I was first introduced to apple cider vinegar by my uncle Charlie. He and my aunt were true pioneers, moving out in the middle of nowhere and building their own house where there was no water. We went to see them last year before leaving Arizona to move to North Carolina. Over 80 years old and still cutting trees, building on his house, and as tough as nails, he is as healthy as ever. I asked him: "What's your secret uncle Charlie?" He simply answered: "Just keep eating."
There was something else he had done his whole life too though. One morning several years ago, I saw him take out a bottle full of a yellow liquid with floating stuff in it. He said it was his daily chug and that it was called "Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother". I had never heard of it, but it sounded disgusting. And why would anyone want to drink something that still had it's "mother" in it! I envisioned bugs. Knowing how healthy and strong he was though, even in his old age, I figured he must be doing something right! I wanted to know more.
Turns out it's some powerful stuff that's been used for centuries! Vinegar from fermented apple juice, ACV is apple juice that has gone through two fermentation processes: the first converted it to alcohol, and the second converted the alcohol to acid.
Turns out there are historical records around the world that show vinegar has existed for at least around 5000 BC! And probably for long before records were kept. I guess people even drank it in Bible times and that's why the soldiers offered it to Jesus while on the cross. Hippocrates, who's called the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar for several of illnesses and soldiers have used it throughout history to clean wounds and give energy. There's an interesting story of four convicts the French released in 1721 during the Bubonic Plague to help bury the dead. The legend says they managed to survive by drinking daily large amounts of vinegar infused with garlic. As a result, vinegar steeped in garlic is still sold today as "four thieves vinegar".
Apple Cider Vinegar even helped me once, after the ER informed me I had three kidney stones. I started drinking Apple Cider Vinegar several times a day and they dissapeared!
As I started looking into it more, tt's healing properties and nutritional value seemed endless. This potent liquid is full of vitamins A, E, C, B thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta carotene, lycopene, minerals, amino acids, pectin, phosphorus, potassium sodium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Research each one of those wonders and their nutritional value will floor you. Together, they strengthen muscles, improve transmission of nerves, heal heart activity, heal bones, prevent hair loss, heal gout, help with hot flashes, night sweats, blood sugar issues, warts, and acid reflex. Apple Cider Vinegar is antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial, alkalizing, lowers bad cholesterol, regulates blood pressure, improves bowel function, clarifies skin, and is an amazing detox tool. Latest research is showing it is even effective in killing cancer cells.
My favorite part of it, though, is that acetic acid, the main component of apple cider vinegar, suppresses body fat accumulation, breaks down fats, and increases body's metabolic rate, leading to weight loss. Yes! Weight loss! Bring on the cider I say!
It's also is a powerful cleaner of your coffee maker, washing machine, iron, drains, or windows, and lots of people even use it to heal intestinal issues in their pets,.. but let's not get carried away.
Instead, I'll just leave you with a couple of fun drink recipes to try. These will also help you if you are trying to stay away from other drinks that are bad for you (for example: sodas).
This one is called Good Girl Moonshine, and I got it from Trim Healthy Mama:
My daughter prefers the following blend:
Let me know what you think if you try the drinks, or if you come up with your own fun blend!
My husband hates the name. He thinks they need to rebrand. My daughter doesn't like it either. She loves doing the exercises and uses the recipes more than I do, but everything talks about "mamas". Thankfully she has understood that it's about eating healthy, not about being a mom. So she puts up with it.
Nevertheless, let me tell you about Trim Healthy Mama (THM). It's a food movement that started from a book written by two Australian sisters, Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. After long journeys of trying every fad diet in the world, they began searching for a solution and ended up landing on something that has revolutionized the world.
I don't get to share about it as much as I'd like to, because people usually think I'm selling something. Maybe I sound too exited? Sadly, we are surrounded by a culture that usually only gets excited to share a product when it involves money. A few months ago, I put a question out on our neighborhood page, asking if anyone wanted to do this THM "diet" with me. I was new to the area, had no friends, and ... well, it's just more fun to do this with others. Plus, I need the accountability. Well, I should have known better. Some nit picky guy "confronted" me that I should not be talking MLM stuff on that page. I tried to explain that it wasn't an MLM thing and that I didn't make any money on it, but there was no convincing him. I ended up deleted my question.
