the Brown bag Has a New Look

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Have you visited “the Brown bag” recently?

We’d like you to come over and take a look.

www.thebrownbagncs.com

Our mission:  To help bridge the gap between you and the importance of good nutrition

“You are what you eat.”- Gillian McKeith

There is a lot of truth to that. We need it for our bodies to grow, heal and rejuvenate.

With that in mind, the site has a fresh new look.

We will be updating and adding services throughout the year. In addition to the new look you will enjoy learning from many different avenues:

  • Monthly blog posts on conditions, nutrients and foods
  • Recipes for you to enjoy, share and make your own
  • Classes in nutrition, health and cooking
  • A future YouTube channel
  • New letters, e-books, and much more

We hope you will continue to visit our site and gain something here that will help you to help your body.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

 

 

It’s a New Year, So Let’s Eat For Health

“Eating of Heath is a process rather than a method.” – Dr. Ed Bauman

There are four different levels of eating:

  • Leave #1: Eating for Pleasure
    • I ate it because it tasted good
    • It is more of an immature & impulsive approach to eating.
  • Leave #2: Eating for Energy
    • Blood sugar driven
    • Little concern for place and quality –> fast food
    • Refined and processed –> FEED ME NOW OR I WILL DIE!
  • Leave #3: Eating for Recovery
    • by choosing a lifestyle from level #1 and/or 2 we have developed poor body composition
    • frequently obesity & diminished energy, health, and mood
    • Following the latest greatest diet cruz to hit the land: take this pill, drink this juice
  • Level #4: Eating for Health
    • The goal of this approach is lifelong learning about optimum nutrition
    • Together we will explore the healing effects of foods, and an aesthetic & spiritual approach to the culinary arts
    • Discovering the many foods your body needs and the best available choices are at a given time
    • Exploring different philosophies, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, naturopathy, and many more

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As you can see the pyramid has been replaced with a plate. In Eating for Heath we will learn and embrace the maxims; food is the best medicine.

I am excited to lead this journey with you. Welcome the New Year! Welcome a new approach!

I will be inviting guests to write about fitness tips, meditation tips, and so much more over the coming months and years.

We are very excited here at the Brown bag; Nutrition & Chef Services knowing that the new year is going to be amazing!

We welcome all comments, questions, and conversations.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

Introduction to Cooking with Essential Oils

“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.” – E.O. Wilson

Before we continue on our seemingly long and arduous journey towards healthy decision making, there are a few pit stops to make. Deviating from the cliche metaphors that only seem to make the destination seem that much further away, I want to ask you a few questions. Amongst which include, what in the name of the food geniuses is an essential oil? Well, my potential friends, followers, and clientele, that is what I aim to answer and incorporate into your daily mob of thoughts. See what I did there? Yet another clever, although not food related, metaphor. So let us kick off with that same question, and of course, a few more:

What is an essential oil?

How are essential oils made?

Are essential oils safe to digest?

What is the toxicity of essential oils?

How do you cook with an essential oil?

What are some simple recipes to incorporate essential oils?

Now that we have established somewhat of an outline, I will answer the questions that I know you are dying, or starving — ha — to eat, I mean, hear, the answer to. Enjoy!


Q1What is an essential oil (EO)?

EOs are fragrant, dynamic compounds that are extracted through the distillation process from flowers, shrubs, leaves, trees, roots, and/or seeds. Funnily enough, they do not fall under our preconception of “oil.” EOs do not contain lipids like their fatty vegetable oil siblings, and as a result their distinctive chemistry enables them to permeate every cell and administer healing properties in the body. This structural complexity, created through volatile organic compounds (VOC), enables an EO to preform various functions with a few drops.

Q2How are EOs made?

EOs are, as previously touched on, steam distilled from plants. However, there are different types of extractions, and citrus EOs are cold pressed. Amongst these extraction methods are as follows: water vapor distillation, pressure extraction, expression, enlfeurage, solvent extraction, CO2 extraction, and synthetic imitation. One pound of EO requires at least 50 pounds of plant material. Take rosemary for example, rosemary EO uses 66 pounds of fresh rosemary for every pound. That is astounding!

Q3Are EOs safe to digest?

