Ghee Milk

Ghee is the Sanskrit word for clarified butter. In a process using heat to separate out the solids, butter is further purified into ghee. This nutty and butter-like substance is great for cooking as it aids digestion, often used in natural medicine to treat constipation and ulcers. A good vegan substitute for ghee is organic coconut oil.

Ghee Milk may sound like a strange idea, but it can work wonders in treating insomnia. Next time you’re struggling to fall asleep, make a glass of Ghee Milk and sip it an hour before heading off to bed.

In a glass of organic rice, coconut, hemp or almond milk:

Add 1 tsp organic Ghee or organic coconut oil
Add ¼ tsp each of coriander, cumin, and cardamom.
(These can be purchased in most health food stores, or Indian spice shops.)

Simmer until warm and drink before bed.

It’s delicious! Enjoy.

Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

With cold weather knocking at our doors, we tend to turn to comfort foods to please both palate and soul. Made with love, care, and life-affirming intentions, a good soup is an instant heart-warmer.

This Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms is sure to be filling for both body and spirit. The parsnips, a naturally sweet root vegetable, bring a unique sweetness to the recipe, while the mushrooms provide an earthy, grounding taste that helps us remain centered as the leaves fall and the wind swirls. Mushrooms contain powerful healing properties that boost our immune systems as the cold weather sets in.

Roasted Parsnip and Garlic Soup with Mushrooms

Old or large parsnips can have a hard core, particularly near the top. If you find that your parsnips are overly woody, cut out and discard the hardest part.

Serves: 4
Prep time: approximately 10 minutes
Cook time: approximately 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 head garlic
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 rib celery (including leaves), chopped
4 to 5 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper or to taste (white pepper adds spiciness)
1/2 cup great northern beans
6-8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 scallion, white bulb removed and sliced into thin pieces
salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the parsnip cubes in a baking pan. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, just enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place it on a square of parchment paper, spritz it quickly with a half-second spray of olive oil (optional), and wrap it up. (this prevents the garlic from drying out in the heat of the oven.) Place the parchment paper package in the baking pan with the parsnips and put it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over the parsnips, and cook for 10-15 more minutes until parsnips are tender and just touched with brown. Remove from oven and allow the garlic to cool in its wrapper.
  2. Heat a non-aluminum saucepan and cook the onion at low heat until it’s translucent. Add the celery and cook for a couple minutes more. Add 3 cups of the broth, the parsnips, and the pepper. Squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, until parsnips have softened. Add the beans.
  3. Puree the soup in one of two ways: (1) place it into a blender in one or two batches, being careful not to fill more than half full and adding more broth if necessary, or (2) use a stick blender and carefully blend right in the pan. The smoother you get it, the better, so a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender is great here. Return the pureed soup to the pan and warm over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add more broth until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep it covered because it will “erupt” from time to time.
  4. Cook the sliced mushrooms in a small skillet until they soften and release their juices. Season them with salt (optional) and add the green onion. Stir most of them into the soup, setting some nice-looking ones aside to use as a garnish. Season with salt and white pepper to taste (careful with the white pepper if you don’t like things spicy!)

Variation:

For a cream of mushroom-type soup, add the mushrooms with the celery and cook until softened. Blend with the other vegetables as directed.

Remember, eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout the year will help you continue to live a vibrant, beautiful life.

Glutathione Recycling for Auto-Immune Disease

August 18th, 2011 | Author: Dr. Datis Kharrazian

During the past couple of years I continued my investigations into taming autoimmune disease and addressing the mechanisms that underlie it (and will always continue to do so). I found some approaches that looked promising and began experimenting with them with my patients, as well as recruiting other practitioners I know to work with the same principles. I came across a few discoveries that have produced profound results. One is the concept of glutathione recycling.

Glutathione and stress

In the thyroid book I introduced glutathione, our body’s most powerful antioxidant, and how integral it is to modulating the immune system. Ideally the body makes sufficient glutathione to help keep everything running smoothly, however it becomes depleted in the face of extreme or chronic stress.

Modern life bombards us with stressors, the most common being ongoing insulin surges from sugary, high-carb diets, immune aggravation from food intolerances, chronic gut infections (too much bad bacteria or parasites), hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, and of course our hectic, information-overloaded lifestyles.

Many people suffer from all of the above on a daily basis and also may smoke, drink too much, or even overtrain athletically, compounding an already precarious situation. Of course autoimmune disease itself is a significant stressor, further depleting the body’s precious supply of glutathione.

In fact, I might go so far as to say it is difficult for the body to produce an autoimmune attack if the glutathione system is functioning properly.

Boosting glutathione levels though a liposomal cream or intravenously—as glutathione taken orally is ineffective—is a key strategy in combating the damage of stress. However these levels can be quickly depleted if the body cannot recycle glutathione to keep the supply on hand to meet the many stressors.

Glutathione’s job is to take the bullet

Before I can explain how glutathione recycling works, I first need to explain more about how specifically glutathione protects us. Glutathione is like the bodyguard or Secret Service agent whose loyalty is so deep that she will jump in front of a bullet to save the life of the one she protects. When there is enough of the proper form of glutathione in the body to “take the bullet”, no inflammatory response occurs. However when glutathione becomes depleted it triggers a destructive inflammatory process.

