#53 Spice up Your Life to Support Your Health

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In this show we'll celebrate National Happiness Happens month with a little insight and a quick tip on choosing and creating happiness in your life regardless of the circumstances around you.

Then we'll dig in to some cool information on the medicinal power of some common kitchen spices.

Over the decades, we've sadly lost touch with the knowledge that our grandparents and great grandparents had about home remedies, the healing power of plants and grass roots health care.

But, this show takes you back to learn about the health benefits of two common, easy to use, and tasty spices that you probably have at home right now and didn't even know how much they could support your digestion and overall well being.

If you're not someone who likes to cook, no worries, you'll get some tips on how to include these healing spices into your diet with no flames or clean up involved.


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database

Arthritis Foundation on Turmeric


Read Full Transcript Below:

Hello and welcome thanks for listening

Today we’re going to jump into one of my favorite topics, herbal medicine. And we’re going to look in depth at a couple of spices that you probably have in your kitchen right now yet you may think they’re just there to flavor your food. 

This is one of the things I love the most about medicinal plants.  They seem so run of the mill when they’re actually powerful medicine that can easily be used on a regular basis to support your health by simply incorporating them into your cooking.

For me personally, it’s tough to stick to a regime of taking supplements. 

For a long time I was not a fan of supplements because I was an advocate of getting everything you need from your food. 

But the more I worked with people to create ayurveda based lifestyle programs, or worked with pt clients to try to support them with nutrition, the more I realized that getting everything you need from your food was not realistic for most people.

 Then I went through cancer treatment and that literally changed everything. So, as I age, deal with menopause and manage the long term effects of cancer treatment I have become more and more an advocate of herbal and vitamin supplementation...because I feel the difference it makes and I see the difference in my blood work.

Yet, Even something as simple as remembering my multivitamin and my vitamin d, let alone the periods of time when I’ve been working with different naturopaths who had me taking 9-11 different supplements, multiple times a day.

I really had to work to figure out a system to make that happen. Let alone keep coming up with the money to finance that kind of a wellness plan.

But, if you get in the habit of using lots of spices when you cook, then you’re benefiting from the antioxidant, anti inflammatory and healing properties of these plant medicines while you’re enjoying your food, not breaking the bank and you’re teaching your family to do the same.

Now, you might be thinking,...ahhh cooking, no thanks, just tell me where I can buy the supplements, so I'll do that later too 

Before I get to deep into this I want to share a little inspiration with you. I for some strange reason am fascinated by the national months and days and weeks, and the month of August is National Happiness happens month.

I’m really not sure of the process one has to go through to earn the recognition of a national month, but the Secret Society of Happy People...a real group, no joke. Figured it out and had the month of august dedicated to the pursuit of happiness.

Now I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice. But developing the ability to choose happiness even when there’s a lot of not so great things going on with you takes some work...but it can definitely be done.

So in honor of this national month and in honor of happiness, i want to share this quote with you from Nationaldaycalendar.com

“Everything can be taken from a (person) but one thing: the last of human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”   ~Victor Frankl

I love this and I truly with all my heart believe it. For me, this power to choose is the foundation of everything you do in life ...once you choose to own that power to really believe that it’s within your grasp, things start to change. That’s because, you begin to hold yourself accountable. Once you believe that you have the power to choose and then you catch yourself in a funk you have to call yourself out on what you’re doing, or not doing to get yourself out of the funk.

I caught myself in a moment like this earlier in the week. I was letting a bunch of little things get to me, like errands that I need to catch up on, a huge project that I want to be spending more time on to move forward with faster, a husband who’s been in a mood, and a mom who just can’t help but judge...anyone feeling me on those last two especially.

So I caught myself feeling angry,,, you know frustrated like ugh! And when I noticed that I thought, ok come on girl work backwards here. What’s the goal every day... be happy.  Its moments like that that I ask myself what the heck I'm doing getting caught up in other people’s moods or thinking I should take on more than I actually can, and then I just have to stop for a minute.  I have to remember how I want to live and that I don’t want to choose to be a victim of other people's bad behavior...and I don’t have to be. You don’t have to be.