Society has accepted that the use of EOs is dangerous, but civilizations have been using them for centuries. Not to mention, industries that produce products like toothpaste, skin care, and sodas use them. So, before you run away from fear, keep in mind that these frequently used items have proven thus safe to ingest. That is not to say, “turn a blind eye and pick any toothpaste or skin product out there!” Quality is everything. Look for organic-therapeutic grade EOs. Purchased products should have bottle and company info that read the following: 100% natural, an English plant name, a Botanical name, the utilized part of the plant, the production method, the country of origin, and any hazard or allergy notations. Happy shopping!

Q4What is the toxicity of EOs?

Certain EOs have irritation potential and can be toxic is ingested in large doses, but there is beauty to be held in that statement. A little goes a long way, and as touched on, it only takes a few drops of an EO to make an impact. Regardless, if one were to ingest larges doses of an EO, they can suspect these possible, short-term complications: burning of the mucus membrane of the oral cavity, throat, and esophagus, the occurrence of reflux by irritating the digestive tract, some symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, interference of certain medications rending the EO useless, possible interference with anesthesia, and elevation of live enzymes. EOs that should NEVER be taken internally include: camphor, citronella, thuja, pennyroyal, sassafras, wormseed, and wormwood. In that same line, if you are allergic to a food then you will be allergic to its EO. Again, dry, fresh, cooked, or otherwise, if you have a particular food allergy that allergy will remain in the EO form. Oh! To cover all bases, know that not all EOs on the FDA’s GRAS list have been tested with contemporary technology. Some EOs have been grandfathered into use by virtue of being widely used in the food industry for several decades without reports of negative effects.

Q5How do you cook with EOs?

First off, look back to Q3 and note that for internal use only use organic-therapeutic grade oils (these oils are 100% pure). Also, keep in mind reputation and remain conscious about reputable companies and suppliers to ensure you make smart, healthy purchases. From there, lead with this golden rule: 1 to 4 drops of EO per recipe. In more words than eight, 1 to 4 drops of EO is its serving size. To choose the right EOs, note whether or not it falls under the FDA category, GRAS. GRAS stands for Generally Recognized As Safe. The FDA, as logically follows, considers EOs with this label safe for consumption. Here are a few EOs on the GRAS list to take note of and keep in mind over the following blog posts: black pepper, basil, grapefruit, lemon, orange, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, savory, and peppermint.

Q6 – What are some simple recipes to incorporate EOs?

Well, I can’t dole out all the fun yet! Look for next week’s post to learn about the EO black pepper for some tasty recipes influenced and adapted from Jacque Pepin in the Heart and Soul magazine. Oh, and of course for corresponding learning opportunities.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


References

Healthy Cooking with Essential Oil: Rebecca Park Totilo

Weigh Less, Eat Like Royalty: Menkit Prince

Aroma Kitchen Cooking with Essential Oils: Sabine Honig and Ursula Kutschera

Healing with Whole Foods, Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd Edition: Paul Pitchford

Essential Oil of the Month (August): Black Pepper

“Once you get a spice in your home, you have it forever. Women never throw out spices. The Egyptians were buried with their spices. I know which one I’m taking with me when I go.” – Erma Bombeck

Let’s start off with a question yet again. After all, it seems that blogs like these thrive off of answering unknowns and presenting new and exciting ways to approach a variety of topics. So, what’s the question? I promise that is not it. Rather, what I am sure you are wondering at this point in time is,

What is black pepper essential oil?

This particular essential oil is sourced from the dried berries of the Piper nigrum plant and is a key nutrient in most everyone’s kitchen. For thousands of years black pepper has been highly prized, and – fun fact – used as currency or sacred offerings by the Ancient Greeks. Defined by the warm, spicy undertones, black pepper enhances the flavor of foods while improving digestion. Oh, and another little snippet of information, this ingredient helps digestion by preventing the formation of internal gases. It has also been proven to help break down fat cells, which in turn may help in weight loss. Taking a moment to move tangentially, let us look Chinese medicine (TCM) to help explain these qualities. Black pepper is warming, and as a result, stimulates a warming flow of energy in the body. Particular body parts include the abdomen. It has been used, and is used in the treatment of diarrhea and watery stools. TCM also points to black pepper as a diaphoretic as to open pores for sweating and treat onset symptoms of the common cold. Even more fascinating is it counteracting abilities in times of retracted food poisoning and indigestion. Nevertheless, I am sure you devoted readers are itching to know its everyday uses, and the answer to this other question,

What are some examples of black pepper essential oil in some simple dishes Suzy?

