My top Healthy Recipes

Lime, Lemon & Lemongrass

Lemon, Morning shake

We all know lemons (scientifically known as Citrus limon) as the fruit that evokes images of sunshine,  and sweet homemade lemonade stands.

Old school - Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)
Old school – Lemonade stand (Image Credit: blog krrg)

It’s been 6 months now that I have incorporated lemon into my morning routine.

Lemons in your a.m. routine.
Lemons in your a.m. routine.

I am pleased to report I am thoroughly converted, and here is why. On the way, I got to gain more energy for longer days and I am quicker to smile in the a.m. !

Packed with antioxidants and other health benefits, a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon revitalizes the body and mind. I always make sure to drink a few glasses of water in the morning, but a few days a week (usually before heading to work), I add some fresh lemon juice for the taste and Vitamin C.

What I do?

I simply squeeze half of organic fresh lemon into a glass of lukewarm water (avoid using bottled lemon juice) and, optionally, when I feel like it, I would add some honey to make my drink a little bit sweeter.

 Drink this warm lemon water first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.

Why you will love it too?

Lemons by themselves are very versatile tools, a good option for cleaning, beauty, cooking and much more.

Not only do they smell and taste great, but they have natural antibacterial properties making them perfect for killing germs. Lemons are extremely rich in nutrients: they contain a lot of vitamins (vitamin C, B-complex vitamins) and a few key minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium). Lemons even contain more potassium than grapes or apples.

Consume lemons daily to boost up you metabolism. Like any other foods, moderation apply to get the best of it!

What about the peels?

Citrus peels are antibacterial and antimicrobial, making them incredible for homemade cleaners. Lemon peels contain about 5 to 10 times more vitamins than lemon juice!

TIPS: Dried peels make a nice addition to your basic cup of black tea!

What if you do not have lemon at home?

Lime = excellent substitute

Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).
Cut lime on wooden plate (Photo credit: Getty images).

As good of lemons

The first fruit that comes to mind in terms of medicinal uses is the reliable lime. They can be used in basically the same manner as lemons. Limes are green, small, and generally more acidic than lemons.

Not just good for cocktails

Limes are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Basically, vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals it comes in contact with. The fruit is less in calories, carrying just 20 calories per 100 g, the value being one of the lowest for the citrus fruits group.

High in Vitamins C !

Vital to the function of a strong immune system, a little extra vitamin C gotten from lime may be useful in conditions like colds, flu, and recurrent ear infections. Further, they carry a healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, potassium, and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)
Limes & lemons (Image credit: Gourmet Sleuth)

Lemongrass, Body balance

As the name implies, lemongrass smells just like lemons, but it is milder, sweeter, and far less sour.

The genus has about 55 species, most of which are native to South Asia, South­east Asia and Austra­lia. In India it is known as ‘choomana poolu’ and is also referred to as ‘Indian Verbena’ or ‘Indian Melissa oil’ and used in Ayurveda medicine to help bring down fevers and treat infectious illnesses.

Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

The East Indian Lemongrass (Citronelle des Indes) is the most commonly available in small local markets. Multi purpose lemongrass, it is used for cooking as well as a base for essential oil.

It is known that lemongrass  grows best in warm, humid climates: areas with 24-. 30” of rainfall per year, lemongrass planted during the rainy season, and is ready for cutting about six to eight months afterwards.

Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)
Citronella plantation in India (Image credit: Nedfi)

Food lover? You will love it!

Lemongrass is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, and is gaining more and more popularity as a culinary herb in USA as well. Here in Malaysia it is widely used to add flavor or marinate chicken or pork dishes. It is absolutely delicious! I love it, I usually find it in Tom Yum soup along with galangal, lime leaves and fish sauce.

TIPS: Storing lemon grass by freezing is the best way to preserve its garden fresh flavor, it can be preserved from six months up to one year!
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful
Lemongrass | OrganicIsBeautiful

I ♥ Lemongrass Essential oil

I usually take with me essential oil extracted from lemongrass when I am off traveling in tropical areas, I use it as an excellent natural mosquito repellent. The oil is also used for making other non-food related products like candles, perfumes, soap, insecticide, disinfectant, household cleaner and deodorant.

