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Archive for General Knowledge

Eat Live Foods

live, food, vegetable, health, naturalI often espouse eating “live” foods and many of my customers then ask “Do you mean I can’t cook my food?” Laugh-Out-Loud (lol)! No, I don’t mean you can never cook your foods, but I do think we eat too many foods that are overcooked and over processed.

So what does it mean to eat “live” foods? Live foods are food from which the vital nutrients have not been removed. We generally call these types of foods “unprocessed” foods. In order to enhance shelf life for our food products, suppliers remove nutrients that cause shelf life to be shortened. But that causes them to contain fewer vital nutrients and aren’t as good for your health.

I’m an advocate of selecting your food from the perimeter of the grocery store – the outside edges. That’s where you find the fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs and spices, the cheeses and dairy products, the fresh cuts of meat and fish, fresh eggs and water. And this is where you find the colorful foods. Did you know that there are even books written about “Eating Your Colors”? Every different shade of food provides some different nutrients. For example, deep red and purple foods provide antioxidants to get rid of free radical damage; orange and red food provide carotenoids such as beta-carotene which aids bone and cell growth, and lutein which is important for healthy vision; green foods provide a powerhouse of nutrients such as fiber, folate, potassium, and the A-C-E vitamins; and crimson, blue and brown foods provide flavonoids that contribute to proper brain function and blood flow.

While canned foods still have some nutrients, I put them in the intermediary – the heat of canning kills many vital nutrients, and the added salt used in the canning process preserves the contents from spoilage but adds sodium which can cause several health issues.

And then there are the packaged foods. They have had most of the “live” nutrients replaced with long-lasting preservatives. The focus is on shelf life. And they will fill you up, but they provide little nutrition.

So what are some things you can do to eat better? Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop from the outer perimeter of the grocery store. Enlarge the variety of foods you eat to get a better variety of nutrients and prepare your own foods as much as your lifestyle will permit.

Consider one of the popular mail-in food programs we see advertised so much now. They ship the fresh foods along with recipes for preparing them. You can involve the family in the preparation to enhance family time and learn to cook together. And you get a freshly prepared meal.

And you might then consider the next step – a small backyard garden to get just the food you enjoy in the freshest form available – pick them from your backyard and take them in and prepare them for a family meal! Whether you dig up the whole back yard, simply prepare a few small raised beds, or put together a collection of pots and pans for a deck or porch container garden, it can be a life-changing and tasty new hobby.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Sustainable Living

While Sustainable Living may take on many connotations, I have chosen to look at it from the perspective of personal growth and personal survival under less than perfect conditions. What are the practices that you need to incorporate into your life to ensure that you have a healthy, fulfilling life when all the world around you seems to be falling apart?

First, you will need to eat “live” foods. Live foods are food from which the vital nutrients have not been removed. We generally call these types of foods “unprocessed” foods. In order to enhance shelf life for our food products, suppliers remove nutrients that cause shelf life to be shortened. But that causes them to contain fewer vital nutrients and aren’t as good for your health.

Next, we need to add more “green” foods to our diets. Green foods contain chlorophyll and are richer in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that aren’t available in other foods. These green foods can come from land or sea sources and your diet should have a variety of them to get the variety of nutrients that your body needs.

I take every opportunity I get to highlight the importance of consuming sufficient water. Well over half our body is water-based – from our circulatory system to our lymphatic system to our digestive system and so on. Nothing in our bodies works well without sufficient water. How much do you need? You need a minimum of 64 ounces per day in small serving throughout the day. Your maximum should be around half your body weight in ounces, from a minimum of 64 ounces to about 100 ounces. Drinking more than that could cause some to wash out vital nutrients. Of course, if your lifestyle causes you to sweat a lot, you may need to replace more as well.

And no lifestyle is sustainable without proper exercise. I’m not suggesting that every person need to go spend hours in a gym every day. But several of our body systems depend on movement to function properly – bowel “movements” require movement (!); the lymphatic system requires muscle contractions to move dead cells through peristalsis. And one writer I read recently stated that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer”. I know of many people who decide to retire from work and then go home, sit down, watch TV, and die within a couple of years. We were created for movement.

Our bodies were created to last around 120 years. But a sustainable lifestyle includes more than just existing. Get healthy; get active; eat green “live” foods, and drink plenty of water. As Mr. Spock on Star Trek says, “Live long and Prosper!”