First and foremost, great starting points (better referred to as everyday uses) for black pepper essential oil are in soups and sauces as seasoning. Keep in mind that black pepper has a tendency to sink in clear broths. Not to dissuade its usage, but where’s the excitement when flavors of life settle without being stirred up? It’s left at the bottom, that’s where it is. Moving on, look to marinades and brines for black pepper’s usage. Even better, and easier (for those who find themselves multitasking on a superior level), is using black pepper with hot water as a tea supplement or flavoring. It helps get your digestive tract moving. Don’t lie to me, but I am sure you were only looking to Green Teas prior to these past couple sentences. Now you’ve got a new tea to help out with those various tasks. Speaking of various tasks, if you’ve made it this far into reading, time for the promised examples of black pepper essential oil in food!


Example #1: Garbanzo Salad, adapted from Jacque Pepini in Heart and Soul Magazine

  • Can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1-15 oz)
  • Mayo, vegan or homemade (5 tbsp)
  • Celery, minced (1 cup)
  • Himalayan Salt, (1/4 tsp)
  • Chives, minced (1 tbsp)
  • Black Pepper EO (1-4 drops)

Fold together all identified ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste. If you’d like to assuage your fancier side of cooking you can serve this salad in lettuce cups.

Note: start with one drop of black pepper essential oil and then taste the salad. As a wise individual once said, “remember you can always add, you cannot remove!” If you’d like more, then add more drops. It’s really that simple.

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Example #2: Vegan Lox

  • 3 Carrots, medium
  • Filtered H2O, (1/2 cup)
  • Rice Vinegar, (1/2 cup)
  • Liquid Smoke, (1 tsp)
  • Old Bay, (1 tsp)
  • Himalayan Salt, (1/2 tsp)
  • Fresh Lemon, (1 tbsp or ½ of a Lemon)
  • Black Pepper EO, (1-4 drops)

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In a non-reactive bowl, mix all the ingredients together EXCEPT the carrots. From there, adjust the seasoning to taste. After, slice carrots thinly on a mandolin, place the carrots into brining liquid, and completely submerge the carrots. Cover and place them into the fridge overnight.

Note: if any of these words sound strange, the Internet is a magical place to answer all your dying questions. Simply write the word, “word” and add in the word, “define” into Google. Google apparently knows all. Other note, the more important note, is similar to that of the previous recipe. Start with one drop of oil, taste, and then go from there.


So, sad to say, but that’s all for this week. If you have any questions, obviously don’t hesitate to comment or question. Google may be smart, but I’ve got all the information as well. Next week we will be finishing up black pepper EO and moving onto the next come September. However, there’s a reward in patience, and on the 31st there will be a myriad of information regarding black pepper EO and its positive effects on the Spleen! Till then, go on your merry and healthy way!

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

Essential Oil’s Organ of the Month (August): Black Pepper and the Spleen

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf

It’s the norm at this point in our journey to start with a question. This time around our time together will be short, but fulfilling nonetheless. Two weeks ago we broached the subject of essential oils, otherwise referred to as EOs. One week ago we discussed the EO of the month, black pepper, alongside new recipes and black pepper EO’s application into our daily lives. Today, Wednesday the 31st of August, the spleen and black pepper share a relationship (you might have already assumed this subject choice from the title). So, “Suzy,” you may ask, “what is the question that corresponds with this topic?” Well, keep reading!

Q1: What is the spleen and its function?

The spleen is the larges lymphatic organ in the human body. It acts as a filter for blood and contributes the immune system. Specifically speaking, the old red blood cells are recycled while platelets and white blood cells are stored in the spleen. The result is an organ that helps fight various bacteria. So cheers to the spleen, an organ, (like most others) that contributes to our overall daily functioning and wellbeing.

highlighted spleen

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Q2: Why does the spleen need love from our fellow essential oils?

Reality hits the spleen in the same way that reality hits most of us. Just like muscles need their nutrients to be torn and rebuilt after a gym visit, the spleen needs to be properly strengthened as well. Stress, chronic illness, and digestive issues are an outcome of various environmental and daily choices, but even more so, an outcome of a sad, worn-out spleen. Essential oils step in at this marker and help out our hard-working organs. However, in this case we will stick to the EO, black pepper, as the main EO contributing to the wellness of the spleen.

Q3: How does black pepper essential oil help the spleen?