What about you? How do you use limes, lemon or lemongrass to complement your daily routine?OrganicIsBeautiful Signature

Lemongrass

Did you say “Organic”?

If you ask if organic products are better than industrial one, I would say it’s a personal choice. These days I am much more aware of the list of ingredients of the products that I purchase. I am the one standing in the aisle of the corner supermarket reading the fine print on the bottle of limoncello or the jar of pack of biscuits.

Someday soon, I like to thing we will all be standing in the aisles reading labels. (Picture credit: The9billion)
Someday soon, I like to thing we will all be standing in the aisles reading labels. (Picture credit: The9billion)

Organic = Vegan !

Most of my friends associate it to the vegan food:

Watermelon is also my favorite fruit! (Photo credit: thrivingvegetarian) [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786738][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/group.jpg[/img][/url] [url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/9786750][img]http://dl.dropbox.com/u/40117171/summer.jpg[/img][/url]
Watermelon is also my favorite fruit! (Photo credit: thrivingvegetarian)

There are strong cliché inherent to the word “Organic”. In people mind, “Organic” refers to what you eat, rather than what you put on your skin.

Most of my friends associate it to the vegan food & the silly jokes we have all heard at least once. My favorite one (apologising in advance for my twerk sense of humor) is:

“I’m going to eat some meat and dedicate it to PETA”

Definition of “organic“.

It is the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. The final goal is to soil and water conservation and reduces pollution.

You could go out for lunch and have roasted vegetable wraps and mushroom burgers and fancy grilled cheeses with truffle butter or artisan fig preserves, it would not automatically means you eat organic.

Or, you could have the local Banana leaf vegetarian curry.
Or, you could have the local Banana leaf vegetarian curry.

Organic = happy hippy !

Apart from the above association to vegan cuisine, “organic” is also often associated to the hippy lifestyle or of full adhesion to nature.

Not that we should all defy the odds, live in the backwoods of an abandonned farm!

Hippies in the 1960’s
Hippies in the 1960’s

Organic = Personal choice !

Broadly speaking, the word “organic” is synonymous with a bunch of others common terms. The non-exhaustive list below regroups the one that come straight from my mind, though there must be much more:

  • Labels
  • Ethically clothing brands sourcing
  • Handmade/Homemade Craft
  • Green cosmetics aka 100% natural
  • Free of preservatives, adulteration and artificial flavors.

I personally relate it more to the last two.

I see organic as a generic term, it encompasses much more than a label or an industrial sector. It may sound overrated, for me it is more of a philosophy of life, the idea of balance in harmony with nature.

Organic Green washing.

Much to my surprise, anyone can use the term “natural” or “organic” when it comes to cosmetics.

Buying organic herbs from the produce section of a grocery store guarantees that they were produced under certain circumstances. However, if I step into the cosmetics aisle of the same store and see a product claiming to be organic and containing organic herbal extracts, there is no guarantee at all that it is true.

From parabens (chemicals linked to cancer) to petroleum waxes, an ordinary lotion can contain quite a toxic mixture.

Unfortunately, there is no global definition for green as it pertains to cosmetics and skin care product regulation, although it is often assumed that a green product adheres a variety of eco-friendly philosophies.

I believe in what I see

(Photo credit: Behappy.me)
(Photo credit: Behappy.me)

I just believe that whatever you put in your system, you are going to see it on your body and your face.

Well, I like to know what I eat, what I apply on my skin. This innocent curiosity turned into a hobby. Traveling has helped too in many ways. I get to meet local producers and discover new (or what I consider new for me) chemical-free ways to grow plants, herbs or veggie. In Malaysia and the neighboring countries. I can ask direct questions and understand any fundamental healing, calming properties about a specific plants and integrate them in my daily skin and health care routine.

There is no magical trick: it is a learning curve to educate ourselves and stay away from any dictatorial green washing.

Yet, it is important to be aware that for instance, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.

Resources

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