A lot of people come to my site looking for recipes that are gluten-free or healthy, meal plans on Mondays or some delicious looking dessert. However, when I look at other blogs, I'm typically looking for ideas on how to heal. Healing is such an important and ongoing process for me. I felt like I need to share what tips work for me, just in case you've come here looking for something along those lines.
Everyone heals in a different way. Some people are healing their gut (like me); others are healing their skin, neurological issues, etc. What it comes down to is that what we put in (or on) our bodies is extremely important for our health. I'm not a doctor by any means but I've met with enough to know the best and necessary steps needed to ensure proper nutrition and overall well being. With that being said, here's a few things that have worked for me and are widely accepted by the natural healing world:
This may sound gross but it's like the ever powerful elixir to gut restoration. Believe it or not, a few bones cooked in water provides an extensive variety of nutrients that promote healing. I prefer chicken broth but beef, bison or pork are all great too. The best part is making your own at home is very simple.
Take a few bones (cooked or uncooked) from leftover meat. For example, you can use the leftover carcass from a roasted chicken or some bones leftover from a roast. Place the bones in a slow-cooker and cover with water. You can also add any some vegetables for greater flavor: celery, carrots, onions, etc. Throw in a teaspoon or more of sea salt and a few dashes of pepper. Cook over low heat for about 8 hours. Alternatively, you can cook the bones in a large stockpot over low-medium heat for about 2 hours. Let broth cool for about 10 minutes. Ladle into glass jars and seal. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months or in the freezer for 6 months. As the broth cools, it will start to gel. This is due to the natural bone marrow from the animal. This is normal and the nutritious part you will consume. As it is heated, it will liquefy.
You can heat this in a mug, bowl, thermos, etc to drink. You can also add to soups or other recipes as you would chicken stock.
*TIP: most farmer's at the local markets will sell bones, chicken feet, etc for a low price as they typically aren't used. Sometimes you can get a good deal on them and they are perfect for broth!*
Coconut oil is another great food for healing and energy. Coconut oil is digested different than most fats and is used up quickly by the body - therefore, quick energy. It is also great for promoting healing in the body. Find good, quality coconut oil here at Tropical Traditions.
For quick consumption, add a teaspoon or so to your morning coffee, tea or other warm drink. This is sometimes referred to as a "bulletproof" drink as it is said to provide a lot of energy. Unless you just like eating coconut oil by the spoonful (I don't), I suggest using this easy shortcut. You can also add to sautés, baked goods, oatmeals or broths.
Remember: coconut oil is solid below 76F and liquid above. You can add it to smoothies but I'm not a fan as it remains solid and chunky in a cold drink.
Soups are a great way to get nutrition from vegetables in a warm, comforting and liquid form. An important component for gut healing is to consume foods that are gentle on the digestive system. For me, I wasn't digesting any foods. Once I started eating a liquid diet, my digestive track wasn't working so hard and was able to start absorbing some nutrients in a simpler way. Even for those of you that don't need a liquid diet all the time, liquids can be a great reset for your digestive track. Similar to how a body needs rest, the digestive system can benefit from a gentle diet. One question I get is "won't eating a liquid diet make you hungrier?" My answer: not necessarily. If you consume enough of the liquids, your body will adjust and you won't necessarily feel hungry soon after eating. As with any meal plan, fluids are important so make sure you are drinking plenty of water also to help keep hunger pain away.
