By Lyndsey DePalma
Founder and President
House of Steep
Photos by Anna Gibbs Photography
Why wait for your body to provide biofeedback about the bad food you eat? Our bodies need exactly the vitamins and nutrients found in food that comes from the earth, so do your beautiful self a favor and fuel your bodacious bod with good foods that are readily available, are convenient, and are a direct way to give your cells precisely what they need to avoid disease or disharmony.
Say no to belly pain, bloating, and digestive imbalance, and start feeding yourself the nourishment your body needs.
Here are some easy ways to get what your body is begging for:
Salmon Rules! Fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids (such as salmon) is also good for every cell in your body that uses fatty acids for just about every body function. An Ohio State University study showed that healthy fats (such as omega 3) may buffer against stress-related inflammation.
Cucumbers are also another natural wonder. Because they are 90 percent water, if consumed frequently, cukes help your body—and especially your skin—remain properly hydrated.
Try our salmon/avocado/cucumber tea sandwich for a meal that’s full of what your body is craving.
Yogurt is your belly’s buddy. Probiotics—such as the healthy bacteria in yogurt—help heal the gut and help aid digestion. And because so much health (or disease) starts right in the gut, yogurt or supplements are key. Beyond this, probiotics can actually lower levels of the stress hormone corticosterone and have a direct effect on moods and anxiety. Research suggests that nerves transmit messages from the microorganisms in the gut to the mind, influencing brain chemistry and further connecting the mind with the body. By taking care of our digestive tract, we are taking care of our overall health.
Try our Greek yogurt seasonal parfait with granola and agave nectar. And ask to top it with bananas, the queen of B6, which produces the stress hormone serotonin, which also fuels brain function.
Make garlic and ginger your friends. It seems like garlic used to be used to treat just about every ailment before Western medicine came about. From yeast infections to preventing allergies, garlic is a powerhouse of “anti” everything. It is known to reduce risk of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and several metabolic diseases, and it has a positive effect on high blood pressure, arthritis, bacteria, and fungus, so enjoy it as much as you can.
It’s also known that ginger heals what ails the stomach. It also is thought to prevent heart disease, arthritis, and the growth of cancer tumors due to its ability to cause cancer cells to digest themselves under ginger’s concentration of antioxidants and phytochemicals (healing plant substances). Ginger is also high in Vitamins B6 and C, as well as the minerals magnesium and potassium.
Add some ginger to a pot of nettle (antihistamine) and licorice root (natural steroid effects), and you have our April Blend of the Month, which includes a supercharged ratio of herbs known for their seasonal allergy effects.
Heal your soul. Beyond the foods specific to being healthy for your organs and ensuring prolonged health are plenty of foods that can also heal the soul. One of my favorites is fruit dipped in dark chocolate. In addition to its antioxidant and toxin-minimizing properties—and making your sweet tooth sing—medical research shows that consuming dark chocolate can decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Dark chocolate may also enhance your mood, according to a 2007 study by the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and improve cognitive function. Gotta love science.
Get your chocolate fix today with our chocolate “sammie.” We spread a generous layer of chocolate on whole wheat bread and top it with sweet, fresh apples. Think PBJ, Whole Foods style. It is a hit for anyone of all ages because everyone, no matter who you are or what restrictions you place on your diet, knows a treat is a treat. Make it a good one!
What should you avoid? One of the biggest no-nos of our time is partially hydrogenated oils, so here, it’s not so much what you do eat but what you avoid. Anything with trans fats can wreak havoc on your body and can also trigger inflammatory changes linked to depression. Store-bought cookies and crackers are notorious for having heaping helpings of hydrogenated oils, so be sure to check the label before buying your next box.
Don’t fret, Cookie Monster. To get a sweet fix that’s free of hydrogenated oils, try our lavender shortbread cookies. We serve them with every cup and pot of tea we serve. Yum!
These are just a small sampling of foods that heal. Next time you’re at the grocery store, go ahead and pile up on fruits or produce. Even if you don’t know exactly how they are good for you, they undeniably are. Be sure to order our healthy offerings to get new ideas for breakfast, lunch, and snack items that you can whip up at home. And stock-up on our take-home teas to serve with all your healthy meals. Bon appetit!
About Lyndsey DePalma and the House of Steep
Lyndsey DePalma is the founder of the new Arlington, VA, tea house and reflexology studio, House of Steep, where visitors discover the treasure that is tea and the power of reflexology to heal and harmonize.
Before coming up with the concept for House of Steep, DePalma yearned to find a place to relax, and just be, for a while each day. Not satisfied with any of the existing answers and armed with some entrepreneurial hard-wiring and a respect for natural healing, DePalma left her corporate career in human resources to bridge the gap.
Since October of 2010, House of Steep has been taking up residence in DePalma’s heart and will become the ultimate destination for busy corporate citizens, casual connections, bridal parties, street shoppers, believers in alternative healing, moms and grandmoms, yogis and yoginis, consultants, crafters, lovers, and the rest of us.
For more information, visit www.houseofsteep.com.