Glutathione recycling explained

Glutathione recycling is a separate function from just boosting glutathione levels through a liposomal cream, intravenously, a nebulizer, a suppository, or other means. These forms of glutathione delivery will help one’s antioxidant status but they do not raise levels of glutathione inside the cells. Glutathione is the main antioxidant for mitochondria, the little factories inside each cell that convert nutrients into energy. Some cells have more mitochondria than others depending on the cell’s function. This is important because an autoimmune disease destroys the mitochondria in the affected cells, thus causing tissue destruction, and glutathione protects these mitochondria.

Reduced glutathione versus oxidized glutathione

But not just any form of glutathione does this—it needs to be reduced glutathione. There are two main forms of glutathione in the body: reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG).

Reduced glutathione, or GSH, is the bodyguard who “takes the hit” from free radicals that damage cells. Free radicals are molecules that are unstable because they have unpaired electrons and are looking for another electron to steal in order to become stable They steal electrons from the mitochondria, thus destroying them and causing inflammation and degeneration.

However when there’s plenty of GSH in the cell, the GSH sacrifice themselves to the free radicals—throwing themselves in front of the bullet—in order to protect the mitochondria. Thus the GSH ends up with an unpaired electron and becomes unstable, at which point it becomes GSSG, or oxidized glutathione, which is technically a free radical itself.

Doesn’t this make GSSG dangerous to the cell then? When there is sufficient glutathione in the cell, the unstable GSSG naturally pairs with available glutathione in the cell with the help of an enzyme called glutathione reductase, returning back to its reduced glutathione state so it’s ready for action once again.

The key thing to remember is that two enzymes play important roles in these processes:

  • Glutathione peroxidase triggers the reaction of GSH to GSSG, which is when glutathione “takes the hit” to spare the cell
  • Glutathione reductase triggers the conversion of GSSG back to useable GSH.

These enzymes come into consideration when we look at how to support the glutathione system nutritionally.

The link between poor glutathione recycling and autoimmune disease

Studies show a direct correlation between a breakdown in the glutathione system and autoimmune disease. The ability to constantly take oxidized glutathione and recycle it back to reduced glutathione is critical for managing autoimmunity.

Fortunately studies also show various botanicals, nutritional compounds, and their cofactors have been shown to activate glutathione reductase and the synthesis of reduced glutathione. By boosting this enzyme and supplementing glutathione levels we can increase glutathione levels and glutathione recycling to quench inflammation once it starts, or, even better, to prevent inflammation in the first place.

Studies have also shown that efficient glutathione recycling helps boost the TH-3 system, the branch of the immune system that helps balance the TH-1 and TH-2 systems and prevent autoimmune reactivity. (I explain TH-1 and TH-2 systems of immunity in my book.) Proper glutathione activity not only helps protect cells, research shows it also modulates cell proliferation and immunity, and helps tissues recover from damage.

Glutathione recycling helps repair leaky gut

Good glutathione recycling helps tame autoimmune diseases in another way. One thing I have found universal in all my autoimmune patients is poor gut integrity. They all suffer from some degree of leaky gut and repairing the gut is vital to the recovery process. Studies show glutathione may play an important role in gut barrier function and the prevention of intestinal inflammation.

A compromised glutathione recycling system can worsen intestinal destruction—the person with multiple food sensitivities and a gut that never heals may be victim of this mechanism. Although repairing a leaky gut is vital to taming an autoimmune response, we can see now glutathione recycling is another vital piece to the puzzle of restoring gut health.

Nadi Sodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

This simple yoga breathing exercise can be done virtually anywhere, anyplace.  Yogis believe that this exercise will clean and rejuvenate your vital channels of energy, thus the name nadi sodhana (purification of nadis, or channels).

With this exercise, we breathe through only one nostril at a time. The logic behind this exercise is that normal breathing should alternate from one nostril to the other at various times during the day. In a healthy person the breath will alternate between nostrils about every two hours. Because most of us are not in optimum health, this time period varies considerably between people and further reduces our vitality. According to the yogis, when the breath continues to flow in one nostril for more than two hours, as it does with most of us, it will have an adverse effect on our health. If the right nostril is involved, the result can be mental and nervous disturbance. If the left nostril is involved, the result can be chronic fatigue and reduced brain function.

Benefits:

  1. The exercise helps to produce optimum function to both sides of the brain: that is optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity. This creates a more balanced person, since both halves of the brain are functioning properly.
  2. The yogis consider this to be the best technique to increase focus and to calm the mind and the nervous system.

How to do it:

In right hand, place the pointer finger and middle finger at base of thumb.  Keep ring finger and pinky together.  Your fingers in this position will almost form a “C”

  1. Place thumb over right nostril and press so that right nostril is closed.
  2. Breathe in easily through open left nostril for a count of four.  Then gently pinch both nostrils closed and hold breath for a count of 16.
  3. Remove pressure off of right nostril and breathe out easily for a count of eight, then breathe in for a count of four.
  4. Then gently pinch both nostrils closed and hold breath for a count of 16.
  5. Switch back to previous position with thumb over right nostril.  Breathe out of your left nostril for a count of eight.  You are now back where you started.
  6. Repeat whole process three more times.

This practice can be done one to two times a day, mornings upon rising and evenings before bed are best.