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5 Natural Ways To Sleep Better That Really Work

Everyone is looking to improve their amount and quality of sleep. Here are 5 natural ways to sleep better that really work.
5 natural ways to sleep better than really work

Sleep Is So Important

You can’t be optimally healthy without enough quality sleep. But, you can’t get good quality sleep unless you are healthy. It’s the epitome of a Catch-22. And really, what is more frustrating than not being able to fall asleep or waking in the middle of the night and having a hard time going back to sleep? Not much. But, don’t lose hope. There are many things you can do to help yourself sleep better, which will in turn give you more energy during the day and keep you healthier and feeling awesome.

Yes, I did say that there are many ways to improve your sleep. And there are. But, as with everything else involving food, herbs, and supplements, each person reacts differently to each method, each product, and each ingredient. This article focuses on 5 natural ways to sleep better that really work for almost everyone.

I would love to share all of the other ways with you too, but that’s better for a personalized one-on-one session so I can really delve into what’s going on in your wonderfully unique — albeit tired — body. We can even chat about it in a free phone consultation (I just love meeting all of you this way). So just CLICK HERE and you’ll be taken directly into my calendar where you can fill your name into a time slot that works for you.

Meanwhile, let’s get to these 5 natural ways to sleep better that really work.

Oh, and the reason I am specifically repeating that these are 5 natural ways to sleep better that really work, is because if you are like me, you’ve already tried a bunch of things that claim to do the trick, but…. ummmmm…. not so much…

Ugh. Sleep deprivation is the pits.

Let’s get this under control now.

Try All 5 Of These Natural Sleep Methods

1.  Practice Sensory Deprivation In The Bedroom

5 natural ways to sleep better that really work

Yeah, this sounds all sci-fi and tech-y, but it’s actually the opposite. In order for your body to be able to get into a completely restful sleep, your mind needs to be quieted. Quieting the mind is the hardest thing for many people to do. We spend our days running around, fixing problems, putting out fires, trying to be as productive as possible. And when we take our minds to a high level of thinking and productivity, it’s not possible to just turn them off.

So, what should you do?

First, examine your bedroom. Cover up any and all light sources. Cover the neon numbers on your cable box, the blinking light on anything that’s turned on, and make sure that there are no openings in your curtains or shades. Really, I mean NO light. Then, I want you to take it one step further: go buy a sleep mask. And wear it. Every night.

Next, put your cell phone outside of the bedroom. I know, this is hard for a lot of people, but here’s a way to make it easier: go into the settings on your phone and set the important people you are worried about missing an emergency call from as favorites. Then go into your privacy settings and set it up so that between the hours of 10:00pm and 8:00am, only calls and texts from favorites are allowed to come through. Now, you can turn the volume up on the phone so you can hear it from the bathroom, the hallway, or a nearby room. This should ease your mind so that you won’t be afraid of missing an urgent call.

Now, here’s a harder one, but try it: Get into bed about no more than an hour before you want to actually fall asleep. Don’t turn on the TV. Don’t bring your computer or phone with you. Read a book or a magazine, or meditate. The blue light from electronics activates your brain too much for sleep-prep. The longer you can cut yourself off from electronic screens before bedtime, the better you will sleep. And, just as an aside, you can buy a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses and use them for the latter part of the day when you are looking at a screen… this will help calm your mind also.

2.  Take A Magnesium Supplement At Night

This really works if you are magnesium deficient… and so many people are. If you are already taking a magnesium supplement, you don’t need to take more, just simply take the supplement before bedtime at night instead of some other time during the day. If you are sure you are not magnesium deficient, then there’s no need for you to take magnesium.

There are many different kinds of magnesium supplements on the market. For sleep purposes, my favorite lately is Neuro Mag. I find that it helps promote sleep without effecting the digestive system. Be sure to check with your doctor to find out if there is a better type of magnesium supplement for your needs.

