Right now I’m taking a herbal medicine class at school and I am LOVING it! It has been so interesting learning about the power of herbs! One class I enjoyed in particular was all about digestion (I have celiac… AKA I have major digestive problems!). The class discussed the use of bitter herbs and how they stimulate the production of digestive juices as well as aid the liver in detoxification. I feel like we can all use a little help in the digestive/ detox department!
Unfortunately, because of its unpleasant taste (to most people), we have almost eliminated bitter tastes completely from our western diet. It’s such a shame too because some of the most common diseases, such as indigestion, acid reflux, any digestive issues and most metabolic disorders are derived from the lack of bitter in our diet.
Interested in adding a little bitter back into you life? A few examples you should try:
- Arugula, kale, dandelion and endive is a great addition to any salad
- Cacao- not to be confused with a bar of chocolate 😉
- Sesame seeds, sesame oil
- Cumin, turmeric
Easy enough right!
I’m currently doing a liver detox with some friends from school as well as the man friend. Although I believe the body is made to detox itself, I also recognize we live in a much more toxic environment than ever before so a little help never hurt!
We aren’t doing anything too extreme just a herbal detox with a simple diet. We created a herbal tincture to help us detox and support our livers through the process, it contains:
- Dandelion root- great for liver detox! helps stimulate the secretion of bile
- Milk thistle-great to help increase the secretion and flow of bile from the liver and gall-bladder
- Licorice- an all around super herb! Licorice is a great adaptogen used to help the body adapt and deal with stresses, it also contains anti-inflammatory and anti- spasmodic actions which are all great for the digestive system because as we all know stress causes inflammation and also has a huge impact on our gut health.
- Schizandra berry- another adaptogen known for its amazing health and body regulating abilities. Also known as a whole body tonic.
- Turmeric- the super herb! Honestly turmeric has so many amazing properties it’s hard to do it justice. Turmeric is a carminative meaning it helps relieve gas and bloating, it stimulates bile production in the liver, is anti-inflammatory to the mucus membranes that line our GI tract, is anti-spasmodic to help decrease digestive/menstrual cramps…. Basically it’s the best, and it’s super yummy-bonus!
The diet we are following for the detox is merely a whole food, no sugar (including honey, maple syrup and molasses), no dairy, no gluten, no booze (duh!) diet. We are doing the detox for 2 weeks total so I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling! Right now I’m on day 3 and I have to say I’m HANGRY! I’m definitely having some sugar cravings but I know those will pass…I’m excited to see how I feel at the end. Wish me luck!
So what will I be eating during this 2 week period? Well , lots of fresh fruit and veggies, quinoa, organic meat and eggs, nuts, seeds and lots of avocado 🙂 It’s actually been really delicious so far!
I’m also trying to add as many greens as possible, I have been using 2 different products to try and make this easier. The first is called organic greens + and the second is vega’s chlorella. During the winter I sometimes struggle to find good quality organic greens, these definitely make life easier. Both are amazing sources of chlorophyll, protein, vitamins and minerals- sounds great to me!
To make life a little easier for the man friend I made him some portable protein bars as well as a breakfast bake, both loaded with quinoa and hemp hearts to help him feel extra satisfied.
Apple cinnamon quinoa bake:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 apples chopped
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup hemp hearts
¼ cup chopped dates
Cook the apples in coconut oil over medium high heat on the stove with the cinnamon and the dates. While that’s cooking whisk the eggs with the vanilla and slowly add in the cooked quinoa. Once the apples are cooked, add them to the quinoa egg mixture and stir in the walnuts and hemp hearts. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with a big dollup of almond butter for a super filling yummy breakfast
Almond butter quinoa protein bars:
2 cups cooked quinoa
¾ cup almond butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2cup sunflower seeds
1/2cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 hemp hearts
¼ – 1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Heat the almond butter in a pot on the stove over medium heat, once warm and gooey stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, quinoa, seeds, nuts and dates and stir until well combined. Pour dough into parchment lined casserole dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; allow bars to cool completely before cutting. The bars will be quite crumbly so I keep them wrapped individually in the freezer for easy grab and go convenience.
I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds because that’s what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever mix-ins you want.
Hope you enjoy!
I should also add a little note: if you’re preggo, be cautious with bitters because they have the ability to cause uterine contractions which is obviously not a good thing until you close to your due date!