So what exactly does our EO companion do – apologies – but rephrasing the question seems to be an eloquent segue from the previous Q and A. Well, black pepper EO stimulates and warms up the digestive system. This in turn helps keep the spleen functioning smoothly and becoming overtaxed. On a macro level, use stretching as an example. Stretching after a ten-minute warm up and post-workout makes the following that much better and prevents injury during that day’s workout. In the same way that stretching strengthens your muscles and its mobility through secondary assistance, black pepper EO strengthens the spleen. So make sure to make a note to include those few drops of EO in your tea or various dishes!


As I mentioned earlier, this week’s post is short and sweet. However, with the completion of this post comes another to look forward to. Be prepared because next week will be the beginning of a new topic. I would give it away, but where is the excitement in that? Till then, make those healthy choices, and keep finding ways to incorporate essential oils into your daily regimen!

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 ~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

Essential Oils Versus Dried Herbs

Flashback to last month and essential oils were a brand new concept (at least for those who have been following the blog religiously). To expand on essential oils and what they have to bring to the table – ahh, there’s a good metaphor – we will be covering the difference(s) between essential oils and dried herbs. So, in a sportsmanship-like manner, ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to start a competition between…

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…ESSENTIAL OILS VERSUS DIRED HERBS!

Essential oils are extremely concentrated with intense flavor. As a result they are 50 to 70 times more potent than fresh or dried herbs. In turn, less is more, and 1 to 2 drops followed by maybe a couple more will suffice. Dried herbs on the other hand, generally speaking, require at least ½ a teaspoon in a recipe. One teaspoon of essential oil would be approximately 76 drops, and ½ a teaspoon, well you can do the math! That’s pretty asinine. Here is an applicable example of these proportions:

  • 1 drop of peppermint oil = approximately 28 cups of tea.
  • Fresh peppermint leaves need a few leaves for on cup.
  • It takes 5 pounds of peppermint leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil (look back to previous posts for a closer look at this statement).

That being said, essential oils win out, and having a good set of them is just as convenient as having those dried herbs. Not to oversell, but essential oils (like their frequented counterparts) are an excellent choice for simmering, braising, and stewing.

Essential oils, fresh, and dried herbs all provide flavor and aroma to the maze of culinary creation. Yet, essential oils provide their own remedies in the same way that herbs are known to possess. Funny thing is that dried herbs lose up to 90% of their healing nutrients and only contain 3-5% of their essential oils after the drying process. Leaving us with these facts: essential oils contain virtually all of the plant’s healing nutrients, are 50-70 times more therapeutically potent than the herbs or plants they are derived from, and have a longer shelf life than dried herbs (no stale essential oils). Oh, and if you’re wondering what those healing nutrients are, they include, but are not limited to, oxygenating molecules, amino acid precursors, coenzyme A facts, trace minerals, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and hormones.

So again, essential oils is our winner!

Let’s quickly sum things up and let you avid readers on your way. Essential oils, unlike dried herbs, keep their intense flavor for years. Certain essential oils can be harmful in high dosages, but remember, you must consume a lot to feel or get sick. Essential oils can be used to flavor a variety of dishes and drinks leaving you satisfied with a hunger satiated. Essential oils like herbs can be the star player or the co-star.

Now that you know the difference, go forth my health minions (just kidding), go forth and cook some delicious food that you can brag about to your family, friends, or coworkers. Tune in next time to get the DL (down low) on this month’s pick of an essential oil. You know I can’t wait to give you all the details.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


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Essential Oil(s) of the Month (September): Basil and Lemongrass

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

There’s a surprise this blog post. I have decided to touch on my generous side and share two essential oils this month versus one due to the fact that I am bedridden with a broken ankle. You ask “why Suzy? Well, it is because I have learned that having two working ankles versus one is preferable. So, why not set the tone this month with a pair that sets the tone in your dishes? Are you ready to learn what that pair is? Promise I won’t keep the suspense any longer. Actually, you probably already figured out the pair from the title. So I will discontinue my ridiculous question fanatics. The two essential oils that this post will spend time on is basil and lemongrass EO. We will touch on four “categories” with each EO, and those categories include the following:

How does this essential oil help the body?

How do we apply this particular essential oil?

What vitamins and minerals do we find in this essential oil?

What recipes are there that include either essential oil?

So, let us start.


BASIL

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Basil helps the body through adrenal balance. In other words, it increases the body’s natural response to both physical and emotional stress. The result is a body that can cope better with various stresses. Basil can be applied with a few drops into salad dressings, sauces, soups, and oils. The vitamins and minerals it contains are vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium. Now, here’s a recipe for you to follow if you have not been hit with creative dishes while reading, Kale Power Salad.