That’s the underlying message of last week’s show about how you show up to create the life you want and it's the foundation of my REVIVIFY program. Every lesson and action sheet in that program is designed to empower you to make choices that will lead you to a happy life.

It may or may not be a pain free life, or a 1% body fat life or an energizer bunny life but none of those things are necessary to choose happiness.

So I want to encourage you to take the rest of this month and set an intention to look for the joy in every day of your life and if you can’t find any joy...create some.

When I was studying Yoga philosophy and Ayurveda, my teacher would say, the best thing you can do for yourself when you’re feeling down is to do something of service for someone else. That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? When you give to someone else, it makes you feel good to see their surprise or their happiness. 

So if you need to create happiness in your life do something nice for

 someone else.

And when you do it, come on over to my Facebook page and tell me about it or DM me. You’ll spread the happiness even farther.

Ok, now let’s dive in to 3 common and easy to find spices that have been shown to have a lot of health benefits and I’ll also give you some suggestions on how to easily incorporate them into your diet.

The first one, which I use in my home all the time for cooking, but also as a go to gargle  whenever someone in the family has a sore throat because of its antibacterial effects..this spice is turmeric. 

The scientific name or Turmeric is curcuma longa. It’s a flowering plant that’s a part of the ginger family and the root of this plant is what is used as a spice for cooking and for medicinal purposes. The active and sought after ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. This is the plant chemical that ives turmeric  its beautiful golden color like you see in curry powder

It’s also the constituent in the plant that is the most studied and has been found to have some pretty remarkable actions to support human health.

Including reducing symptoms of depression, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing non alcoholic fatty liver disease and when taken orally or used in an enema, tumeric has been shown to support the remission and healing of ulcerative colitis.


In Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, turmeric has been used for centuries as a powerful anti inflammatory among a long list of other beneficial properties.

The arthritis foundation on their website, arthritis.org  has a section on herbs and supplements and on the page devoted to turmeric, they list results from studies that have found turmeric and turmeric or curcumin based supplements to be effective at:

providing long-term improvement in pain and function in ...patients with knee OA. 

Reducing joint pain and swelling more effectively than diclofenac, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in patients with active RA

Turmeric was also found to  prevent joint inflammation- but in the case of arthritis, turmeric was more effective at preventing then it was at relieving pain. So you want to be using it regularly to support good health and not turn to it expecting aspirin like relief when you’re in pain.

An important thing to remember when you read about a supplement that has been studied and you want to try it to see if you can get the same benefits that were found in the study, you want to be sure to seek out the brand that was used in the clinical trial. 

That’s because that particular brand has to be standardized, meaning it contains a specific amount of the active ingredient that’s  being studied. It may also have other ingredients that increase the absorption or effectiveness of that active ingredient or it may be prepared in a certain way like including the essential oil of the plant or dried and powdered through a specific method. 

So you may not get the same results choosing a similar brand.

I will post links to the studied supplements in the show notes ...so that you can look into them and discuss them with your Doctor

Even though turmeric is commonly used it foods, it may interact with medications you’re taking just like dark green leafy veggies should be avoided by people on certain blood thinners...its always best to check with your Doctor for safety before taking something in the supplement form as that’s generally going to be more potent than just using it as an ingredient in cooking.

The natural medicines comprehensive database is an excellent resource for checking out supplements and herbs. They base their findings on evidence based research and then rate products on their safety and effectiveness.

There have also been promising studies that show turmeric may be helpful in suppressing tumor growth by blocking some pathways that prevent tumor cells from dying  which makes it easier for cancer to grow and spread. The evidence isn’t concrete in this area but it is definitely promising. 

In ayurveda, turmeric is known to be beneficial to all tissues of the body. It’s especially valued as a natural antibiotic, for improving digestion and gut health. 

Turmeric can be used in so many ways beyond an ingredient in curries, you can bend it into the water or broth that you cook your rice, grains or lentils and other legumes in, one of my favorite recipes is rice cooked with coconut milk, slivered keffir lime leaves and a couple teaspoons of turmeric. 

