My morning “concoction”

Long before every magazine cover, talk show host and morning news segment highlighted the benefits of healthy eating, I was a “health nut.”  My family, both nuclear and extended, might say more nut than health but slowly they have come to see the truth in my ways. Especially my husband and his opinion of my “morning concoction” as he prefers to call it.

Now, I have been researching to find the bottom line of what is a truly healthy diet, and what is not, for more than three decades. But he is new to this game. He stared at me with a mixture of awe and disbelief, but some curiosity, when I gave up beef in high school. (Yes, I knew him then.  Blind date. Go figure.)

Consequently, I have never had a McDonald’s burger, a dubious claim to fame but perhaps good enough for a guest spot on Letterman?

Anyway, he stuck with me through the Micky D’s drive through late nights of “I’ll have a Big Mac and she wants a cheeseburger, hold the burger,” the tuna spaghetti he choked down the first week of our marriage and countless other fads and enlightened eating cure-alls I pursued such as spirulina salads, liquid protein diets, cabbage soup colon cleanse and brewer’s yeast in my daily orange juice.

After my third child was born, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia which at that time was a sort of catch all label for an auto immune disorder that causes tight, achy muscles accompanied by painful joints.  I was told to exercise more and try anti-inflammatory medications to relieve the pain.

As most of us know, too much Advil or the prescription version anti-inflammatory medications can wreak havoc on your stomach. Knowing digestive issues were part of the reason I gave up beef and began my quest for a healthier diet in the first place, I turned to the natural alternatives to help my inflammation, boost my immune system and improve my over-all well being.

I settled on four staples in my diet that seemed to provide the most benefits with no side effects:

Natural, 100%, no sweetener added, cherry juice: Cherry juice is a natural anti inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.

Bragg raw apple cider vinegar: Vinegar is high in potassium, boosts the immune system, promotes digestion and relieves skin irritations.

Carlson lemon flavored cod liver oil: Cod liver oil is rich in Omega 3’s that are believed to protect against coronary disease, improve eyesight, increase brain function, and boost the immune system. The oil also soothes joint and skin irritations.

Fortified ground flax seed: Flax is high in fiber, also has Omega 3’s, contains powerful antioxidants and research has shown it can help lower cholesterol.

I started out using them all separately, vinegar in warm water in the morning, cod liver oil at bedtime (grandma did know best!), sprinkled flax seed on cereal and salads and substituted cherry juice for orange juice in the morning. Then as the pace of life got faster and I became lazier about remembering to use them each day, I decided to throw them all in one glass in the AM and down all my wonderful Omega 3’s, antioxidants, anti inflammatories, immune boosters and cholesterol lowerers in one gulp. And it wasn’t so bad.  And I felt better. And as the medical research improved, the brands (I have cited my favorites) became more readily available and my morning concoction was born.

I feel better when I drink it and notice a difference when I don’t. So much so that my husband has jumped on the morning concoction band wagon but substitutes Acai nectar or pomegranate juice for the cherry and adds antioxidant smoothies.

For our test market study of two, most days I am symptom free of any signs of fibromyalgia and my good cholesterol has doubled in the last ten years, so much so that my doctor suspects I have the Methuselah gene. (Remember him? The oldest guy in the Bible?)

But I know it is my concoction. And now my husband does, too.  His eczema he has had on his elbows for as long as he can remember is gone.

Also,  we both look twenty years younger.  Not really. But I am working on that secret elixer next.