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, call 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com, or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Managing Regional Allergies

allergy, allergies, regional, US, u.s., managing, relief, planningHave you ever noted how people who live most of their lives in a given location seem to have fewer allergies to the things in that area? I concede that this is not true for every person who lives there, but I still observe it to be generally true. Our bodies seem to have a great ability to adapt.

It is true that as we apply homeopathy, we find that when we ingest a very small amount of a substance (say one part per million!) we don’t immediately feel the effects of that particle on our bodies. But the body recognizes that substance even at that small dilution. And, if that substance is something that could cause harm at a larger dosage, then the body begins immediately to prepare antibodies to the substance. It’s the same principle used in giving someone a flu shot to prevent the flu – a small, weaken germ that causes the body to prepare antidotes so that it is prepared when larger samples arrive.

I think in a broad sense this applies to the allergy example. If you live in an area for a long period of time and your body is subjected to the same substances repeatedly for several years, then your body may produce the antibodies so that with a healthy immune system you may not have the negative reactions that normally result.

This could account for travel problems where street vendors’ foods, local water, and different environmental factors cause you problems. And have you noted new immune issues when you move into a new area or decide to embark on a new diet or new regional activities?

To cover these types of allergy problems, several of our supplement suppliers offer “allergy drops” that are specific to a given regional zone. We purchase only Zone 5 drops from one such provider. They seem to cover the allergy discomforts for folks who live in or visit this zone.

A word of caution – whether this particular information is scientifically, fully accurate or not, you should be prepared to follow good health practices when you travel, move, or visit new places. Take your personal supplements with you and don’t let an allergic reaction to something new spoil your trip.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Managing Personal Allergies

allergies, personal, pollen, manage, managing, cat, fish, eggs, How is your immune system? If it is healthy you probably are one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a lot of allergies. You see, when we ingest pollens, pollutants, toxins, etc., our bodies have to determine whether it is something natural for our bodies or something that will cause us trouble – e.g., a dietary dilemma, a respiratory resistance, a bowel blunder, or system-wide stress.

If the foreign material is new to us, or our bodies are not able to break it down, then the immune system has to come up with a plan to keep it from breaking us down. This is particularly true with seasonal distresses. We live in central Oklahoma. We recently had a warmer week in the middle of a couple of truly cold periods. I guess Mother Nature thought for a few days that it was turning to Spring, so the Red Cedar trees started to really pour out their pollen. Virtually the whole of the mid-Oklahoma population ran to our shop for anything we had to help them breathe. Histamines poured, nasal passages and sinuses swelled, mucus built and caused coughing, sneezing, and congestion, and dis-ease was rampant.

Fortunately, these are so common that we keep on hand a variety of supplements that block the histamines and minimize the other symptoms. But what can YOU do in these cases?

Be aware of your immune shortfalls. Ask family members what bothers them … they may also be the things that bother you. Particularly ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles what changes they noted as they aged. Be prepared for those seasons that cause you discomfort. Journal! Keep a record of foods that cause you dietary trouble. Stay away from animals that have dander to which you react negatively.

And when you find products that work for your particular allergies, keep some on hand. You may not have a lot of warning when your provokers arise.

I’ve noted a number of new techniques that my customers are able to use to manage their symptoms. Be aware! Look into homeopathic solutions. Consider aromatherapy. Pay attention to the weather and the seasonal changes. No one knows your body or your natural shortcomings like you do.

– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Is Your pH Balanced?

If you took chemistry in high school then you’ve heard of “pH.” “pH” stands for “potential of Hydrogen” and is the mark of the acid-alkaline ratio of an item. In this case, we’re talking about the pH balance of your body. It is the balance between positively charged ions (which form acids) and negatively charged ions (which form alkalines).

Why is this important? A recent pamphlet (available to you at the shop without cost) states that “the body continually strives to balance pH. When this balance is threatened, however, many unpleasant sicknesses can arise. Because our bodies naturally use hydrochloric acid to break down foods and nutrients, the optimal saliva and urine pH for our bodies is slightly acidic, around 6.4-6.5.”

This is only slightly acidic because the number assigned to “neutral” is 7.0. And the measure of a well-functioning body is a saliva pH between 6.4 and 6.8 both morning and evening, and a urine pH of 6.0-6.4 in the morning (since your body has been removing acids during the night) and 6.4-7.0 in the evening. Numbers outside these set up an environment in the body where disease can flourish.

You can easily know what your pH levels are. While the old litmus strips we used in chemistry class only showed us red for acid and blue for alkaline, newer developed strips use a color-code to measure pH from 5.0 to 9.0 in .5 increments.

