person’s healing food may be a poison to another. And I mean it.

I don’t advocate any particular diet because I don’t follow any to the letter. Moreover, it is a personal choice. I eat meat, even though I experimented with the vegetarian and vegan diets in the past. I drink green smoothie every day, self-made juices a few times a month and protein drinks most of the days.

I was very enthusiastic about the raw food diet and experimented with it for a few months, but I ultimately decided against it. Not because the diet is bad, but because it is not optimal for me. In the cold / rainy climate, where I live,  I feel more nourished by warm, cooked meals than by raw meals. As I also long for leafy greens and vegetables, I eat both raw food and cooked meals.

When I cook I often follow the ideas from the traditional Polish cooking modified by the principles of the Paleo diet or the five element theory from the traditional Chinese medicine. I also use fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles) in the kitchen and lots of herbs, where turmeric, wild thyme, ginger, basil, marjoram, cumin, cloves and black pepper and chilli are my beloved standard. They are pretty healthy, by the way.

Books

There are a few books that are thought provoking. Please don’t take them as dogmas even though the authors have strong opinions. Avoid to be biased in thinking by beliefs of the authorities or gurus. take what speaks to you and adopt the ideas to your personal circumstances.

Traditional foods

Five elements cooking / whole foods

Paleo diet

Green smoothie and high raw diet

Health is your first foundation towards the wealth creation. Please treat it with respect.

Your education is your wealth

I understand education broadly as an inspired learning, not necessarily bound to particular diplomas or titles, schools or universities. All education is self-education as you will ultimately learn things by yourself. The help of mentors, teachers or masters will usually speed up the learning process or allow you to better understand the foundations. Mentors are not necessary though. Schools or universities provide teaching systems which will serve some but may be too limited for others.

The truth is that you can learn new things all the time by studying books, online learning, following courses, learning from a mastermind group or a mentor, training at university, and so on. And there is plenty available for free. Just look around!

You can also learn through observation, experimenting, reflections and discussions with others. There are many ways to enquire knowledge and put it to test. And yes, testing it is necessary to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

My experience is that new skills and new techniques add to your repertoire of life experience. A new skill creates new neuron connections in the brain. As a result, there are more paths for information processing. And you would rather choose to have your brain full of connections than empty, wouldn’t you?

Your intelligence depends on the recognition of patterns, observing the difference and connecting seemingly unrelated ideas. The more connections in your brain, the higher your intelligence. The more you know and can, the more interesting your life becomes.

Skills developed in one area can often be transferred (after some modification, obviously) to another area. This is a common phenomenon in science when new inspiration and creative solutions arise from the marriage of particular ideas in e.g. computer science and physics, neurology and computer science, organic chemistry and math and so on. But the same applies to our lives too.

Your knowledge on nutrition and cooking skills can help you to organize your clutter-free life. Your organization skills can help you to become a good teacher. Your talents with kids can help you to become an artist. Your musical trainings can help you become a good scientist. Your engineering skills can help you become a great climber. And so on.

Your knowledge and your skills are your valuable resources, your second pillar to wealth creation.

Always look for learning something new – there is no better way for increasing intelligence. Moreover, learning is fun.

Your relationships are your wealth

It’s hard to exist alone. It is certainly possible and even greatly serves a few individuals, but without community we lack both reference for our growth and a place where we belong. Relations create a context and a domain of knowledge. It is a matrix where we live in. They reflect to us who we are and help us develop. They also pose challenges, which we understand here as possibilities for growth.

Most importantly, relationships allow us to receive love and to give love to others and live in a flow. This is the optimal state of being in which we feel deeply alive. We keep balancing between the polarities of similarity and difference, independence and interdependence, giving and receiving, sorrow and joy. Without relationships we loose the meaning of life.

It is the quality and depth of relations that matter most, not the quantity. We long for meaningful connections with others, for the recognition of ourselves and own vulnerabilities in others. We are tired of surface courtesies and polite talk for the sake of keeping manners.

If this is true for you, start to meet people where they are – in their weak spots and in their achievements. Seek to understand first, listen actively and develop empathy. Cherish their achievements. Be kind. Volunteer to help. Spread love. And your life will become meaningful.

Seek to connect with inspiring and positive people and cut off draining relations. Find good teachers. Make friends with people who already have the skills you want to develop. Because it matters.