Here's a few of my favorite soup recipes:
Butternut Sage Soup
Loaded Leek Soup
Chicken Veggie Soup : puree for a blended soup
Chicken & Dumpling Soup: a soft texture for those who are tired of blending
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Tomato Basil Soup
Winter Vegetable Soup
*TIP: to make a quick and easy soup, steam a few of your favorite veggies. Add in some bone broth and blend until smooth. Heat as desired. My favorites are a mixture of broccoli, carrot, cabbage and celery. Add in your favorite seasonings for more flavor variations.*
I have a love-hate relationship with smoothies. I'd rather have a warm drink but they are great ways to fill you up and give you nutrition, as with soups. Honestly, smoothies can be enjoyed all year but I have been known to warm them up just slightly in the winter for a nutritious, warm beverage. Smoothies don't necessarily need extra sugar or sweeteners if you use sweeter fruits in your base. In addition, you can add in a scoop of your favorite protein powder to give you an extra boost if you need it. If I know I'm having a rough time and need some extra energy and bulk in my smoothie, I'll add in a plain or vanilla flavored vegan powder. I really like Vega protein mixes and Garden of Life. There are other great brands available. For me, I use powders that are made of pea protein and clean ingredients - no whey, dairy, soy, etc. They can get expensive so if you don't NEED them, you can get by with adding extra protein boosts from foods. Here's a few of my favorite recipes:
Banana Cherry Smoothie
Almond Joy Smoothie
Mint Chip Smoothie
Blueberry Maca Smoothie
Banana Pudding Smoothie
Strawberry Cacao Smoothie
Apple Pie Smoothie
Immunity Boost Smoothie
Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie
Blueberry Mint Smoothie
Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
*TIP: My go-to smoothie recipe is simply 8 oz milk of choice (almond, coconut, etc), 1 Tbsp almond butter, 1 small banana, dash of cinnamon and some ice cubes (optional: cacao powder, vanilla, coconut flakes).
Other helpful recipes:
Homemade almond milk: great if you are having nasty side effects from store-bought milks. Making your own removes any added ingredients and preservatives. Just simply almonds and water.
Applesauce: a delicious, simple recipe for making your own sweet treat. Perfect for dessert or as a side dish or snack. Top with some coconut milk cream for variation. Try other fruits too: pears, peaches, plums, etc.
Sweet Potato Quesadillas: the filling is great for a blended diet - add tortilla shells if you can for texture.
PB & J Nutmeal: a hearty blend of soaked nuts with added flavors for a filling breakfast.
Overnight Noats: a grain-free blend of nuts and seeds that can be served warm or cold with easy prep work.
Banana Nut N'oatmeal: a grain-free blend of nuts and bananas for a warm and comforting breakfast.
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: perfect for fall but great all year!
Don't forget Dessert!
Ice creams make a perfect dessert for ablended diet. A quick tip: peel and freeze some overripe bananas. When you want a sweet, cool treat - simply blend the frozen bananas into a puree. Healthy and delicious!
Coconut Ice Cream with Pineapple
Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Cherry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Chai Banana Ice Cream
Mint Chip Ice Cream
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
Other helpful tips:
Probiotics: if you are needing some gut or digestive support, probiotics can be extremely helpful. Having the right amount of healthy bacteria is crucial for digestive health. Luckily, probiotics can be found in many ways:
Kombucha: a fermented tea drink that can be flavored as desired. You can easily make your own at home but you can find bottles in most health food stores.
Yogurt: is one of the easiest ways to get probiotics. I prefer making my own coconut milk yogurt but you can find dairy free yogurts in most stores. Or simply opt for a plain or vanilla yogurt if dairy isn't an issue. Try to avoid yogurts that are made with artificial sweeteners as they can prove problematic for some people. If you buy plain, you can easily add your own pureed fruits for flavor.
Fermented Foods: sauerkrauts, pickles, salsas or other fermented foods are a quick and tasty way to get more nutrition. You can find some in most stores or online at sites like Wild Mountain Paleo Market.
Probiotic supplements: you can find a TON of probiotic pills in stores or online. Try to find a good, quality brand. I use Xymogen, Seeking Health or MegaFlora. You can find these on Amazon here.
Letting your body rest and heal is very important. Don't overdue it. If you feel weak and tired, give your body some time to get back into the swing of things. Rest is important for everyone. Try to get quality sleep or give your body time to relax. Go for a leisure walk or bike ride, do some yoga or even meditation.
You can't rush the healing process. All of these tips and suggestions I have provided are great for getting a jumpstart on healing but only your body will know how long it will take for you. Be patient and stick with it!
Other great resources:
Liquid Raw Cookbook: by Lisa Montgomery - a great book with over 125 recipes for raw juices, smoothies, soups, etc.
Smoothie Secrets Revealed by Elyse Wagner - a book with several smoothie recipes but also nutritional information and other great tips for quality health.
I personally have both of these books and love them. They are great resources for other recipes and tips!
If you have any other tips or ideas, please share them so we can all benefit. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm happy to help in any way I can!