Before I begin this article, I have a couple of personal statements to make. Thank you for all of your requests for me to come to your organizations and speak. I am flattered you ask. However, I rarely leave the farm anymore for anything other than going to the grocery or farmers market. I am not, by any means, a hermit, but I enjoy living with my animals and plants. My social life is limited by my choice these days. Your patronage is most appreciated and I thank you for reading these articles. I will be happy to answer any questions you have or read any comments from you via e-mail.
The cool weather holiday season is exciting for me because it gives me an opportunity to cool down and rest these old bones. The cold weather drives me indoors to experiment with cooking new things or out on the porch to boil crawfish and work on new grilling techniques for meats and vegetables. I enjoy cooking and eating good food.
Rarely, do I lend myself an opportunity to dine in a retail food establishment. In fact, the last time I ate lunch at a restaurant, I ordered a cheeseburger without a bun (gluten-free diet). The first attempt, the server brought the burger on a bun. He was confused when I sent it back. By the time I got it the second time, it was cold. On the third time the burger was served, the meat was overcooked from being warmed in the microwave and the presentation was what one might expect from a fast food retailer. These things do not happen when I prepare food for my friends and myself, and I don’t like to pay others for that kind of bad food and service.
That brings me to the fat factor. Exercise and eat right! If you have been doing the big ugly with HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) and you are feeling a little sluggish because you have put on a pound or two, then stop! Weight gain can cause depression and depression can cause weight gain…a vicious circle can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, suicide, etc. You have heard all of this before. You have seen it on TV. Perhaps the reason we don’t heed the warnings is because we know it is being told to us to sell a product or ideal. Too many of us are dependent on controllers to make decisions for us about our health, when we should take time to decide for ourselves what is best for us as individuals. We are all unique and, although there are studies and trends putting us in certain categories for health concerns, we should spend more time examining our own way of life to make it better.
If you eat good, nutritious food and exercise daily, then your body weight should regulate itself. If you have become obese (more than 10 pounds per 100 pounds of ideal body weight), perhaps you should consider a regimen of diet and exercise to right your body.
Herbal dietary supplements can also help in your quest for weight loss.
Dandelion greens on a salad, tortilla or sandwich can act as a mild laxative and aid in digestion. Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers like cayenne and jalapeño, improves digestion, metabolism and the overall burning of fat. Ginseng is known to stimulate metabolism and boost energy. Citrus fruits (vitamin C) acts as a mild laxative, diuretic and improves overall attitude (fights off depression). Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, has the ability to oxidize fat in the body and improves energy levels.
Depression remedies from herbs include magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) used to relieve anxiety and helps reduce insomnia brought on by stress. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is known to influence the production of neurotransmitters affecting the chemical makeup of factors causing anxiety. Lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo biloba and passion flower are others on the list of alternative medicine treatments for depression. Check with your professional herbalist or alternative medicine specialist to find out if these are right for you.
Herbs I use to lower my blood pressure include garlic (and lots of it) because it improves blood circulation and aids in reducing the bad cholesterol. It also strengthens the heart muscle and has antibacterial properties. Ginkgo biloba, again, helps dilate the arteries and improve blood flow and circulation. Turmeric has antioxidant properties helping improve blood flow, strengthens arteries and aids in liver metabolism. Ginger relaxes the muscles around the blood vessels. It aids in easing digestion and, as a tea, for anti-anxiety and sleep aid.
The bottom line here is bad diets with bad foods are linked to depression, obesity and hypertension. Hypertension and obesity can lead to depression. Depression can lead to…. You know the drill.
Start your day with a glass or two of pure, unflavored water. It is nature’s transportation medium for removal of toxins from your body.
If you are concerned about holiday depression, turn off the radio and TV, and stay away from negative-minded people. Spend time with friends and relatives. It is a documented fact most suicides occur outside of holidays because people tend to put aside their frustrations when they are socializing on holidays.
Eat responsibly, exercise regularly and be happy!
Thanks for reading!
Be sure to find me on Facebook at: "Herb Farmer-The Herb Farm."
As always, check with an expert, like your doctor, before using any herbal remedy.