  • Dino kale (1 bunch)
  • Brussels sprouts (8 oz)
  • Almond slices (1/4 cup)
  • Nutritional yeast (1 tbsp)
  • Chives, minced (1 bunch)
  • Red pepper flakes (1 pinch)
  • Fresh lemon juice (1/4 cup)
  • Dijon mustard (1 tbsp)
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Olive oil (1/3 cup)
  • Sea salt (1 tbsp)
  • Basil EO (~2 drops)
  • Black pepper EO (~2 drops)

Prep the vegetables by setting them aside. Remove the ribs from the kale leaves and slice them thinly. Trim and shred the Brussels sprouts, and toast the almond slices if desired. To create the dressing retrieve a large bowl. Add lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and the thus articulated EOs. Add in all the salad ingredients and toss them until everything is coated. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Note: Remember back to last month’s recipes. Do you remember? No, well, that is what I am here for! Start with one drop of oil, taste, and then go from there. You can always add, but you cannot take away.


LEMONGRASS

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Lemongrass helps with headaches, digestives problems, and inflammation caused by an under active thyroid. You can apply this particular EO with a few drops into your tea or salad dressing. As for the vitamins and minerals it contains, those are vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), foliate, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron. Okay, not to disappoint, but there is one last thing to cover, and that is a recipe for Cucumber Ribbons with Lemongrass Ginger Dressing. Other that that, and we are done for this week! So sad, I know. Read on fellow followers.

  • 4 Persian cucumbers
  • Sesame seeds (1 tsp)
  • Chives, minced (1 bunch)
  • Red pepper flakes, optional (1 pinch)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
  • Rice vinegar (2 tbsp)
  • Tamari or soy sauce (1 tbsp)
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • Ginger, minced (1 tbsp)
  • Coconut sugar (1 tsp)
  • Lemongrass EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper EO (~2 drops)

Set aside the vegetables and prep them by starting with a vegetable peeper or mandolin slice. Lengthwise, into ribbons, thinly cut the cucumbers. In a large bowl add the rice vinegar, tamari, garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, lemongrass EO, and the black pepper EO. Whisk in the oil until it is emulsified and add in all the salad ingredients. Toss until all is coated, and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Note: Start small with the drops of EO. So, in other words, one drop, mix and taste, two drops, mix and taste, three drops, mix and taste, and so on so forth.


That is it for this particular blog post! Next week we will spend time discussing how these two particular EOs assist the endocrine system. What this entails you will have to wait and see, but either way be sure to tune in to the prior and future posts! Until next week enjoy these recipes and continue exploring the magic behind essential oils in your food and day-to-day foodie tasks.

~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

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Essential Oil’s Organ of the Month (Pretend it is September): Lemongrass and the Thyroid

“You can’t eat [literature], that’s the problem,” he said. “I’ve tried, it’s very dry, and not at all nutritious.” ~ Kenneth Oppel

Apologies for the lapse in time and lack of presence on this blog. It’s been a couple weeks of chaos, but regardless, I am here now! To close up this past month I am going to spend time discussing the Endocrine System and its buddy the thyroid. There is going to be a lot of content this time around. So, if you find yourself getting lost along the way, take a break and cook yourself a little snack as a concentration tactic. Hopefully I won’t be boring you that much though! My goal is to make this an easy read as well as an informative one.

“What is the Endocrine System, and what does it have to do with EOs?” Good question fellow followers. The Endocrine System oversees the cell-to-cell communication using chemical signals that bind to receptor molecules. It includes all glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones. Goodness knows that we have enough of those traveling around at any given moment. Hormones move away from the glands in blood or tissue fluid, and they alert the metabolism to act in a certain manner by affecting only a particular group of target cells. Unlike their nerve impulse counterparts, hormones act over a relatively long versus short period of time. The organ within the Endocrine System we will be focusing on is the thyroid as mentioned (likely) a few too many times. However, this system includes the Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Parathyroid, Adrenals, Pancreas, Reproductive(s), and Thymus.

Turning our attention to the details of the thyroid we’ll start with its location, attributes, and function. The thyroid Gland is a vascular structure that consists of two large lobes connected by a broad isthmus. It is located just below the larynx on either side of the trachea as well as in front of it. A capsule of connective tissue covers the gland and is comprised of many secretory components known as follicles. The cavity within the follicles are lined with a single layer of cubical epithelial cells, filled with a viscous substance called colloid, and produce and secrete hormones that may be stored in the colloid or released into the blood by neighboring capillaries. These follicular cells of the thyroid synthesize two hormones: Thyroxine (T4) and Tri-iodothyronine (T3).