You can add turmeric to rubs for seasoning meat or any other spice blends that you use in cooking. 

When cooking with turmeric, blending the spice with black pepper has been shown to increase the absorption of the curcuminoids in turmeric because of Piperine, an active compound in black pepper which is also an anti inflammatory.
Now if you’re not a fan of cooking or you just don’t like the flavor of turmeric, you can find both turmeric and curcumin in supplement form in most places where you buy supplements.

Another lovely spice that i think is under recognized and underutilized is cardamom. In addition to using this spice in cooking both sweet and savory dishes, it is one of my favorite essential oils. I love mixing cardamom, sweet orange and a drop or two of palo santo in my diffuser every morning.
Not only is orange a mood enhancer but cardamom is also used to relieve anxiety. In ayurveda, cardamom  is said to give clarity and joy and when you inhale its’ beautiful scent you’ll understand why.

The cardamom seeds are where the powder and the oil is extracted from. The flavor of cardamom is sweet but also a little spicy and warming which lends to its versatility in cooking both sweet and savory dishes.

Cardamom is a strong digestive stimulant and studies have found it to be effective at reducing oral bacteria and supporting oral health.
Cardamom has also been shown to protect against certain types of stomach ulcers, to reduce inflammation, and in animal and test tube studies, cardamom has been shown to have cancer fighting properties.

Cardamom powder has also been shown to be effective at reducing blood pressure in people with stage one hypertension.

The great thing about cardamom is that it’s easy to work into your daily dietary habits. You can sprinkle it into your coffee grounds when you brew your morning coffee, adding cinnamon along with it is also delicious and antioxidant. 

You can warm milk and infuse cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon into it for a calming and health promoting evening beverage. This includes nut milks if you prefer non dairy drinks.
Cardamom is a delicious addition to baked goods and as a part of spice blends when cooking with beans to help reduce gas and stomach upset.

I’ll post a link to my favorite supplier for high quality, organic herbs and spices in the show notes for this episode. But if you listen to this show regularly you know that’s banyan botanicals, and you’ll be able to find any of the spices from this episode on their website.

It’s also well known in the fields of complementary medicine that when you blend herbs and spices you create a synergy that increases their effectiveness. That's one of the things I like about banyan botanicals, they have some amazing blends that contain both of these spices and lots more great stuff.

Now if you’re working on a personalized herbal program with a trained practitioner, they’ll sometimes have you take large quantities of herbal medicines, and there’s nothing working with that if you’re working with someone who know s what they’re doing and there's a strategy behind large consumption of herbs or spices. 

But for the purpose of this show, I want to encourage you to increase the consumption of these antioxidants, anti inflammatory substances in your food, in your drinks and just broaden your horizons when it comes to what you put in your food to support your health.

Try to consume more spices on a regular...not necessarily every day but experiment with them and get them into your foods in new ways like sprinkling them on your afternoon salad or your morning eggs. I remember when I remember the first time I actually seasoned my salad, like actually using salt and sprinkles of spices and then I thought why the heck haven’t i always done this?? It's delicious, easy and good for me. So try something new, you might be surprised at how much you like it.

One last thing before I go today...have you subscribed to the bcrc podcast? Have you left an honest review? If yes thank you!!! If not, and you’re a fan of the show, please take a moment now to subscribe and leave a review. It means so much to me and it really helps the show.

Also if you’re struggling to live the life you want after bc...if you're…

Then go to my website LL.com and check out my online course REVIVIVFY. In this easy to follow course you’ll get tom=ns of support in releasing what’s keeping you stuck, holding you back..in R And r 

If its time to move from surviving to thriving, this course is a must for you

Studies: Several recent studies show that turmeric/curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and A 2010 clinical trial found that a turmeric supplement called Meriva (standardized to 75 percent curcumin combined with phosphatidylcholine) In a small 2012 pilot study, a curcumin product called BCM-95 


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