3.  Drink Dark Cherry Juice

5 natural ways to sleep better that really work

Dark cherries contain melatonin, which helps promote sleep. Sure, you can eat a bowl of cherries during cherry season, but my favorite thing to do is to buy a bottle of organic pure dark cherry juice, and drink an ounce or two before bed. Not only does this help with sleep, but it tastes really good and satisfies those nighttime sweet cravings.

In Chinese medicine, we also know cherries to be a longevity food that promotes general health.

4.  Take Reishi Spore Oil At Night

Reishi is amazing. It’s a Chinese herb and a mushroom that acts as a superfood. In Chinese medicine, we use it for longevity support and we take it every day in many different forms. The Chinese name for reishi is Ling Zhi. It’s also known as Ganoderma. But, whatever you call it, it is like the rockstar of Chinese herbs. This medicinal mushroom calms the mind, reduces anxiety, relieves restlessness and boosts the immune system. Yup, it’s quite the multi-tasking shroom.

Reishi comes in many forms. I use a powdered form in teas and smoothies. There are also elixirs and tinctures available. But, for sleep, I recommend taking a reishi spore oil capsule before bed.

5.  CBD Oil

CBD oil is being touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m kind of new to it. When clients started asking me my opinion about it, I knew it was time for lots of research and testing on my part. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant and has long been used for various types of pain relief. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — this is not a part of CBD oil; there is no “high” associated with CBD.

So, I researched. And I tested.

And I tested again.

And again. Using myself and others as guinea pigs.

And, I’m here to tell you that CBD oil as a sleep aid is an awesome thing.

When taken in the correct amount, CBD can calm the mind and stop all of those racing thoughts. And if you can do this, you can sleep.

There is really no danger to trying it. I do know one person who didn’t like the way it made him feel, but there are no real side effects and, in almost every case, myself and my test subjects, slept better. A lot better.

You just need to play with the dosage a little bit because CBD oil is a multi-tasking oil. Whenever something is great for a variety of conditions, it will require different dosages to help with the condition you are aiming to help. You wouldn’t take the same amount of CBD for pain relief as you would for sleep. But, there are no hard and fast rules — you kind of have to play around.

The most common best dosage for sleep that I found, in the brand of CBD oil that I chose to use and test, was about a half of a dropper under the tongue before bed. For me, I tend not to have much trouble falling asleep, but I sometimes wake in the middle of the night and have some difficulty falling back asleep. I found that I didn’t need to take the CBD oil before bed, but if I take it when I wake up at 2:00am, it’s easy to fall back to sleep.

Please, if you decide to jump on the CBD bandwagon, look around and do some research because you need to make sure you buy a quality product from a reputable company. I’m happy to share my favorite brand with you — just ask me in the comments below and I’m happy to share.

Be Patient And These Sleep Aids Will Work

I know how hard it is to be patient. Especially if you are sleep deprived. But, like anything that’s worth it, these things take a little time to build up in your body. Some things, like the CBD may have a more immediate effect. Others, like the cherry juice, will have a great effect if you use them consistently every night.

So, be patient.

And, also, remember, I’m here to help. You can ask me a question in the comments below, or you can sign up for a free phone consultation with me. Either way, I’m here for you. Now, go get some rest. And relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dumpling Meatballs

dumpling meatballs

I love all meatballs. For some reason, anything that can be made into a ball just tastes good to me. I remember when my kids were young, I would get them to eat foods by making them bitesize and sticking a toothpick into each one so they could easily grab whatever it was. And, that’s my favorite way to eat these meatball…  I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So, when I saw a great recipe from Nom Nom Paleo for a meatball I hadn’t yet experimented with, I just had to try it. So, thank you Michelle… these dumpling meatballs are awesome!

For those of you who know me, you know that for the month of October, I changed up my diet and I ate plant-based. I learned so much, and I enjoyed so much of that experience. Staying away from animal proteins forced me to be so much more creative with my plant-based meals, and now I love those meals even more.