Thyroxine contains four atoms of iodine. It increases the rate of energy released from carbohydrates, the rate of protein synthesis, the breakdown and mobilization of lipids, and is stimulated from the anterior pituitary gland. Tri-iodothyronine includes three atoms of iodine. It is five times more potent and attributes to the same outcomes as Thyroxine. Both of these hormones help regulate the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. They are the major factors in determining how many calories the body must consume at rest in order to maintain life (Basal Metabolic Rate [BMR]). Simply put, without these two hormones normal growth and development wouldn’t occur; T4 and T3 are essential to the nervous system maturation.


BREAK TIME! Here’s some noteworthy facts to chew on: up to 80% of the iodine in the body is in the thyroid Gland, and the concentration of iodine is 25 times that of the blood stream.


Okay, that was a long enough break. Time to push forward! Another hormone associated with the thyroid Gland includes Calcitonin. Calcitonin is not often considered to be attributed to the thyroid, but regardless, it lowers blood calcium and phosphate ion concentrations by inhibiting the release of calcium and phosphate ions from the bones and increasing excretion of these ions through the kidney.

Now that we have wrapped up the separate hormones it is time to cover the Parathyroid (PTH). This particular attribute of the thyroid is located on the posterior surface of the gland. There are four Parathyroids in total and are associated with each of the thyroid’s lateral lobes. Each is covered by a capsule of connective tissue that gives it a yellowish-brown hue. These little suckers increase blood calcium concentration, decrease blood phosphate ion concentration, affects the bones, kidney, and intestine, are rich in mineral salts, inhibit the activity of osteoblasts, cause the kidneys to conserve blood calcium and excrete more phosphate ions in the urine, and stimulate calcium absorption from food to the intestine.

Alright, now that we have covered all of the specifics of the thyroid, its attributed hormones, and its actors it is time to segue into what can go wrong and how EOs can offer some help. I am sure that you all have heard (at least in some point in time)  the words Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, right? Well, if not, I am offering a quick lesson. If it isn’t quick I give you permission to seek out some cat videos on YouTube before you make your way back to this post.

Many thyroid disorders produce overactivity or underactivity of the glandular cells; Hyperthyroidism is over activity and Hypothyroidism is under activity. Hyperthyroidism produces an elevated metabolic rate, restlessness, overeating, protrusion of the eyes due to tissue swelling, and enlarged glands that may or may not result in a goiter (neck bulge). Hypothyroidism, through some knowledge of words, produces the opposite adverse effects. However there is another disorder and it is referred to as Hyperparathyroidism. This occurs in the event that a tumor in the parathyroid gland is present and increases PTH secretion. Osteoblast activity is simulated, and as bone tissue is reabsorbed, the bones soften, deform, and become more easily fractured. An excess of calcium and phosphate is released and are then deposited in abnormal places. To say the least, it is not a pleasant disorder. Kidney stones are not far out in the future if a person is diagnosed with this disorder. Regardless of the disorder, the thyroid is the master control for the metabolic function of every cell in the body. It has the power to disrupt every part of your body and produce serious changes in every aspect of your life including disease, mood, weight gain, and low energy.

I am sure I could keep going with obscure medical diagnoses related to the thyroid, but I would rather offer a holistic approach to prevent or assist in the event your glands are not functioning as smoothly as you would like them to. EOs, as a broader gesture, help keep the body in homeostasis and work towards restoring and maintaining balance. EOs are not a cure, but you would be surprised at how many bodily issues can be resolved with the use of high quality, pure essential oils. Due to the molecular composition of EOs they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Take note here of two topical EO protocols for an underactive thyroid:

Blend #1, Week #1:

  • Lemongrass (1 part)
  • Myrrh [or] Peppermint (1 part)
  • Carrier Oil (1 part)
  • Frankincense

Combine all in a 5 ml bottle. Apply topically over thyroid area, and add a few drops of Frankincense on top of the blend while applying. Massage three times daily, and feel free to target the big toe as well (it is a reflexology point for the thyroid).

Blend #2, Week #2:

  • Zen (1 part)
  • Geranium (1 part)
  • Carrier Oil (1 part)
  • Frankincense

Combine all in a 5 ml bottle. Apply topically over thyroid area, and before I repeat everything, do the same as indicated for Blend #1, Week #1.