Recognize you are not alone. Your wealth lies in the matrix of people who are supportive of you. Appreciate that.

Your assets are your wealth

Assets as possessions are the usual ingredient of wealth. But there is some confusion about assets and liabilities. For instance a house or a car are usually considered as assets, definitely on the balance sheets. They are not necessarily so.

Let’s keep things simple. Assets are possessions or resources which bring us money. Liabilities are possessions which cost us money.

A house you bought with a 20-year mortgage is not your asset. It is your liability. First of all, you don’t own it. Secondly, you have to make repairs or investments as things worn out. The house costs you money. Even if you pay the mortgage, there are still taxes and maintenance costs – the house does not bring you income (until you sell it, obviously).

On the other hand, a house becomes an asset when you rent it and the monthly payments cover the necessary investments (and mortgage if there is one) and leave you some money on the top.

Clearly, a car is a liability. Its value deteriorates quickly with time and there are high maintenance costs. For this reason the best advice is to drive 2nd hand cars, and, ideally until the end. A piece of land that you own and lease to a farming business is an asset.

Saving accounts look like an asset because you seem to earn some money by interest. However, many banks do not keep up with the rate of inflation. For instance a bank may offer 1% interest while the inflation rate is 5%. Consequently, by keeping money on your account you basically loose money. Isn’t that ironical?  It is usually much more profitable to invest the money wisely in a business or to buy gold or silver.

Please educate yourself on the subject of finances. Ramit Sethi, who also published the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich, is an example to learn from.

The biggest asset for wealth creation

It is you.

Yes, it is you.

Surprised?

It is who you are and whom you are becoming.
It is your being: your vision, your purpose and your integrity.
It is your doing: your traits, your skills and your actions.

Finally

Wealth creation is like farming. Improve your soil first (health and assets) so that you can plant quality seeds (education), support their growth (education and relationships) and collect your abundant crops. It is possible.

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healing_tea

This is a post (other than usual, yet) about important aspects of our conscious living. Health.

We usually do not fully appreciate health or well-being until we overdrive ourselves and begin to suffer from some minor or major issues. And then the challenge begins.

Health

Health is the first pillar of wealth creation in your life. It is simple to maintain once you are well, but it is a complex endeavour to pursue in the first place. Why? Because we are individuals with individual needs on all levels of our being.

Multiple factors often contribute to any problem arising in the body or in the mental sphere. More importantly, the most obvious factors are usually not the most influential. For instance, you may think that your flu is caused by bugs you picked up at work, but the truth is that it happened because of your compromised immune system. And the true reasons are overwork, stress, lack of proper nutrition and lack of sleep. If your immune system is enhanced daily, hardly any bugs will catch you.

Know yourself

It all comes down to knowing yourself and finding out what serves you. The choices you make every day influence your well-being.

What works for me, may not work for you. And vice versa. The most successful or logically appealing diets may not help you a bit, and even make you sick. The most advanced training equipment may not help you get fit. The most acclaimed carrier you chose to pursue may put you under constant stress and ultimately lead you to a disease.

And we are often in confusion, influenced by others, bombarded by media or subscribed to strong ideas. It takes time to recognize what is false and where is your potential. But the time is going to elapse anyway, so you can better spend it by taking responsibility for own life and making conscious decisions.

It takes time to get to know yourself, as we usually hold tightly to old or dysfunctional ideas, beliefs or models which stopped serving us a long time ago. Yet, we cling to the distorted image of who we are as we afraid to distort a mediocre yet comforting homeostasis of our being. Step out of your comfort zone and take a journey into unknown. It is worth it.

As a conscious being you need to become a detective searching and analyzing what serves you well and what depletes you. You need to test ideas, approaches or methods to find the ones that support your development and well-being. And, finally, you need to employ discipline to set up health-promoting habits.

Health is a maintenance process

All in all, health is a maintenance process.  It relies on four foundations of physical health, emotional health, mental health and spiritual health. They all are co-dependent and influence each other. In short, health is an act of balancing all our responsibilities and needs.

