The importance of herbs and spices
Herbs and spices can not only bring up any dish with wonderful aromas and colors, but they contain a host of health benefits. That is the very reason why they have been used for centuries in food and medicine. Chinese herbal medicine is a prime example of how herbs and spices can be used in a very powerful way to help alleviate and cure various ailments. The spice trade highlights what important merchandise spices were between continents in the past centuries. I am not going to list the array of health benefits you get from consuming herbs and spices as they are so numerous beyond the primary fact that most have strong antioxidant properties – suffice to say that herbs and spices are not to be bypassed.
Basic herbs and spices
Here’s a short list (as mentioned in the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation) of basic herbs and spices that can easily be used in any meal you prepare:
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili pepper
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Mustard seeds
I would like to add to this list horseradish powder, leek powder, and sea vegetable powder which I like to sprinkle on most of my meals. When buying herbs and spices, you want to make sure they are well-sourced, that is, organic (and mold-free). Growing your own herbs is a plus and helps to guarantee that your herbs and spices won’t be tampered with!
You want to avoid the conventionally processed table salt as it has fillers, anticaking agents, and very few nutrients. One more good reason to give up processed foods as this traditional salt abounds in them. Sea salt is what to pick. I like to use Celtic sea salt. Himalayan sea salt is another great option.
A word about garlic
Garlic, an allium, was a favorite of hunter-gatherers. American Indian tribes used wild alliums “to treat infected wounds, restore appetites, boost energy, repel scorpions, soothe bee stings, relieve colic and croup, lower fevers, and as a general tonic for colds, sore throat, and earaches,” as explained by Jo Robinson in Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health. Some of garlic’s benefits can be destroyed by heat, so if you are going to cook with garlic, Robinson explains that after chopping or slicing the garlic, you want to let it sit for ten minutes before incorporating it to your recipe. That way, a specific chemical reaction needed to obtain garlic’s healing attributes has the time to occur before exposing the garlic to heat. Nice tip!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Asprey, Dave. The Bulletproof Diet : Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, and Upgrade Your Life. New York, Rodale Books, 2014, p. 210
Robinson, Jo, and Andie Styner. Eating on the Wild Side: the Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York Little, Brown, 2013, pp. 47–8, 51.
Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 233–34.
The Primal Blueprint : 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2016, pp. 121-22.
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