Alright ladies and gentleman. That’s all she wrote! Not literally though, because I am going to continue wrapping this up in a neat little bow so that we all feel as if we have reached a conclusion to this past month of September. Either this same week or next Wednesday you can expect a grand October kickoff. We will be extending EOs to include Hydrosol. Which, before I continue on tangent and its following definition, tune in and expect an update sooner as opposed to later. Happy thoughts and cooking juju sent your various ways!
~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~

Essential Oils Versus Hydrosols

“Eating is more than a fix, it’s nature’s way to nourish cells — it’s a way to extend life. Don’t give a natural body unnatural food.” ~ Nancy S. Mure

As much as I would like to continue reviewing everything that I have said thus far, I can’t. I think it is safe to say we are far enough along where reiterating all previous content would be overwhelming and somewhat redundant. Alas, I know some of you are starting to join our jaunt through essential oils (EOs). Don’t worry! You will not be left to your own devices. Simply, if something becomes obscure, review previous blogs and hop back on the October train. I’m sure you’re wondering why these few statements have been warranted. Well, to answer your titillating questions I ask you to turn to the word H-Y-D-R-O-S-O-L. That’s right, hydrosol.

“What is hydrosol, or better yet, what is a hydrosol?”

Hydrosol is a form of distillation. It is the resulting collection of steam acquired during an EO’s cultivation. Hydrosols are more commonly regarded as herbal waters, hydrolate, essential water, or floral water. They have a tendency to be used in skin care products, medicine, and flavorings. Some examples are as follows: rose water, orange flower water, and witch hazel.

Despite the hydrosols’ growth in popularity amongst makeup fanatics and beauty blogs you can cook with hydrosol! They, like EOs, offer vibrant, healthy alternatives to a variety of spices that are placed throughout your kitchen. Hydrosols and EOs maintain similar properties in that they add flavor, depth, and profound cellular nutrition into your cooking. However, there are some differences between the two that should be noted. Hydrosols are 30-40% stronger than an infusion; an infusion is herbs infused into a carrier liquid. They are water soluble, and as a result, are easily absorbed and ingested. This allows hydrosols to be gentle on the body, but with a punch!

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NOTE: If you are allergic to the plant, you will be allergic to its corresponding hydrosol (just like EOs)! So, in other words, don’t dive headfirst into integrating a hydrofoil or EO into your cooking if you’re unsure as to your body’s (possible) negative reaction to the plant form.

Now that you know a little about hydrosols, let us investigate one in particular, rosemary. I will take the time to tell you about its benefits as well as how to get your own rosemary hydrosol! So, to answer the question, “What is so great about rosemary hydrosol Suzy?” Well, my devoted followers, rosemary acts as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, antiseptic, stress reliever, stimulator of the immune system, mood and energy booster, helper of circulation and digestion, and inhibitor of arthritis progression. On that last comment, rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, phytochemicals, that have be hypothesized to combat arthritic symptoms. Tangents aside, this particular hydrosol contains vitamins and minerals like foliate, vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Simply replace some of the water in your tea, soup, ice, or recipe of choice with rosemary hydrosol to receive its positive effects, vitamins, and minerals.

“But, Suzy, how am I supposed to make or get my hands on rosemary hydrosol to follow your wise words regarding holistic cooking?”

Again, another fantastic question! Here are the steps to making hydrosol at home:

* Credit for this step-by-step process goes to http://www.mamarosemary.com

Step #1, collect the materials, and Step #2, follow the correct methodology.

MATERIALS

  • Large pot
  • Glass lid
  • Small collecting container (i.e. glass bowl or measuring cup)
  • Heatproof stand (i.e. ramekin or other bowl)
  • Distilled or filtered water
  • Ice cubes
  • Plant material of choice (i.e. rosemary)
  • Storing bottle with lid or mister top

METHOD

  • Place the heatproof stand in the bottom of the large pot, and then place the collecting container on top of the stand.
  • Fill the bottom of the pot with plant material; the plant material should reach up to the smaller bowl.
  • Fill with water until the plant material is barely submerged.
  • Place glass lid upside down on top of the pot and fill with it with ice cubes.
  • Heat pot on medium to medium-low.
  • Bring the water and plant material to a simmer NOT a boil.
  • Let the collection begin – it will take about 20 minutes – and be patient.
  • Transfer your hydrosol to your storing bottle of choice.
  • DONE!

