While cruising the internet recently, I found this article; a guideline of sorts on healthy eating. While it’s certainly worth the read, at its core it is not telling us anything we don’t already know – we should be eating fresh, “whole” foods and avoiding the highly processed and refined stuff. In other words, say “yes” to water and apples and “no” to fizzy cold drinks and apple-flavoured health bars.
“If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” – Michael Pollan
I am always looking for ways to support my health – ways that require little to no effort, obviously. Possibly the easiest way to do this in the modern era is to supplement our diet with some sort of vitamin pill.
In keeping with Michael Pollan’s quote (and at the risk of sounding like an old Hippie), over the last decade or so I’ve slowly switched from over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, preferring to make alternatives in my kitchen at a fraction of the price.
Counterculture without the tie-dye
Of course, we can’t all afford to eat salmon every night to ensure optimal daily Omega 3 intake, so there is still a place for the monthly Dis-Chem shop. However in most cases I prefer ingesting something that I can say the name of (such as “apples”) as opposed to something that contains multi-syllable tongue-twister ingredients which require a medical degree to pronounce.
Below are 3 little health “shots” I use almost daily. They’re quick, easy, cost effective and use things you probably already have lying around in the grocery cupboard – just my cup of tea, so to speak.
Lemony turmeric shot
Remembering the contents of an entire book is rare, especially if you read a lot of non-fiction – too much information and too little place to store it all. In my experience, we seem to remember the bits that are most pertinent or resonate the most. A few years ago, I read a book called “The Brain Fog Fix”, which deals with how our modern refined-food diets undermine our brain chemistry, leading to a number of health issues (specifically Alzheimer’s, if memory serves me correctly – the irony of this statement is not lost on me…). The below recipe appeared in the book and has stuck with me ever since.
Among tons of listed benefits, turmeric has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body, black pepper aids digestion, cayenne lowers blood pressure and lemon juice is a good source of vitamin C. My morning routine includes, without fail, a shot of this while waiting for the kettle to boil.
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- A grind of black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Top up the shot glass with a 50/50 mix of water and lemon juice
Method: Mix everything together while singing an horrendous version of Pat Benatar’s “Hit me with your best shot”. Drink.
Fermented food is my current obsession. At the moment our kitchen resembles a primary school science experiment – a variety of things in glass jars spread between the fridge and windowsill. As with any fermented food, Beetroot Kvass contains a high concentration of probiotics which aids digestion and helps your body absorb nutrients. It’s used as a blood cleanser and supports a cancer preventative diet.
- 4 to 5 whole beetroots, washed and roughly chopped (not too small / grated)
- 1 tsp non-iodised salt (I use Himalayan pink salt)
- 1 litre of water
Method: Chuck all the ingredients in a jar, cover with cheesecloth and leave in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Fermentation takes 5 to 8 days after which you strain the liquid into a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Drink shots of it neat.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey
Unless you want a one-way ticket to heartburn city, one thing you should not drink neat shots of is vinegar. While this one is not actually a shot, I thought it’s still worthwhile to include.
Apple Cider Vinegar has a number of documented health benefits including lowering cholesterol and lowering blood sugar. Honey has been shown to do everything from boosting your immune system to aiding digestion. The combo of the two is good for your skin, improves energy levels and supports all the probiotics you get from stuff like Beetroot Kvass.
Some websites tell you to use warm water, to leave it overnight for the honey enzymes to activate and to drink it on an empty stomach. I usually only remember to make it when I’m digging in the cupboard looking for some after dinner chocolate… C’est la vie.
- 1 Tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp of honey
- Water to top up your glass (I make my own yogurt and use the strained whey instead of water when I have a jar of it lying around)
Method: Mix everything in a glass and drink. Continue the search for chocolate.
Consistency is key
As with most things in life, “less is more” and consistency is key. Any health supplement, whether store bought or homemade, should be thought of as a sort of compound interest, much the same as we get on our retirement investments. Consistent smaller doses over an extended period of time will bear the most fruit.
Do any of these “recipes” actually work? Well, who knows – perhaps all supplements are nothing more than placebos. But as Mrs Megamalist always says, “it can’t hurt”.
Have you got any healthy home remedies / supplements / a tie-dye t-shirt? Share in the comment section!