Healthy. Happy. These are the words through which I reflect decisions. Will it support healthiness? Will it support happiness?
For our family our Healthy Happy approach is based on whole foods and sustainable, ethical living. We endeavor to eat non-processed, whole-food, plant-based foods. We use products on our bodies that are made from herbs and oils, without synthetics, and without chemicals we can’t pronounce. Many of our products could just as easily be eaten as put on our hair or skin. We try to source our clothes from companies that use renewable and recyclable raw materials, fair trade practices, transparent supply chains, socially responsible programs. Our books come from a variety of locations including used book stores, local booksellers, and directly from the authors. Healthy Happy is a lens that works for us.
Every decision and action we make every day impacts our ability to live a simple, healthy, happy, life. Everything from our response to stress, to our morning beverage, to whether we choose to drink our water plain or with lemon in it. All of these little decisions impact our bodies and our minds. We strive to be intentional about our decisions and actions so that we are able to live a long, active, and fulfilling life while being responsible to our Earth and all of its inhabitants.
Culinary herbalism is the backbone of our wellness approach. Feeding the body in such as way as to maximize its ability to resist and recover. Often the family is unaware that the purpose of the herbs goes beyond making the food taste great.
Take Saturday morning breakfast potatoes, for example. Homemade season salt is generously sprinkled on top. Our season salt contains:
- garlic powder (an immunostimulant, expectorant, antimicrobial that provides excellent support during the first stages of a cold or the flu)
- black pepper (wards off and supports management of colds and the flu; powerful circulation enhancer; diaphoretic)
- onion powder (supports management of colds, coughs, bronchitis, asthma, and fever)
- cayenne (an analgesic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic)
- celery salt (a warming blend of celery seeds and sea salt)
- paprika (stimulates circulation and supports digestion and absorption)
An extra sprinkle of thyme on them gives them an extra boost. Thyme is a go-to herb for breathing difficulties, supports resolution of colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections, and opens the sinuses, helping to clear congestion. The potatoes taste great and help our bodies stay strong at the same time. No one is the wiser except me. (For more information on herbal properties visit The Herbarium at https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/).
I mentioned garlic above. Let’s talk about garlic for a bit. It is so powerful for maintaining wellness. It is foundational to so many recipes in our family: Fire Tonic, Garlic Honey, Garlic Ghee, Garlic Infused Oil, Garlic Vinegar, Stir Fry, Soups. Herbal traditions tell us that garlic is aromatic, pungent, spicy, heating, moistening (when fresh), and oily (when fresh). I feel the energetics of garlic as soon as I bite into it. There are studies that suggest that anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties in garlic may help to prevent or diminish the onset of colds and flu. (See: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11697022/ to read the research.) Sometimes we just figure out what works for us based on our constitution and our intuition.
My grandmother had been a widow for 30 years when, at the age of 71, she eloped with Manny, 79 years old, born in Palermo, Italy in 1896. Manny lived to be 84 years old. I met him twice – once in 1977 and then again in 1980 when my grandmother passed away. I was fascinated by him. He was from Italy and was born in the 19th century. That alone was fascinating for me! Manny was the only person I knew born in the 1800’s. On top of that he said he was a count and had a castle back in the home country. He was fascinating to 11-year old me. I would watch him and strive to understand how he approached his days. Every morning he consumed one garlic clove and one raw egg. He insisted it was why he was so healthy. All I knew was that the first time I saw him slurp down that egg and chew that garlic, my response was “Gross!”
I realized many years later that Manny was onto something. I am sure it was part of his ancestral knowledge and I regret never speaking with him more about it. I am certain he had so much more to share with me. What I learned for myself is that at the first sign of a stuffy nose or sore throat, I spread a teaspoon of garlic honey on toast, eat it, and it is not long before I am feeling better. The sniffles and scratchy throat ease and then cease after several days. For me it works.
This is my garlic honey recipe:
6 garlic cloves
3 ounces local raw honey
Finely chop the garlic. Add honey to garlic and mix. Store in clean, dry glass jar for up to three months. Enjoy!
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