While the range of diseases attributable to pH imbalance is great, it should be noted that more people suffer from too much acid – a condition known as acidosis. This condition causes the body to borrow the minerals needed to buffer the acids from other organs, tissues, and bones. And while less common, high alkalinity can cause the body to digest foods too slowly and create problems in the bowel and urinary tracts. And too much acid in the saliva can indicate a problem with digestive enzymes from the stomach and liver.

Another example of conditions attributed to an improper balancing of your pH may be the inability to lose weight because the body may be improperly using the minerals needed to maintain proper metabolism.

Many foods we eat contribute to acid and alkaline buildups in our bodies. Further, new research shows that our blood types cause our bodies to react differently from one person to another. A food that is well-used by someone with a blood type of “A” may cause acid problems in a person with blood type “O”, for example. You need to research which foods are best for your blood type.

What do you do if you test your pH and find it out of balance? Well, besides modifying your diet, there are numerous mineral and herbal combinations available to correct either condition. Interestingly, different forms of the same mineral may be necessary to correct an acid as opposed to an alkaline condition. But some elements are common between the conditions: enzymes are essential to ensure vitamins and minerals are absorbed, using the correct calcium is needed, and one should cleanse regularly. Cleansing serves to detoxify your body and a “cleanse” should be accomplished quarterly or at least semi-annually.

While proper nutrition and a good supplement program are always advised, experts further recommend checking your saliva and urine pH levels twice a day and at least two days a week. Conditions caused specifically due to improper pH balances may go undetected for years, but the consequences can be devastating. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130 | ph:736-1030 | e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Call to schedule your private health consultation with one of our five Naturopathic Doctors!

New Start

new start, resolutions, new yearAnother new year! January is the time of year we commit ourselves to renewal. New Year’s Resolutions reflect our intentions to make our lives better this year than we did in the last, not to repeat past mistakes, and to make life changes that will encourage better relationships, better livelihood, and better health. But we all know that it takes more than a resolution to make those changes in our lives … it takes a plan, too. The “how to” is often as important as the “what” where significant changes are concerned.

What resolutions do you have for 2019? How will you effect these changes? Have you heard the adage “plan your work, then work your plan”? Well, start with the resolution, the commitment. Make a list of desired changes. Then make a definite plan as to what it will take to effect the changes. Put a timeline on the plan: what will you work on daily, what will be worked on weekly, etc., and do you need to put together a chart to track your progress? Finally, begin immediately (no, not tomorrow!) to work the plan.

I hope “better health” is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions. It certainly is on mine. One of my goals is to lose some weight. Watching my diet, exercising more and taking my supplements are in my plan. I have a chart with places for weekly weigh-ins to track my progress. And I’m telling you about it so you can ask me how it’s going (accountability to others for my goals, too).

In her book Help Yourself: The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Medicine, Karolyn Gazella states that “natural medicine has been catapulted to the forefront of our ailing healthcare system.” She quotes Dr. Michael Murray giving a primary reason for this: “Modern medicine has not done a very good job at teaching people how to be healthy. The dominant medical model is really not a ‘health-care’ model. Instead, it is a ‘disease-care’ model that focuses on using drugs or surgery to promote health. This view is rapidly being replaced by a more rational model of health promotion where the focus is on what can be done to promote health rather than treat disease.”

Dr. Murray gives five principles for this focus:

  1. The body has considerable power to heal itself. The physician facilitates this process and must do no harm.
  2. An individual must be viewed as a whole person composed of a complex interaction of physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social, and other factors.
  3. It is important to seek the underlying cause of a disease rather than simply suppress the symptoms.
  4. A physician should be foremost a teacher. Educating, empowering, and motivating the patient to assume more personal responsibility for their health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.
  5. Prevention is the best cure. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through dietary and life habits which support health and prevent disease.

People who have not used herbal supplements before often ask, “How do I get started?” I recommend any number of good books that correlate ailments to herbs or herbs to ailments. Here are a few examples.

  • The Little Herb Encyclopedia
  • The How To Herb Book
  • Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible

Then look up a hereditary family medical problem or a personal ailment, and see which herbs have historically been used for that condition. Or talk to older family members; many grew up using herbal remedies. Some of the more common ones are glucosamine for arthritis, valerian for sleeplessness, licorice root for fatigue, ginger for motion sickness, kava for nervous anxiety & restlessness, saw palmetto for an enlarged prostate, milk thistle for liver damage, peppermint oil for tension headaches, feverfew for migraine headaches, and vitamins C and E for heart medications that will keep arteries open and dilated, fight plaque buildup and ward off heart attacks.

