Surviving to Thriving
Okay, so maybe your life doesn’t need saving. If you’re like me, any day that you wake up and have a mouth that can drink, teeth that can chew, and eyes that can see all the beauty of life is a great day. Gratitude and love are without doubt the best medicine we could ever consume. But though those powerful energetic forces can have a physical impact on our health, we can’t neglect the area of life that is a healthy diet.
Food is healing—the right food, of course. Seeking out simple interventions of using food as a means to creating a great life has been the approach of many cultures since the beginning of time. Though we are not our bodies in a spiritual sense, we do have bodies, and I personally believe we would all experience a much greater experience if we honored these vehicles to their fullest. Before any ideas of medication, food was the remedy. From increasing our physical endurance, awakening our consciousness, recovering from illness, or increasing longevity, food has been used to our greater benefit in nearly unlimited ways.
Food as Medicine
When and where along our journey did the life-enhancing power of food lose its place? If I were to state the obvious, it was somewhere around the time of industrial agriculture and the expansion of the business consciousness of the collective. Perhaps during our slow awakening we realized that food doesn’t heal all. We need loving relationships, a positive mental mind, comfort, security, variety, growth, and contribution to really live our fullest potential.
Though the birth of industrial business may not have been the correct means to coming into this awareness, it happened and we cannot hold resentment for the past; everything is happening for the purpose of our own shift of a higher awakening.
That being said, what can we learn from these situations? As a species and society we tend to always figure it out. And there is really nothing or anyone to blame, we are all striving for the same goal: love. If we want to correct our past and thrive today, we have to ask these better questions. What can we learn from the past to better live today? The answer I find: food is better medicine than medication.
You Can Write Your Own Prescription with Food
The solution is to take what has worked and learn from what hasn’t. In the category of healthy living we know that plant food as medicine has worked far greater for our health than many of the synthetic practices today. Though there are necessary and lifesaving medicines, they can be more effective with the right foods, and other ailments may be eradicated completely. It is possible to write our own prescription with food and to do so takes nothing more than a little self-education and self-love. We are all tired of being told what to do. We know in our hearts that no one can really know us like we do. That does not mean to not trust people, but we first must trust ourselves before we can trust someone else. Getting back in tune with our bodies can be achieved through this process of becoming self-reliant with your own health. So without further ado, I present to you 10 foods that can save your life.
10 Foods That Can Save Your Life
1. Asparagus: If you know your asparagus, chances are you have seen a few shades of this delicious veg. There is the classic green, then white and purple. The difference being that when the asparagus grows organically, the sunlight turns the stalks green by producing chlorophyll. Therefore, when choosing your asparagus, you will want to go for the more colorful varieties, ensuring a more nutrient dense and natural food.
Purple is perhaps the greatest food color to choose from as it carries the highest antioxidant levels. The highlights of asparagus would be its folic acid content and high amounts of vitamin C, thiamin, and vitamin B6, all which reverse aging through methylation. Asparagus also contains a special compound known as rutin, a flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and strengthens the blood vessels. Any anti-inflammatory food is a food that can save your life, considering all disease is correlated with high-levels of inflammation.
Additionally, a plant chemical known as protodioscin is found in asparagus that aids in bone health, improved sexual energy, and killing cancer cells. Aside from that, asparagus assists in digestive health, providing inulin, a prebiotic that feeds healthy bacteria. Last but not least, asparagus cleanses the urinary tract. A phytochemical known as asparagine has a natural diuretic effect on the body, keeping our bodies vibrant and youthful by eliminating toxins.
2. Avocado: There isn’t a person I know who doesn’t love a good avocado. Creamy and rich, these “alligator pears” are delicious with nearly everything. They provide essential fatty acids that plump our skin, add sheen and luster to our hair, provide lasting energy, and even work as a natural antibiotic. That’s right; avocados have been used to treat intestinal parasites and bacterial issues for centuries! Ditch the antibiotics; they only destroy our healthy bacteria in the long run. Instead, reach for one of these lifesaving foods. In comparison to any other fruit, avocados contain more protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. If there was a fruit someone could survive off of I would give the award to the avocado.
3. Basil: Basil is an antioxidant powerhouse of an herb that belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. The name is Greek and actually means “royalty.” There are many varieties that differ in size, color, and shape. It is rich in two phenolic compounds called rosmarinic and vaffeic acid, which contain powerful antioxidant properties. Other phytochemicals in basil include flavonoids that protect cells from free-radical damage, orientin and vicerin. Basil also contains camphor oil and 1,8-cineole which have strong antibacterial properties; are used to combat infection, yeast, and bacterial imbalances; and restore digestive health. Not to mention it’s a source of beta-carotene, another important antioxidant.
To summarize, basil is an anti-aging and beautifying must eat. Eaten, basil will provide numerous health benefits. Additionally, it can be used for many lifesaving home remedies. A leaf tucked over a mouth sore—sore gums, cold sore, ulcers, etc.—may ease pain. Juice of basil leaves are commonly used to treat ear aches. For hair loss or dandruff, massage the scalp with the oil of basil. It even makes a great bug repellant; make a solution of basil leaf infused water and spray in desired locations to repel insects naturally.