Health is supported by

  • eating nourishing meals, cooked or prepared from whole foods and high quality ingredients
  • physical exercise
  • loving others and being loved
  • sun exposure (walks, sportive activities, exercise in the fresh air)
  • maintaining personal space for development (journaling, relaxation, thinking, praying, meditation, etc)
  • rest, relaxation and letting go of emotions
  • sufficient sleep
  • good laughter
  • passion and hobbies
  • spending time with friends and the loved ones
  • and living a purpose (pursuing a goal bigger than you are).

Healing teas

There are times we don’t eat the right meals, don’t exercise, spend time indoors, work most days and have no rest, run on empty batteries or lack a good sleep. And, a strike of sudden physical, emotional, or mental challenge may be a drop too much. So, we become ill.

While healing is a process, there are remedies that can help us to function better. One of them are healing teas.

Cold, flu, catarrh, sore throat or indigestion are the usual suspects. While I am not free from them, I generally use home remedies made myself to help me go through such times. Not to mention that I also enjoy them 🙂

Here I present three fantastic teas, easy to prepare at home, given that you have the ingredients. These are the teas that will boost your immune system and help you get back on feet.

I call them killer teas because they are meant for the brave ones only. Just kidding. The metaphor is to “kill the cold or bugs”. To understand why it is so, just prepare one yourself.

Drink the teas always freshly made, 30min before a meal or 1h after the meal. Ideally, before going to bed.

Killer tea no 1: jump-back-to-life tea

This tea prevents cold and flu. It is super hot and you may feel it will kill you at the spot. It works amazingly well and I strongly recommend it.

Great for: lack of energy, lack of focus, cold or flu. It works wonders.

Jump-back-to-life tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon cacao powder
1/2 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Add cacao powder, vanilla pod and cayenne pepper. Add more pepper if you like it super hot. Mix well. Cover with a lid. Cook for 3min. Drink it warm.

This tea works wonders. Have I already told you that this tea is great? It is. (Even if you have to summon courage to drink it.)

Killer tea no 2: rebalance-me tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: stomach pain, liver-stomach indigestion (overeating), gases and a cold.

Rebalance-me tea (1 person)

1 teaspoon thyme (wild thyme is somewhat milder)
2 teaspoon liquorice
1/2 cm ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder 
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add thyme, liquorice and ginger root (or ginger powder). Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 7-10 min. Drink it warm.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes or generally have a tendency for being too hot.

Killer tea no. 3: boost-me-up tea

This is a tea which is strongly warming up. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effects and immune boosting effects. It may make you sweat.

Great for: being over-tired and over-worked, lack of energy, cold and flu.

Boost-me-up tea (1 person)

1cm of ginger root or 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
1/2 small lemon
3 teaspoons of raw (unpasteurized) honey
3-4 drops of propolis
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder (optional)
1 1/2 cup water

 

How-to:

Bring water to boiling in a heat-resistant glass cooking pot. Cut ginger root into tiny pieces. Add ginger root (or ginger powder), cayenne pepper and cloves powder. Cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 10-12 min. Leave it to rest until the liquid becomes warm, neither hot, nor luke warm. Then squeeze the juice from the lemon, add honey and propolis. Mix thoroughly. Drink it warm.
It is important to add honey and propolis to warm water (not hot) so that the natural healing ingredients are not affected by the high temperature.

Don’t drink it while taking antibiotics, hormonal supplements and when you are suffering from hot flushes.

Final words

The killer teas work wonders because their natural ingredients address your immune system on multiple and combined levels.

So, treat yourself with a killer tea. Your healing is worth it.

***

I encourage you to stock yourself up with the basic potent herbs which can be used as an aid in healing or to support your health. These are: cinnamon, curcumin, cloves powder, liquorice, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger and cumin.

***

Photo courtesy Treasach available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

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Other health-related posts:

It will soon be 19 months since the beginning of the green smoothie revolution in my life. I have been enjoying it so far. More importantly, my kids enjoy it too.

The daily habit

As a family we drink a green smoothie every day. The only exception was our recent travel, where I found it too complicated to stick to the green smoothie habit. Nevertheless, these two weeks brought me valuable lessons.

First, after a few days, I began to experience strong sweet cravings and had to deal with them daily. (As a result I ate a number of cakes.) Secondly, I discovered I really missed the sweet-bitter, yet satisfying taste of a green smoothie. Thirdly, after being back, my kids welcomed the green smoothie drink with joy and a demand for more. This was a surprise for me and a sign they missed that too!