But, now it’s November. And, while I do intend top stay probably about 80% plant-based, I was looking to cook up a very different type of meal. These dumpling meatballs are made with a combination of shrimp and pork. So, haha, my first non plant-based meal had both seafood and meat in it. You’d think it might be a shock to my system, but you’d be wrong… these were awesome.

Oh, and the reason they are called dumpling meatballs, is because they taste like the inside of the steamed dumplings you get at Chinese restaurants. Yum.

And, they are grain free and dairy free. And have so many healing ingredients. Win-win for me.

For another great healthy meatball recipe, try my Paleo Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs.

dumpling meatballsdumpling meatballs

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in these dumpling meatballs:

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. In China, mushrooms have been used for many years as part of a natural cancer treatment. They are one of the best immune-boosting foods around. I used dried shiitakes in this recipe. Shiitakes are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process.

Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

Many of my friends used to stay away from shrimp because they were afraid that eating them raised cholesterol levels. Now, research shows that shrimp actually can lower triglycerides because they are rich in Omega-3s. And, they are high in protein and low in calories, so really, they are a pretty good thing. In Chinese medicine, shrimp are actually recommended as a food to promote longevity because they nourish the kidneys, and in Chinese medicine, the kidneys are the key to life. Shrimp are great to boost libido, lessen some lower back pain and weakness, and they can help new moms with lactation.

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Cilantro is also known as Chinese Parsley. It is good for the common cold, indigestion, and energy flow in the body. An old Chinese remedy for the common cold and even for measles was to drink cilantro and mint tea. Cilantro is one of those herbs you either love or hate; I’m a lover…

dumpling meatballs

Dumpling Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: meatballs, Asian, Chinese, paleo, whole30
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Nom Nom Paleo
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
These meatballs taste like the insides of Chinese dumplings! And there's a bunch of healing ingredients in them!
Ingredients
  • ¼ oz dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in water for about 30 mins, then stems discarded and caps finely chopped
  • ½ lb cleaned raw shrimp, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbs coconut aminos (or substitute liquid aminos or soy sauce)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lemon grass paste (I used a lemongrass paste with chili sauce, so option here to mix in some spicy hot sauce or chili peppers)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, and smush it all up with your hands.
  4. Form the mixture into largish balls (I made 15 balls).
  5. Place the balls onto the lined baking tray and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Eat with pasta or on top of salad, or my favorite way -- on top of a big bowl of steamed fresh greens.
  7. Enjoy!

dumpling meatballs

Simple Fresh Vegetable Soup

This soup has lots of garlic and scallions to keep your immune system strong!
simple fresh vegetable soup

This soup is dedicated to all of my over-40-women-friends… those of you who want all that you deserve: inner health, outer beauty, youthful insides and outsides, a healthy immune system, balanced hormones, weight loss, radiant skin… I know, it sounds like a tall order, but this soup really does have ingredients to heal you inside and out and make you feel and look younger. It’s not magic. Well, actually, it kind of is a little like magic… This simple fresh vegetable soup is the complete package for every woman over 40.

And, it’s really easy to make, so it won’t mess with your work schedule or your busy life.

And, it can be made with whatever fresh veggies you have in your fridge.

And, the base is made with packaged broth.

And, you can just put the whole pot in your fridge and eat it all week long.

One of the things that I tell my clients is that if you make a big pot of healthy soup at the beginning of the week, you will have no reason to grab unhealthy snacks when you come home famished.

OMG, I sound like a commercial for soup! Haha… I’m not selling this soup — I promise —  but I do love it!

Okay, back to this simple fresh vegetable soup. This is so good. The veggies are cooked perfectly — you know what I mean — not mushy but not too crunchy. And the garlic infuses the broth so it has just the right amount of flavor. And there are some non-traditional vegetable soup ingredients like capers and chipotles so that you really feel like a gourmet when you try it.

I topped my soup with some vegan Parmesan, but feel free to use some croutons (preferably grain-free), or some crumbled crackers.

