The dizzying array of nutritional benefits from various superfoods, which ones really work and are worth the effort to add them to your diet, and which ones are overhyped by the media are enough to make your head swim. There are some foods that are a little of both. Take coconut oil, for example. It has a high saturated fat content but a saturated fat that is full of MCTs, easier to break down in the body and used as energy which helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent insulin spikes. That’s great, right? It’s a superfood. It’s also hype because coconut oil cheerleaders are telling you that it is a cure-all and you should take it by the tablespoons (several a day, in fact) and it will cure thyroid disease, diabetes, etc. If you don’t move, however, if you are chained to a desk all day, the odds of you burning tablespoons of coconut oil are pretty slim. I have a real issue with anyone, including nutritionists and dieticians, taking a potentially amazing superfood and isolating it into some sort of “fountain of youth” or “magic bullet”.
So here we are. You are taking some advice into account;drinking your ginger and lemon tea every morning and feeling great. This is awesome because this is the single best thing you can do for your body in the morning. Keep doing it. Now we are going to take it to the next level and talk about the benefits of adding raw apple cider vinegar to your diet. If you have read anything, these days, on the internet about adding apple cider to your diet you will notice a common theme. First, many posts don’t specify the vast differences in quality of apple cider vinegar and second, they want you to drink what seems like gallons of the stuff. Let’s cut through the hype and get back to reality, shall we??
What kind of apple cider should I use??
Heinz apple cider, with it’s pretty, clear brown color does NOT NOT NOT count as real apple cider vinegar. It’s dead. It has no enzymes. In fact, it is little more than really acidic water with some caramel color. If you have this in your kitchen cupboards, use it for cleaning, don’t put it on or in your body.
Raw apple cider, unfiltered and with “the mother” which is made up of strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules with living nutrients and bacteria, is the good stuff. The mother is the “stuff” that, along with the unfiltered sediment from the apple juice, settles at the bottom of the bottle and, if you put it in water, you will see “bits” floating around. You also want the sediment of the apple juice which has all the pectin, malic acid, vitamins and minerals. In other words, it will be cloudy with bits settling to the bottom that you will shake up before you use it. My favorite is Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar which you can buy at any Whole Foods or order online. I buy the 32 oz. because I don’t like the really big ones with the plastic jugs.
So to recap, buy the cloudy, gunky good stuff full of life and leave the clear, pretty brown stuff for cleaning. (Or better yet, leave it on the shelves!)
The many health benefits of raw apple cider vinegar::
*Rich in potassium, a mineral that very difficult to find in the Standard American Diet (SAD). This mineral is necessary for building proteins and metabolizing carbohydrates; also imperative for transmission of nerve impulses and regulating electrical impulses of the heart; has been shown to prevent bone loss; decreases high blood pressure; also prevent kidney stones.
*Loaded with acetic acid which has been shown to slow the digestion of starch helping to slow down and lower the rise in glucose that commonly occurs after meals. This is important for those with blood sugar issues such as diabetes or insulin resistance and is helpful for balancing hormones in those with estrogen dominance and PCOS.
*Although it tastes acidic it is rich in ash which gives ACV its alkaline property. This is important for your body in maintaining proper pH levels for a healthy alkaline state. (This is particularly important if you drink coffee, alcohol, eat a lot of grains, meat, or sugar.)
*High in malic acid which gives ACV its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Other acids in apple cider vinegar are stellar for helping with detoxification by boosting circulation and the liver’s ability to purge toxins. The acids also help to eliminate impurities by binding to free radicals and other toxins that are stored in the blood, fat cells and organs, thus chelating or ‘pulling them out’ of the body. In addition, apple cider vinegar supplies the body with a large amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which helps the body recover after detox.
*May help improve bowel irregularity and helps to remove toxins from the body at a faster rate. It can help clear up skin conditions and blemishes.
* Studies have shown ACV helps with weight loss by breaking down fats so that your body can use them rather than store them. Although scientists say the jury is still out on whether ACV is key in losing weight, because of its many health benefits, helping slow the digesting of starch and slow down and lower the rise in glucose, couple with the fact that it helps maintain the pH levels for healthy alkalinity, the side effect would naturally be balancing weight to normal levels making ACV a superstar in reducing obesity rates.
*Its mineral salts and enzymes help reduce C-reactive proteins helping reduce inflammation. This is important for those suffering from chronic inflammation (pretty much everyone today), and especially those with inflammatory based illnesses such as those with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and even IBS and Chrohn’s.
*It can help combat candida by restoring the gut’s natural bacteria balance.
*Several studies have found that ACV has a marked effect on killing cancer cells or slowing their growth.
How do I use apple cider vinegar?
Some people swear by adding two tablespoons into a glass of water and drinking it before meals. If I know I am going to be eating out or at someone’s house where I don’t have control over what I am served, I will do this. I also swear by drinking a glass before every heavy or starchy meal. It is often a better remedy than commercial indigestion medicines for cases of gastric upset. A few tablespoons in tepid water and bye bye bubble guts. I tend to not love chugging water though so I add a few teaspoons at a time to either my water in the summer or the Turkish Apple Tea I sip through the winter. I don’t recommend you drink it in the morning on an empty stomach unless you are going to eat breakfast very soon after. It’s too much of a shock to my system and it might be to yours. If you want to drink it in the morning with water, drink your Ginger Lemon Tea first, make breakfast and while you are making breakfast drink a glass slowly. If the taste is off putting in the morning, add a little honey or stevia to it. If you are making a smoothie or green juice you can add a few teaspoons to your smoothie but I think that’s overkill. If you are an oatmeal lover you might want to consider drinking a tablespoon or two in water before you eat as it will slow the insulin spike that always accompanies digesting grains. Again, after your ginger lemon tea. It is a great way to get hydrated!
My favorite way to use raw apple cider vinegar is in marinades and salad dressings. My Banish The Bottle Raw Detox Salad Dressing is a fantastic way to use raw apple cider vinegar. The nice thing about the dressing is you can use it liberally, not counting tablespoons as with bottled salad dressings.
It can be used, diluted in water, for a shine boosting rinse. Diluted in a spray bottle with either plain or some rose or orange flower water as a nourishing tonic. It will help heal eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis both with external (diluted of course 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water is a good rule of thumb for skin use) and internal use.
What can apple cider not do?
It will not, on its own, heal you of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, PCOS, insulin resistance or any number of other illnesses and disorders, if you refuse to change your diet from refined flours, sugars, conventional meats, and little plant based foods. It will not, on its own, heal you, even if you are eating a plant based healthy diet. It is a PART of the healing process. It will not make you a supermodel or even supermodel thin if you don’t eat right and move your body. It may not even do that if you do. It will help along the process of digesting carbohydrates and metabolizing fats so they can be used as energy but even fat metabolized, if it isn’t used, goes right back….you guessed it….to fat. It is not to be used in lieu of treatment for cancer. I know some of the websites say it will cure it unequivocally. This is so very irresponsible to even imply. Again, it can help heal. It is fantastic as a part of a detox for cancer patients both during and after treatment. It is a great addition to any alternative healing path as well, in fact, is integral to one. (Notice I say addition, not the whole thing. ) It is really a miraculous compound. But it is not meant to be singled out as a miracle drug. It is meant to be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Use it. Use it liberally but use it as part of a healthy lifestyle right alongside of coconut oil and other superfoods and a plant based healthy nutrition plan and watch your energy levels soar, your complexion radiate, your hair shine, and your overall health skyrocket abundantly!
Wishing you peace and balance,