Sweet cravings are explained by Victoria Boutenko as an insufficient intake of calcium. Calcium is sweet. And even though you may think you drink milk and eat vast amounts of diary, there is more and more evidence that calcium from milk or cheese is not as easily absorbed as we want it to believe. Moreover the mucus forming feature of milk as well as pasteurization likely make milk more problematic for our health than valuable (see e.g. at the study which shows that pasteurized milk has a carcinogenic effect). In the end, calcium in the milk should come  from the grass or hay that cows eat 😉

Leafy greens are great

Leafy greens are a wonderful natural food we can eat, enjoy and prosper from. They are the most nutrient dense of all vegetables. Green dark leaves provide most of the nutritients and minerals we require. They contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, folate, vitamins A,C,K1 and B1 and so on. They also contain fibre which is a natural aid in digestion. And what is even more important, they have the energy of life, preserved in chlorophyll that makes them green.

Chlorophyll absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesise carbohydrates from CO2 and water. What I find surprising is that chlorophyll is chemically and structurally similar to heme in a haemoglobin in human red blood cells. The basic difference is about the atom at the center. In chlorophyll, this central atom is magnesium, while in blood, this central atom is iron. Chlorophyll acts positively on human health, but more research needs to be done.

When we cook leafy greens we will loose lots of their natural nutritional value. Eating them raw is the best option but it requires a substantial amount of chewing and doesn’t taste that well. Eating them raw is not appealing to many. A green smoothie drink is the solution. It provides us with a pleasurable way to substantially increase the intake of green dark leaves in our diets.

How to enhance the green smoothie even more

Sesame seeds and flaxseeds

I add sesame seeds and flaxseeds (linseeds) to the green smoothie I prepare. Although some people recommend to stick to the basic recipes: fruits + leafy greens + water/coconut water, I only experience benefits from adding these seeds. I use approximately a tablespoon of seeds per person in the making.

Sesame seeds are a very good source of manganese and copper as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and zinc Flaxseeds are rich in minerals, but they do not contain calcium. Instead, they are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat that is a precursor to the form of omega-3 found in fish oils (EPA).

I soak both seeds overnight in warm water in the room temperature, at least 10h before blending them together with smoothie ingredients. Many people use shorter times (4-6h), but an overnight soaking fits well into my routine. I use twice as much water as seeds.

The soaking of seeds is very important

Although seeds, nuts and legumes are rich in nutrients and enzymes, they also contain phytic acid. This phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, and especially iron and zinc in the intestinal track and inhibit their absorption. In addition, it also contains enzyme inhibitors that also work to block the absorption of minerals. Finally, phytic acid, is indigestible by humans.

In nature, phytic acid has a specific role. It simply acts to protect the seed until proper conditions (moisture and sunlight) are met for it to grow and sprout. Once soaked, the phytic acid is deactivated and released into the water, and the enzymes and minerals in the food are more readily available for absorption into our bodies. Studies, at least for beans, confirm that soaking is more efficient than cooking or sprouting. As a result of soaking, your body can absorb much, much more vitamins and minerals from leafy greens, fruits and seeds than without soaking. A simple technique of soaking and so much beneficial!

Other additives

In green smoothie making I also use hemp seeds, chlorella powder or some seaweeds such as dulse (no, you don’t taste it in the smoothie). I do it sometimes. I also experimented with adding flaxseed oil, walnut oil or coconut oil, but my family did not find the combination that great. They felt it was too heavy for their stomachs.

Is green smoothie for you?

If you are wondering whether a green smoothie is for you or not – I want to encourage you to taste it. No reading and thinking about green smoothie is going to give you sufficient evidence in favor or against. Opinions differs as well as tastes. What you need is a direct experience. Simply make a green smoothie yourself and drink it.

Even if you don’t have a powerful blender or the best green smoothie blender such as Omni blender or Blendtec blender, a mid-price blender from the Hamilton Beach brands or the KitchenAid blenders will allow you to make a decent green smoothie provided that you stick to easy greens such as spinach or rocket leaves and follow a suitable blending procedure as detailed here. A hand-blender will not make it work, I must warn you, as you will get a lumpy liquid.