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That’s all I have for this week ladies and gentlemen. I know you were likely suspecting an EO of the month, but don’t fret, that’s for next week! Until then, try out hydrosols! If you have any questions either ask Google, or better yet, post a comment and I will be happy to respond.
~ Suzy Brown, Nutrition Practitioner & Personal Chef ~


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Essential Oil(s) of the Month (October): Ginger and Sweet Marjoram

“One thing [you] have to remember is consistency. You can’t make up for three years of eating poorly in just one workout.” – Apolo Ohno

It seems that this month of October is shaky, but alas, I am here now to push forward and share our essential oils of the month. Granted, we agreed to only cover one a month, but in order to satiate everyone after my absence this past week I elected for the following two: ginger and sweet marjoram. Don’t you worry though! We will spend time on each and discuss their benefits, application, and attributing vitamins and minerals by asking these few questions:

Q1: How does this essential oil help?

Q2: What are the applications of this essential oil?

Q3: Which vitamins and minerals can we find in this essential oil?

GINGER

A1: Ginger helps with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic antispasmodic, antiseptic, and builds the immune system up to keep cold and flu viruses at bay.

Note: Ginger is a great essential oil to assist with muscle aches, poor circulation, nausea (think back to ginger-ale), and digestive issues.

A2: You can put this essential oil into your daily diet by adding a few drops into teas, smoothies, savory cooking, massage oil, and hot compresses.

A3: Some vitamins and minerals found in this particular essential oil are magnesium, potassium, and choline.

SWEET MARJORAM

A1: Sweet marjoram also assists with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It acts, similarly to ginger, as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-viral, and immune booster through ascorbic acid properties.

Note: Sweet marjoram also helps with muscle aches, poor circulation, nausea, and digestive issues.

A2: Add a few drops of this essential oil into salad dressings, marinades, soups, and stews for daily application.

A3: Some vitamins and minerals found in sweet marjoram include vitamin-A, vitamin-C, vitamin-K, lutein, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron.


Now that you’ve got some information on these two similar, albeit, equally special essential oils, it is time for some recipes! Don’t get too excited over there! Also, heads up, I will be incorporating some of our previously discussed H-Y-D-R-O-S-O-L-S into one of these recipes. Also, last little note, remember, like always, start off with one drop of EO and then build up. You can always add, but you can’t subtract.

Ginger Carrots in Orange Hydrosol

Ingredients:

  • Carrots, sliced (1 lbs)
  • Orange hydrosol (1/2 cup)
  • Coconut sugar OR brown sugar (1 tsp)
  • Sea salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Parsley (1/2 tsp)
  • Olive Oil (1 touch)
  • Ginger EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper EO (~2 drops)

Method:

  • Peel and slice carrots on the bias.
  • Heat a large skillet with olive oil.
  • Toss in the carrots and sauté them until they start to caramelize.
  • Pour in the hydrosol and sugar, stir, and let the water evaporate.
  • Add in essential oils, salt, and parsley.
  • Season to taste.

Trumpet Mushroom “Scallops”

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (3 tbsps)
  • Trumpet mushrooms (10 oz)
  • Tamari OR coconut aminos (1 tbsp)
  • Parsley (1/2 tbsp)
  • Dry white wine (1/4 cup)
  • 1 Lemon, juice and zest
  • Garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • Sweet marjoram EO (~2 drops)
  • Black Pepper (~2 drops)

Method:

  • Cut the trumpet mushrooms’ stems 1-1.5” thick.
  • In a small glass dish mix 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of tamari together.
  • Dip both sides of “scallops” into the sauce and set them aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tbsps of olive oil to medium heat and pan sear scallops until they are golden brown on each side.
  • Remove and set aside.
  • Add wine to skillet and deglaze the pan.
  • Add lemon juice and zest, parsley, and garlic into the pan.
  • Add back the “scallops” with the EOs.
  • Toss to coat.
  • Adjust seasoning as needed (i.e. season to taste)

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Well, it’s safe to say that that is all for this week. Seeing as we’ve been behind a little bit, you can expect that the wrap-up of this month will be at the beginning of next. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask me directly. I hope that you have fun cooking away and finding more ways to add in a diverse set of EOs that we have previously discussed. Remember, cooking is creative work! Tune in next Wednesday to learn more about how these particular EOs work in conjunction with hydrosols to combat autoimmune disorders. Promise that it will be exciting (as it always is).

~ Suzy Brown, Personal Chef & Nutrition Consultant ~