It’s the New Year. Let’s take advantage of our good intentions at this time of the year and plan to GET STARTED. Then work that plan. Remember, it’s your health … make the most of it.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com

Why and How to Make Mulled Cider

Apple Cider, mulled ciderOne of my most fond memories of the holidays from my childhood and one which has followed me into adulthood is the smell of the kitchen as we prepared the mulled cider which was a part of warm family gatherings.  The mulled cider was made by placing about a gallon of apple juice (or apple cider, red wine, cranberry juice, or pineapple juice) in a large pan on the stove.  We’d add the mulling spices (about a half-cup of them) tied in cheesecloth. These days we use a tea ball instead.  Then we’d simply let it simmer – at least a half hour, though I can remember mom dipping servings from the pan, adding more juice, and letting it simmer all evening.

Recently I thought, what were these spices? And since the recipe dates back to the Middle Ages, what was the importance of such wassail to the folks back then?  Obviously, it was a tasty treat.  But the spices were expensive back then, so the treat was only for the more affluent, their families and their friends.  And even then it was reserved for special occasions, like the holidays we’re about to enter.

I wanted to take it a bit further and look at the spices individually and see what other needs may have been met in their use as a festive, winter drink.

The Spaniards introduced Ginger to the Americas in the 16th century.  It is known to inhibit an enzyme that causes cells to clot and, as such, help to prevent “little strokes”.  It helps to relieve nausea, to relieve congestion in the sinus cavities, to warm blood vascular stimulation, to treat sore throats, and as a body cleanser. Herbalists have long recommended it as a regulator of blood cholesterol and to improve blood circulation.  In China, ginger is used for bronchitis, flu, and the first stages of the common cold.

The volatile oils in Orange Peel help to reduce fevers, help warm the body, aid in relieving scurvy, and help relieve heartburn.  Dental texts note that orange oil helps prevent gingivitis!  Aromatherapists traditionally use these oils to improve appetite, treat bronchitis and respiratory infection, lower cholesterol, and help to relieve mid-winter “blues”.

Cinnamon is listed in most texts as one of the spices that spurred world exploration. Studies conducted by Japanese researchers have shown that it contains a substance that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.  It helps to control virulent outbreaks by many microorganisms including the one that causes botulism and staphylococcus.  Historically it has been used for treating bronchitis, arthritis, diarrhea, stomach upset, fever, nausea, parasites, rheumatism, and vomiting.

One text on spices notes that Allspice can be used to make couples more harmonious.  Physically it is a balm for the liver, helps warm the body, improves digestion, calms the nerves, opens the sinuses, relieves colic and gas, and loosens tight muscles.

Herbalists have used Clove for centuries to cure nausea and rid the stomach and intestine of gas.  Its essential oil is today one of the most effective pain relieving agents used by dentists and has broad-spectrum antibiotic properties.  It also helps relieve bad breath, poor circulation, dizziness, nausea, and dysentery.  Oh, by the way, it is also said to increase sex drive (just what you need on those cold winter nights!).

And finally, star anise.  It was used by the Romans to provide a delightful palette and to help prevent indigestion from overeating.  And today it is a popular addition to cough syrups, mouthwashes, candies, and bakery goods.  It is a cell stimulator for the heart, liver, brain, and lungs, and its volatile oils can be helpful for treating bronchitis, spasmodic asthma, and emphysema.  It can also be used for colds, coughs, indigestion, excessive mucus, pneumonia, loss of appetite, and stimulating most of the glands.

Is it any wonder that this popular drink was used so extensively, especially during those cold Winter months.  Make it a welcome addition to your holiday festivities.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Spicy Holidays

spices, spicy, holiday, turkeyBecause of all the recent interest in herbs for medicinal purposes, many of us forget that “herbs and spices” were first thought of as a cooking term. But it is especially wonderful at this time of year to stop and think about how the herbs and spices that we use in our holiday treats make them special for us. An exhaustive treatment of this subject would require books, but here I’ll present a few of my favorites. Much of the information is from a couple of my favorite books on the subject: Dr. Jack Ritchason’s Little Herb Encyclopedia and Hanna Kroeger’s Spices to the Rescue.

A friend from Puerto Rico gave me the recipe for my favorite way to fix a turkey for the holidays. And therefore we just call it “Puerto Rican turkey”. It is spicy and the skin is “hot” and zesty. Finely chop several cloves of garlic. Add them to one-fourth cup of each of the following: black pepper, oregano, and basil. Add to this mixture one-cup of raw Apple Cider Vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will form a paste when can be rubbed all over the turkey including the inside cavity. Then bake the turkey as you normally would. Your kitchen will smell like heaven and your taste buds will certainly be prepared for the feast to follow.