Right about now, I’m getting really sad that there’s no more soup left in my pot…

If you are looking for another easy soup recipe, try my Slow Cooker Vegan Split Pea Soup.

simple fresh vegetable soupsimple fresh vegetable soup

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this simple fresh vegetable soup:

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use green pepper tea to soothe indigestion.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around.1 However, I was taught to stay away from the plain white button shrooms that are so readily available. Recently, however, I learned that I was doing myself a disservice by avoiding these mushrooms. It turns out, if you make sure they are organic, there are lots of benefits in button mushrooms! They are detoxifying, can help get rid of phlegm, ease diarrhea, are good for circulation, and new research has shown that if you eat them often enough, they can reduce cancer cells in the body.

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Capers, although small in size, are a big source of anti-oxidants, and they actually can make you feel better emotionally because they activate the “happiness” center of your brain.

simple fresh vegetable soup

Simple Fresh Vegetable Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, paleo, whole30, vegan, vegetarian, simple
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This is the easiest veggie soup recipe, yet it tastes gourmet! It makes the perfect leftovers all week long!
Ingredients
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 scallions, sliced (including the root end)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 med zucchini, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, crowns cut into florets, stems sliced
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in some hot water, sliced
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper with adobo (either just use the sauce or mince the peppers)
  • 3 tsp capers, drained
  • vegan Parmesan cheese shreds, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour the broth and tomatoes into a large pot. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the garlic, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and broccoli.
  3. Simmer 5 mins.
  4. Now add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook 20 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked al dente.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with Parmesan.
  6. Enjoy!

simple fresh vegetable soup

Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese

This vegan fettuccine bolognese is a great alternative to a meaty pasta sauce!

vegan fettuccine bolognese

Whenever I make a pasta dish, it’s almost always a paleo-friendly pasta recipe because I feel better when I don’t eat grains. But, I do feel better when I eat pasta (for me, it’s the most comforting food around… and, I mean, really, who doesn’t love a good bowl of pasta…?). I’m never sure whether to call the recipe “Paleo Pasta” or just call it “Pasta”.  I know this sounds trivial, but really, I get stuck with this each and every time.

Now, this recipe (which by the way is sooooo delicious), is vegan and it’s paleo. When I first typed in the title, it was “Vegan Paleo Fettuccine Bolognese”, but that’s just too long and complicated for a recipe that’s easy to make. So, for this recipe I decided to use vegan, and omit paleo. I’m still not sure that’s the best title, but I guess this dilemma falls under the category of champagne problems…

Anyway, I used one of my favorite grain-free pastas (Cappello’s fettuccine), and I made an awesome vegan bolognese sauce by using my favorite recipe for simple marinara sauce and adding tons of finely chopped mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini.

I’ve learned that often when I make a vegan recipe, my guests love it, but sometimes I see wary expressions on the faces of the meat eaters if I call it something with a traditional meaty name (like bolognese). But this time, the meat eaters enjoyed this vegan fettuccine bolognese so much, the meaty name was just perfect. Try this out the next time you want to cook something to both vegans and non-vegans… it’s just perfect!

If this recipe is your cup of tea, you must also try my Paleo Fettuccine Alfredo!

vegan fettuccine bolognese

Along with all of this deliciousness, you also get great healing benefits from this recipe:

In Eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. In China, mushrooms have been used for many years as part of a natural cancer treatment. They are one of the best immune-boosting foods around. I used both baby bellas and shiitakes in this recipe. Shiitakes are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process.

