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Wellness Wednesday: Spice It Up!

“I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast. But I'm intercontinental when I eat French toast.” – Beastie Boys, The Move

You might be wondering why that song popped into my head. My writing is a stream-of-conscious type of flow. I felt I may had been boasting of health and then that lyric popped into my head; cinnamon goes well with French toast…and there you have it.

I’ve seen several studies that have found that cinnamon can have beneficial effects on elevated blood sugar levels in Type II diabetics. This is pretty cool and brings me to the point of this article.

French toast is usually made with a highly-processed softer bread that can quickly raise blood sugar levels after ingesting it. Apparently, the cinnamon typically added on top can help keep your blood sugar from rising significantly, which in turn keeps insulin levels down and prevents it from possibly being stored in fat cells which occurs if you take in too many carbohydrates and aren’t physically active enough. Whoa! Try saying that in one breath!

We are what we eat and we are what it does to us  

I’m a pretty healthy person.   

I’ve paid a lot of attention to the food and substances that go into my body since 2003. I’ve done a lot of research on nutrition and have had discussions with everyone from doctors to holistic health professionals going back to my days as a bodybuilder when looks, muscle, and leanness were the only goals.  

I love to read labels and if I don’t recognize something on the ingredients list, chances are I don’t want it in my body.

A healthy body isn’t just external

I say this because I truly feel that way and the last time I went to the doctor’s office my bloodwork proved it.  

Just remember that if you eat some fat, you won’t turn fat in much the same way that if you eat bison, you won’t turn into a prairie-roaming, four-legged beast.

Many people think they have to eat boring bland foods when they are trying to lead a healthier life. This can lead to neurotic eating habits, such as only eating boiled chicken and green beans for weeks. Not good. This is the same thing as shunning carrots because they contain sugar.

You see, our body craves nutrients that come from the earth. Foods we farm, such as fruits and veggies, pull minerals from the earth and create vitamins and other plant-based nutrients (phytonutrients) we need for healthy hormonal profiles and energy system functions in our bodies.    

Spices do the same thing. Many spices and herbs are full of wonderful compounds that work with the food you eat to create delicious meals AND healthy bodies.

This summer, instead of trying to starve yourself thinner, eat whole foods and instead of all the sauces and condiments, grab a cookbook and a spice book such as the one above and learn some of the powers of herbs and spices! You’ll never eat bland food again and won’t have to rely on high-calorie sauces as much for flavor.  

Here are just a few spices that have anti-inflammatory properties:

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Black Pepper
  • Clove
  • Cayenne

Here are a few that have detoxifying properties:

  • Ginger
  • Neem
  • Gymnemma Sylvestre
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Here are a few for increased metabolism:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger
  • Green Tea

Tell us: What are your favorite functional spices to cook with?

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.