Why are we attracted to the wonderful taste of these spices? I think it is just one of the ways that God has of drawing us to some nutrients that are really beneficial to us. Look at the health benefits from just the ingredients in this one recipe.

Black pepper cures and prevents many diseases. “It is a digestive aid, relieving gas, and has been used as a tea for running bowels. It is good for constipation, nausea, vertigo, and arthritis. It is a diuretic and a stimulant. Black pepper is loaded with chromium which is needed for proper functioning of the pancreas and heart.” You can also sprinkle a bit of it on some honey and eat it to help alleviate infected sinuses.

Oregano was named by the Greeks and means “joy of the mountain”. Technically it is wild marjoram. While its aromatic influence is to strengthen the feeling of security, it has anti-viral qualities. It may aid the body in balancing metabolism and is useful as a tea for coughs, stomach and gallbladder problems, and menstrual pains. “Oregano has also been used for nervous headaches, irritability, exhaustion, and as a sedative. It is thought to prevent seasickness. It can be applied externally for swelling, rheumatism, and a stiff neck. Chewing on an oregano leaf provides temporary relief for a toothache.”

“Basil was said to have been found growing around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, and some churches use basil to prepare holy water while others set it around their altars. The Indians swore their oaths upon this herb.” Its aromatic influence is reported by many to help one have an open mind. “Basil is food for the brain. When you feel victimized or criticized, eat some basil.” Basil also works as an antidepressant, is helpful for nervous exhaustion and mental fatigue, is anti-viral in its use against the flu, and helps to relieve itching and ringworm. It may also be used for indigestion, kidney and bladder problems, headaches, cramps, and constipation. And in Africa, it is used to expel parasitic worms.

We could write books (and some have!) about the health benefits of garlic. Helping both the physical and mental bodies, “garlic has been prized by healers for more than 5,000 years. Pyramid builders and Roman soldiers on long marches were given a daily ration of garlic. Garlic is so strong an antibiotic that the English purchased tons of it during World War I for use on wounds. Journals of that period state that, when garlic was used on wounds, there were no cases of sepsis. It is a world-renowned cure-all and home remedy in practically every culture. Today even orthodox medicine accepts its healing powers.”

And if we follow the advice of Dr. Paul C. Bragg, perhaps the best-known advocate of daily use of apple cider vinegar, we’ll use vinegar in many tonics several times each day. He espouses its benefits to the digestive and circulatory systems, the bowel, and certainly the mind.

These are only a few of the spices we may find in our pantries and cupboards. We use them to prepare special dishes all the time. But we probably take for granted the wonderful health benefits they give to us. Perhaps, like my family, you may enjoy a Puerto Rican turkey this holiday season. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com. See our blogs and podcasts at www.TheHealthPatch.com. Our full staff are now offering affordable private consultations – call to schedule yours!

Staff Intro

Community Spotlight

The Health Patch
Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health

Randy Lee, the owner of The Health Patch has been interested in health care since he was a youth. His goal as a young man was to attend medical school and care for his family and friends. Lack of finances prevented medical school, but did not diminish his interest in the health care field. So in 1997 he opened an alternative health care supplement store and called it Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – he and his wife are Nana and Pawpaw to seven wonderful grandchildren, and he grew up eating pawpaw fruit in rural Arkansas.

Nana’s Pawpaw Patch has been open in Midwest City for 21 years. The store has blossomed. The alternative health care field has further evolved and both the store product focus and staff have grown with the times.

naturopathic doctorsIn April, 2016, the store “rebranded.” The new store, “The Health Patch,” is indeed “cultivating naturopathic care for total health.” Along with Randy, the other staff members – Shirley Golden, Jolene Griffiths, and Cheryl Sevy – have all become Naturopathic Doctors. The remaining staff member, Kim Anderson, already a Naturopathic Doctor, joined the staff this year. We believe this to be the most certified and capable staff of any like store in Oklahoma!

Once trending toward the health food format, the store is now moving toward full naturopathic care for its customers. Bulk herbs, essential oils, many varieties of teas, personal care products, fruit juices, alternative sweeteners, and numerous products for making your own protein shakes are currently among our products. We also cater to crafters and those who wish to make their own personal care products.