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

vegan fettuccine bolognese

Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese
Author: 
Recipe type: vegan, paleo, pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Here's a great dish for all types of dietary habits: vegan, paleo, meat eaters, comfort-food lovers... this is really easy and satisfying!
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small eggplants, finely diced
  • 3.5 oz shittake mushrooms, caps finely diced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, caps finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lb pasta of choice (I used Cappellos, grain-free fettuccine -- see above in post for link)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F convection setting, or 425°F regular bake setting.
  2. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Spread the eggplant, zucchini, and shrooms out on the sheets in a single layer. Drizzle oil over and toss a bit. Season with salt and pepper. (Try to keep each veggie in a separate area, so if one is done before the others it's easier to remove it from the sheet.)
  4. Roast the veggies in the oven until they start to brown and caramelize a bit. (Every oven is different, but my eggplant took 35 mins, the shrooms took 25 mins, and my zucchini took 20 mins.)
  5. Meanwhile, start the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then cook an additional 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes, then using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until it's smooth. (Alternatively, you can transfer the sauce to a blender and whiz it up -- just make sure you hold a dish towel tightly over the top of the blender instead of using the canister top, so that steam can escape and you don't burn yourself.)
  7. Cook the pasta al dente, and drain it well.
  8. Toss the pasta with the tomato sauce and top with mounds of the veggies. Toss it all together if you like before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

vegan fettuccine bolognese

Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole

This creamy broccoli and mushroom casserole is vegan!

Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole

I am not vegan, but I have to say that I love vegan food. I stopped eating cheese a million years ago when i realized how much better I felt without it, but it wasn’t until recent years — when I learned how to make foods taste cheesy and creamy without real cheese and cream — that I became a lover of all things vegan. I’m not a huge fan of meat substitutes, but give me a vegan creamy, cheesy casserole or some non-dairy ice cream and I’m in foodie heaven.

This creamy broccoli and mushroom casserole makes me happy. It’s comforting and warming and smooth and creamy and it’s just plain delicious.

I make it whenever I’m looking for a simple healthy side dish, especially in the cold winter months.

And, in my house, I’m embarrassed to say that even though everyone loves it, but I can’t call it vegan. They scarf it down but for some reason my unenlightened crew thinks they don’t like vegan food…

I love to serve this recipe with my favorite simple roast chicken or with this easy Slow Cooker Whole Chicken.

creamy broccoli and mushroom casserole

Here’s some great reasons to make this recipe:

Broccoli has a lot of potassium and is great for brain function; it also has magnesium and calcium to help regulate blood pressure. It’s also good to clear your body of excess heat and it actually can help your vision too.

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. However, I was taught to stay away from the plain white button shrooms that are so readily available. Recently, however, I learned that I was doing myself a disservice by avoiding these mushrooms. It turns out, if you make sure they are organic, there are lots of benefits in button mushrooms! They are detoxifying, can help get rid of phlegm, ease diarrhea, are good for circulation, and new research has shown that if you eat them often enough, they can reduce cancer cells in the body.

Shiitakes are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process. I also added portabella mushrooms here. They too are good for you, and they taste great!

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Several times lately I have recommended that patients with bronchitis or severe colds put sliced raw onions in their socks before bedtime. The onion actually draws the toxins out of the body and in the morning many people feel much better. Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes.

creamy broccoli and mushroom casserole

Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: vegetables, side dish, casserole
Cuisine: vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This creamy vegan casserole is so comforting and warming you will want to serve it with everything. Broccoli and mushrooms cook together in a velvety vegan cream sauce to make it the perfect side dish.
Ingredients
  • Florets from 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 Tbs plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • sea salt
  • 4 oz sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 10 oz sliced white button mushrooms
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (use all of the solid cream on the top and ¼ cup of the liquid
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Convection setting or 400 degrees regular bake setting.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add the broccoli to the water for 1 minute. Drain.
  4. Heat 1 Tbs of the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute them, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 25 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the blanched broccoli, all of the mushrooms, the caramelized onion, hemp seeds, and hot red pepper flakes.
  6. Grease a large baking dish with about 2-tsp olive oil.
  7. Pour the broccoli mixture into the baking dish.
  8. Stir the coconut cream together with ¼ cup of the coconut liquid and pour this mixture evenly over the broccoli mixture.
  9. Bake about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Pin it here!
Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Casserole

Hot And Sour Soup

Once you make this homemade hot and sour soup, you won’t want take-out again!