4. Berries: Blackberries, blueberries, juneberries, raspberries, strawberries, and more! There are so many types of berries that to specify the benefits of one or two and leave the rest out would be nonsense. Though each berry has some of their own unique benefits, they share many common lifesaving qualities that I will summarize for you.
To say the least, all berries are the highest antioxidant foods around. These little guys pack a punch for their tiny size. Berries are super beauty foods as well! And what would life be without beauty? They are rich in vitamin C, which is one vitamin we must replenish daily for optimal immune function considering our bodies cannot generate it. Also, vitamin C plays a major role in producing collagen for youthful skin.
Berries contain phytochemicals, tannin, flavonoids, and cyanidin, which all have anticarcinogenic properties, making them powerful cancer and disease fighters/preventers. And beyond the beautifying antioxidants already mentioned, berries contain catechins like quercetin, which reduce the risk of heart disease and work to fight allergies by stopping and lowering histamine reactions.
Loaded with some of the best fiber, berries will keep things moving and assist the body in elimination and detoxification—both important for a healthy liver and colon. These little guys are so delicious it would be a shame to use them in any other way than eating them! But how you go about consuming them is up to you.
You can put them into homemade, healthy baked goods, gluten-free oatmeal dishes, and fruit bowls, or eat them directly with a little dark chocolate. My personal favorite: a Vanilla Blueberry Coconut Smoothie. To make, take the water of a Thai coconut, the fresh young meat of the coconut, 1 scoop of Sunwarrior’s vanilla protein, 1 teaspoon chia seeds, 1 cup of organic blueberries, and a few drops of organic vanilla extract or a teaspoon raw vanilla powder. Blend in a Vitamix and voila! A lifesaving, great tasting, super smoothie!
5. Broccoli: Of course broccoli had to make the top 25 list of lifesaving foods! We’ve been informed about broccoli from a young age, and good thing because this truly is a powerful food. Broccoli has been around for at least 2000 years and originated in Turkey.
There are two types of broccoli eaten today, heading and sprouting. Heading is the type most eaten today with one large flower head in the center of the plant versus the sprouting type with its small head and many florets growing off the side of the stalk. Both are nutritionally dense! Despite the protein myths, broccoli is actually a great source of plant protein, especially if you eat broccoli sprouts, made by sprouting the seeds of broccoli. It’s rich in all the most beneficial antioxidants, like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and a powerful antioxidant known as sulforaphane glucosinolate.
Broccoli has a phytonutrient known as Di-Indolyl Methane (DIM) which actually regulates hormones like estrogen and testosterone, keeping both men and woman looking and feeling youthful.
As a home remedy, broccoli being a rich source of vitamin C works to treat all types of infections and immune dysfunction. A compound called I3C, found in all cruciferous vegetables (Brussels, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) actually work to inhibit herpes virus from reproducing!
6. Celery: Do we really burn more calories chewing celery than those provided by eating it? True or not, celery is a must have in everyone’s diet. Celery is nature’s water in a stick. It’s actually a Celtic word which literally means “water.” More times than not, the raw juice of celery is more hydrating than water itself! Water can be incredibly cleansing and a great solvent, but the nutrient content in celery far exceeds even some of the best spring waters. And because celery is so hydrating it’s amongst the top lifesaving foods. Water is the liquid of life! We need to be hydrated to do anything: breathe, move, detox, assimilate, digest, and on and on.
Aside from hydration, celery provides a good source of vitamin A. The darker the celery, the more vitamin A it contains. Here is a good rule of thumb: shop for and eat vegetables with the deepest color. Celery also contains vitamin C, B1, and B2. These vitamins will assist the body in producing its own energy. And the mineral content is what makes celery a natural electrotype drink, being rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Though bitter, don’t leave out the leaves when consuming celery. Hide them in a salad with other less bitter vegetables because the leaves contain many of the nutrients and work similarly to parsley in cleansing the body.
Celery works to treat everything from insomnia and anxiety to gout and arthritis. Wild celery is best and has even been though to purify the blood. Juice of celery, especially the leaves, is a powerful detoxifier and removes impurities from the body, not to mention makes the skin absolutely beautiful.
7. Cacao: I know you’re excited about this one. In fact, I won’t be surprised if you leave this page and run to the nearest health food store for a fix. Before you start your new “all chocolate diet” that you are so tempted to do, let me add a small disclaimer. When choosing your chocolate, you preferably want it raw.
Now, cacao cannot actually be raw; it has to be fermented. What you want to look for are products that say they are raw—this is more leaning toward the fact that after fermentation the cacao bean has been left to dry and not heated, treated, processed, or refined. This type of refinement will destroy the nutritional quality of the cacao and leave you with an empty, most likely sugary treat or not-so-tasty powder.