There are basically two main factors determining how successful a blender is: the motor power (> 500 Watts, ideally more than 700 Watts) and the blade length (the longer the better). But again, even a poor blender will give you a rough idea and a basic taste.

The simplest green smoothie recipe

  • 1 big ripe banana (or two small ones)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 0.5-1 cup water

Blend it!

Your ideal proportion is 60% of fruit (or fruit + vegetables such as cucumbers, celery sticks, carrot etc) and 40% of leafy greens.

Who is green smoothie for?

In general, green smoothie is for everybody. I introduced the basic green smoothie to my kids at the age of 6 months. They have loved it ever since.

What you need to know, however, is that raw leafy greens require a working liver and the whole digestion system. So, you need to take care  if you suffer from indigestion, irritable bowels syndrome, poorly working liver or pancreas.  Green smoothie may impose a challenge for your internal organs. But, again, my friend whose liver is in a poor condition, drinks green smoothies daily. Her body easily enjoys spinach, rocket, watercress, dandelion leaves, or parsley, but she finds raw kale, broccoli, celery sticks or carrot troublesome. So, she avoids them. All in all, what you need to do is to drink the green smoothie and observe its effects during the day and the day after.

Start slowly and build it up

Short term: buy or borrow a mid-price blender if you don’t have one at home. Even if you have the simplest blender possible at home – give it a go. Make a green smoothie and drink it every morning at least 30min before eating. Again, if you are an evening person, drink it in the evening, ideally 30-60min before the meal time or at least 1h after.  Evaluate how you feel during a day (or the next day).

Long term: In a long run, the quality of the green smoothie makes a difference, not only in the taste, but actually in your willingness to make it and drink it frequently or set up a habit. It is all about the time efficiency and the fun of making it (smooth, easy, fast). I’m sure I would not stick to the daily habit with a poor blender.

So, if you like a green smoothie, my advice is to buy the best blender you can afford.

Start slowly: Again, if you want to start a daily habit of green smoothie – you need to start it slowly. Start with 10-15% of leafy greens and build it up to 40%. Alternate at least two leafy greens, say spinach and parsley (or lettuce, romain lettuce, rocket, etc).  Do it for a week at least, ideally for a month. Make notes. Evaluate.

It may take up to a week or two for your body to adjust to ingesting raw leafy greens especially if you don’t regularly eat raw vegetables. This may include effects of a mild detox such as headaches, chills and even a mild cold. The strength of the effects is correlated with the amount of pre-processed (cooked, steamed, baked, or otherwise treated by a high temperature) food in your diet. For this reason, it may take two weeks before you observe the real benefits of drinking green smoothie. But, you may also see the advantages after the first drink. Be patient.

Final words

What stops you from taking action? You likely have a blender at home. Even a poor blender will give you an idea how the green smoothie may taste.

Select the basic recipe above or an appealing green smoothie recipe and make it a drink. Today. The time for a change is always NOW.

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Other posts on green smoothies and raw food

 


In addition to preparing green smoothies, I use both my blender and juicer to make other drinks or raw food meals. The cool part is that the raw food recipes are usually super easy to follow. And the final results are often delicious.  Recipes for a perfect smoothie and raw ice-cream are below.

Three simple summer bliss recipes

1. One of my favorite smoothie is my Perfect Bliss smoothie, which is heavenly tasty. The great part is that any blender will do the job.

Perfect Bliss Smoothie
1 ripe papaya
1 ripe, large banana
1 teaspoon of raw honey
3-4 cups of buttermilk

Raw honey = unpasteurized honey, which is not your regular honey from the shop. Look for raw honey in a health food shop or buy online.

2. I also love raw ice-cream which is made from raw ingredients and no milk. The super simple recipe for a perfect ice-cream is

Banana ice-cream
3-4 ripe, large bananas, frozen

 

Banana-mango ice-cream
2 ripe, large bananas, frozen
1 big mango, frozen

Take frozen bananas and mangos and process them in a auger juicer. That’s it. The result is your banana or banana-mango ice-cream. What the juicer does is to make it really soft and get rid of frozen water crystals. You may use a blender as well but the result is poor.

3. Another delicious recipe for raw ice-cream is presented by the Green Smoothie Girl. Check it out!

Enjoy!!!!

 

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