Hot And Sour Soup-0852

It’s freezing here in New York. I’m not complaining, because the winter has been so mild, but the mild weather did stop me from making as many pots of hot soup as I usually do. This hot and sour soup made me realize how much I miss having a big pot of healing warming soup in the fridge at all times!

When I was a kid I remember getting hot and sour soup from the Chinese restaurant and we used to top it with those deliciously fried Chinese crispy noodles… does anyone else remember this? I’m so out of the take-out food loop now that I don’t even know if you still get those little waxy bags of crunchy noodles… But, this soup recipe is so good that it doesn’t need the noodles. Really. I did, however, put little dots of sriracha in mine at the end because it looks pretty and made it extra awesome.

The beauty of hot and sour soup is that you can make it as spicy or as mild as you like. Did you know that the spice comes from black pepper? I remember being surprised at that the first time I made it… but this makes it even easier to prepare and to shop for.  You can customize it with whatever mushrooms you like (I rehydrated some dried shiitakes) and whatever seaweed you like (if any).  I added pork to this pot, but feel free to use chicken or if you are vegan, use tofu.

So, this week we kept this pot of comforting, warming, spicy soup in a big pot in the fridge for 4 days. We ate a lot of it. Like, an embarrassing amount. But it’s so good. And it’s so light and healthy. And it just makes you feel good. And, I also remembered another thing that happens here when there’s a pot of soup in the fridge all week. Today I went to take the pot out, got my bowl and spoon ready, opened the lid, and saw about 1/4 cup of soup left in the bottom of the pot. It’s like leaving one sheet of toilet tissue in the bathroom… ugh!!!! So disappointing, but so typical!

If you want to jump on the soup bandwagon, you should definitely also make a pot of my Butternut Squash And Apple Soup.

Hot And Sour Soup (rehydrated shiitakes)-0831

Here’s some of the great things in this soup:

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. Shiitake mushrooms are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process.

I like to use some type of seaweed in my hot and sour soup. I used nori in this pot because it’s what I had on hand, but feel free to use whatever type you like. Seaweed is good for your thyroid gland and your lymphatic system. If you have swelling in your body or you are retaining water, seaweed is great because it acts as a diuretic. In the olden days, seaweed was fed to people to get rid of goiters and tuberculosis.

Bamboo shoots actually make you feel better if you have overeaten and are feeling full and bloated or if you have diarrhea. And, if you have a hangover, reach for the bamboo shoots because they will help you feel better faster. This vegetable can also act as a diuretic, so if you have edema, this would be good for you.

Black pepper is a Chinese herb (Hu Jiao). It helps relieve vomiting and food poisoning.

Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

Hot And Sour Soup

Hot And Sour Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Recipe adapted fromthekitchn.com. This is better than take-out. It's delicious, healthy, and so incredibly warming!
Ingredients
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in a bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes (be sure to save the soaking liquid to add to the soup)
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs liquid aminos (or soy sauce) (you can buy aminos here)
  • ⅓ lb pork cutlet, sliced into thin strips (or use tofu for a vegan version)
  • 5 oz can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 7 Tbs white vinegar
  • 3 Tbs cornstarch whisked together with 4 Tbs water
  • 2 Tbs nori krinkles (or substitute another type of seaweed) (you can get them here)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Optional toppings: extra nori, drizzle of sriracha
Instructions
  1. Soak the mushrooms in a small bowl of water. Drain them and reserve the soaking liquid. Slice the shrooms.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the chicken broth, aminos, and sea salt.
  3. When it comes to a boil, add the mushroom soaking liquid, pork strips, nori, and bamboo shoots.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the vinegar and black pepper.
  6. Bring to a full boil, and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until the soup begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the egg -- stir continuously until it looks like egg drop soup.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with additional nori and sriracha if desired.
  9. Enjoy!