I first heard of THM about 3 or 4 years ago. I overheard a couple of friends were talking about it, but I was not interested. I've always been into nutritional health, but I didn't believe in diets. My friend tried to explained in vain that it wasn't a diet, but rather "a way of life". I didn't believe her. I figured that's what people say when they are trying to convince themselves to diet. Nevertheless, I decided to follow the THM Facebook page for a while. My interest grew. It didn't seem real. Ordinary people like me were not only dropping pounds, but getting healthy in the process, just by changing how they ate. Except for sugar, they didn't seem to be taking anything away from their diet. In fact, they seem to be eating more than anyone I knew.
I was intrigued and I started asking my friend more questions. It seemed that the summary was this:
I decided to try it on my own for a couple of weeks. No special ingredients. Just with what I had in my fridge. I had already taken sugar out of my diet, so I had that going for me.. but I decided to separate my fats and carbs. Seemed easy enough, but I realized I had to learn what fats and carbs were!
Long story short, I lost a pound a day those two first weeks! I was hooked. I bought the book and started a THM group in my house, hoping others would join this crazy food journey I'd found.
Since then, I've fallen off the wagon a few times. We've moved, changed jobs, and life keeps getting crazy. I've only lost 13 pounds since last year due to all my cheating, but at least I stopped my uphill weight spiral I was on. Am hoping to stick with it this time.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
There's so much more to it and so much to love about THM. We love their exercise DVDs, their facial soap, and continually learn so much as a family about what to add to our meals to include the nutrition that our bodies need to be healthy.
For those of you new to Trim Healthy Mama, let me leave you with a video that introduces you to the two crazy sisters who started this all, and to one of my favorite drinks: The Shrinker! Ever struggle with being tempted to drink sodas, sugary teas, wine, or beer? Check this amazing drink out:
Another great trick I learnt from the Basque people is the one that healed my daughter's bronchitis. I was trying to figure out what else to do to help her, when our apartment doorbell rang.
A dear Basque neighbor lady was holding what looked like a bunch of weeds in her hand. They were a plant from her garden. It was called Verbena, that turns out to be a plant with amazing healing properties, used for diseases that range from skin problems, to asthma, to depression, kidney disorders, to heart conditions and everything in between.
In this case, it was going to help my daughter's bronchitis. This dear old Basque grandma told me to make an omelette with it. She explained that I had to add one clove of onion to a pan for a few seconds. Before it got golden, I was to take it out and then add a large spoon of cut up Verbena for a bit. Finally I was to add egg whites and make into a flat tortilla looking thing. She sternly warned me to only use the white of the egg, as using the yellow part would make it too strong and could harm her.
After it cooled off enough, I was to put it on my daughters chest and wrap a bandage around her body and have her sleep like that. The following night I could do the same thing, but putting it on her back instead.
Well, I tried it. What a messy process it was and it was a bit destroyed by morning, but it worked! The tortilla was actually full of phlegm and she started getting better right away.
I'd never heard anything like this before, but this powerful plant had drawn the phlegm out straight through her skin. It's amazing how God has provided such healing properties in the plant he gave us.
One of the many things I learned from the Basque people, was the onion trick. The Basque people are ancient people that relied on the land for much more than nutrition. Our four children were young when we were there. The cold, humid, rainy weather caused them to get sick a lot, so I was so thankful for a trick I took away from there for a scratchy throat. It works better than cough syrup. In fact, I just used it two days ago.
If you have a dry cough, take a large yellow onion, cut it in half and set it on your night stand next to your bed while you sleep. It works within minutes. Some people put sugar on it, but I haven't found that to make a difference. You have to air out your room the next day, but it works!
How to healthy... the information is endless, the diet options are overwhelming, nutritional information is contradictory, and the journey for many of us is a confusing mess of disappointment and failure.
Learning from different cultures around the world and having experienced a lot of health issues as a family, this exciting journey of discovery of nutrition and plants has changed our family forever.