Besides having an extensive line of herbal supplements, vitamins and minerals, the staff has the knowledge as to how to use them. And while any customer can get free information about the products by simply visiting the store, you may also now schedule private consultations with any of the staff members and allow them to track your wellness progress.

Our website includes weekly blogs, podcasts, videos, and most recently, an evolving e-commerce, online store where customers may purchase many of the products available in the brick-and-mortar storefront.

The store mission statement is “We want to help our customers attain and maintain Wellness – Physically, Materially, Emotionally and Spiritually.” In-store conversations, private consultations, free classes, and the best supplements available focus us toward reaching this goal.

The Health Patch is located at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, in the Village Oak Shopping Center in Midwest City. For more information, call 405-736-1030 or visit thehealthpatch.com.

Spicey Thanksgiving

turkey, spiceyBecause of all the recent interest in herbs for medicinal purposes, many of us forget that “herbs and spices” were first thought of as a cooking term. But it is especially wonderful at this time of year to stop and think about how the herbs and spices that we use in our holiday treats make them special for us. An exhaustive treatment of this subject would require books, but here I’ll present a few of my favorites. Much of the information is from a couple of my favorite books on the subject: Dr. Jack Ritchason’s Little Herb Encyclopedia and Hanna Kroeger’s Spices to the Rescue.

A friend from Puerto Rico gave me the recipe for my favorite way to fix a turkey for Thanksgiving. And therefore we just call it “Puerto Rican turkey”. It is spicy and the skin is “hot” and zesty. Finely chop several cloves of garlic. Add them to one-fourth cup of each of the following: black pepper, oregano, and basil. Add to this mixture one-cup of vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This will form a paste when can be rubbed all over the turkey including the inside cavity. Then bake the turkey as you normally would. Your kitchen will smell like heaven and your taste buds will certainly be prepared for the feast to follow.

Why are we attracted to the wonderful taste of these spices? I think it is just one of the ways that God has of drawing us to some nutrients that are really beneficial to us. Look at the health benefits from just the ingredients in this one recipe.

Black pepper cures and prevents many diseases. “It is a digestive aid, relieving gas, and has been used as a tea for running bowels. It is good for constipation, nausea, vertigo, and arthritis. It is a diuretic and a stimulant. Black pepper is loaded with chromium which is needed for proper functioning of the pancreas and heart.” You can also sprinkle a bit of it on some honey and eat it to help alleviate infected sinuses.

Oregano was named by the Greeks and means “joy of the mountain”. Technically it is wild marjoram. While its aromatic influence is to strengthen the feeling of security, it has anti-viral qualities. It may aid the body in balancing metabolism and is useful as a tea for coughs, stomach and gallbladder problems, and menstrual pains. “Oregano has also been used for nervous headaches, irritability, exhaustion, and as a sedative. It is thought to prevent seasickness. It can be applied externally for swelling, rheumatism, and a stiff neck. Chewing on an oregano leaf provides temporary relief for a toothache.”

Basil was said to have been found growing around Christ’s tomb after the resurrection, and some churches use basil to prepare holy water while others set it around their altars. The Indians swore their oaths upon this herb. Its aromatic influence is reported by many to help one have an open mind. “Basil is food for the brain. When you feel victimized or criticized, eat some basil.” Basil also works as an antidepressant, is helpful for nervous exhaustion and mental fatigue is anti-viral in its use against the flu and helps to relieve itching and ringworm. It may also be used for indigestion, kidney and bladder problems, headaches, cramps, and constipation. And in Africa, it is used to expel parasitic worms.

We could write books (and some have!) about the health benefits of garlic. Helping both the physical and mental bodies, “garlic has been prized by healers for more than 5,000 years. Pyramid builders and Roman soldiers on long marches were given a daily ration of garlic. Garlic is so strong an antibiotic that the English purchased tons of it during World War I for use on wounds. Journals of that period state that, when garlic was used on wounds, there were no cases of sepsis. It is a world-renowned cure-all and home remedy in practically every culture. Today even orthodox medicine accepts it healing powers.”

And if we follow the advice of Dr. Paul C. Bragg, perhaps the best-known advocate of daily use of apple cider vinegar, we’ll use vinegar in many tonics several times each day. He espouses its benefits to the digestive and circulatory systems, the bowel, and certainly the mind.

These are only a few of the spices we may find in our pantries and cupboards. We use them to prepare special dishes all the time. But we probably take for granted the wonderful health benefits they give to us. Perhaps, like my family, you may enjoy a Puerto Rican turkey this Thanksgiving. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com