When looking for chocolate, be sure to get cacao as opposed to cocoa. Cocoa has been refined and processed. Cacao is the raw, nutritional godsend. The reason cacao made the list is because it is incredibly mineral dense, containing magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. All of which are very important minerals for our health, youth, and beauty. This wonderful bean also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E. Cacao is possibly one of the most powerful antioxidant foods on the planet. I would say given its health, emotional, and mental benefits cacao reigns supreme.
Though dark chocolate has become increasingly popular, you want to keep in mind that just because it’s a high percentage of 70% or more, does not guarantee that it has not been processed and stripped of many of the flavonoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Your safest best is to source raw chocolate and make it yourself. The second best bet would be to find companies that use raw ingredients or if the bars aren’t exactly “raw” that they at least use the whole bean and use minimal heating, keeping most of the nutrition intact.
Other than the anti-aging vitamins and minerals, cacao has other handy health properties. It assists the body in producing neurotransmitters and even a special little chemical called oxytocin, the love chemical. The fat of the cacao bean, known as cacao butter, has been a secret to beautiful skin for ages. Cacao was also used medicinally to treat stomach problems, and scientific research has now proven that cacao feeds healthy bacteria, making it a gut-healthy food.
8. Ginger: Nature’s all-for-one miracle food; a natural aphrodisiac, immune builder, pain killer and hands down the best digestive aid in town. If you have an ailment, ginger will work to resolve it. Because all disease and all health is manufactured in the gut and mind, ginger is one of the most medicinal foods nature has to offer.
There is something called the gut-brain axis, which simply is the correlation between your digestive system and the effects it has on your mentality. To understand this, think of a time of anxiety—most likely you have butterflies in the stomach. Another example of this phenomenon is during stress, when your stomach is tied in knots. This shows you how our minds and the mental states we create affect our digestive health.
In contrast, eating poor foods can cause poor mental and emotional states. How this happens is through the neurotransmitters that control our brain. These chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, are manufactured a great deal in our stomach. Up to 95% of our serotonin is created in the gut. Because of the calming affects ginger has on the stomach, it can work holistically to calm the mind and rest of the body.
If you take care of your gut, you will experience overall health. And ginger is one of the kings of good gut health. Ginger has been used as a digestive tonic for centuries. It has been taken internally for appetite issues, stomach upsets, constipation, diarrhea, colic, gas, bloating, and more. The powerful antioxidants gingerols, shogaols, and zingerones found in ginger have powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties making it so effective in healing the digestive system.
9. Sauerkraut: Unless you are up-to-date in the natural health community, you may not be thinking of the same type of sauerkraut I’m going to reference. Most baby boomers are familiar with a processed and pasteurized version of this health food. Traditionally, sauerkraut was fermented from cabbage in a natural brine of sea salt and water. The naturally occurring bacteria on the cabbage ate up the sugars of the vegetable and created a by-product of lactic acid known as acidophilus, a healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract also found in breast milk.
This raw sauerkraut is one of nature’s powerful probiotics. When consumed, fermented cabbage works to restore the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria detoxify the body from the inside out. The good bacteria, or microflora, rid the body of toxins and heavy metals. They also kill and suppress the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast, and pathogens. All in all, consuming raw sauerkraut will deep clean your intestines and organs on a deep cellular level, helping your cells and you live much longer.
Cabbage is rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, and two cancer-killing compounds called indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates. Because fermenting increases the bioavailability of a foods nutrients, these healing compents increase, making them incredible immune boosters and protecting us from cancer and disease.
10. Turmeric: Did you know if you mix lime juice with the juice of turmeric it becomes the red dye that Buddhist and Hindus use to mark their foreheads? Me either! Anyways, unless you’re looking to become a Buddhist and raise your awareness to “save your life” from unconscious mental behavior then I will proceed to more common uses for this magic root.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family; therefore, by genetics we can trust it is a true super food! Turmeric is actually an incredible source of vitamins and minerals like iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin B6, and even vitamin C.
Curcumin is the phytochemical found in turmeric that has been associated with its very strong antioxidant properties. Countless studies and evidence shows that high doses of curcumin are effective in fighting cancer and reducing inflammation.
Traditionally and today turmeric can be used for intestinal issues, parasites, bacterial and yeast overgrowths, liver detoxification, ulcers and purifying the blood. A shot of fresh turmeric juice improves digestion immediately by increasing the release of bile and production of stomach acid.
Turmeric has been proven to reduce many types of cancer and even work as a natural skin care agent. A paste of turmeric applied to the skin is used by women in India to whiten and purify their skin just before marriage. Like ginger, there really isn’t anything turmeric isn’t good for. It is a holistic, natural medicine that should be in everyone’s kitchen!
There you have it, a short list of life saving foods that are available right at your local grocer! Health is truly a simple thing and is available to all of us. The power of food’s healing ability is still yet to be fully discovered. I hope these foods inspire you to give them a try and see for yourself the impact they can have on the quality of your life. You can simply use this as an experiment and implement a food from this list each day and add it to a recipe you’re familiar with. Trying new foods is a simple way to make everyday life a healing journey to new discovery!
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