Welcome to the inaugural post of Vibrant Food + Life! We are so happy you are here!
At Vibrant Food + Life we want to help you harness the power of Culinary Nutrition to achieve optimal wellness and vitality. What we eat should help us to feel amazing and full of energy, but it can be a little tricky at times, so we are here to help you navigate. Culinary Nutrition is the doing! It is putting nutritional knowledge into action in your pantry, in your kitchen, and in your meal planning. We want to support you in making the best nutritional decisions for your own personal needs and then to translate those decisions into food on your plate!
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As I write this, I am enjoying a cup of tea. I find tea incredibly soothing and grounding. I enjoy the ritual as well as the endless possibilities of concoctions one can make with just a few herbs on hand! With everything that is going on in the world right now, it is hard not to get weighed down by worry, anxiety, and fear. With everyone home, I find my days go by fairly quickly, but once the kids go down, my mind starts to roam, and I am ready to reach for that 8 p.m. cookie. And while it may be a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free cookie, it is still a habit I would like not to indulge! I will fully admit to the 8 p.m. cookie habit for the first two weeks of our lockdown. I gave in to the stress eating. I know I am not alone in that one with reports of egg and flour shortages- there was a lot of stress baking going on. Things we have traditionally done for self-care like yoga or even meeting with friends was suddenly terminated with no clear resolution in sight. I, myself, cannot find fault in anyone in seeking solace in something familiar and comfortable.
Of course, the daily 8 p.m. cookie indulgence becomes untenable at some point, doesn’t it? I transitioned myself to something soothing and equally comforting, but without the blood sugar highs and crashes (which can itself be mood de-stabilizing, but more on that some other time). I knew what I was craving was a bit of comfort, a bit of relaxation, and the feeling that I was taking care of myself. I threw open the herb cupboard and put this little concoction together. It is delicious, it is soothing, and it may just help you have a good night’s sleep. Won’t you join me for a cup?
In this tea, you will find chamomile, long recognized for its soothing and relaxing qualities. Susan S. Weed notes of chamomile, it’s “popularity…testifies to its potency as a calming sleep-inducer, pain-killer, and mental-relaxer.” To chamomile I have also added passionflower and lemon balm. Passionflower is also a potent relaxer and can even aid in alleviating anxiety. Similarly, lemon balm aids in reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and can also help to improve memory and cognition.
Relaxing Bedtime Tea
½ cup organic dried chamomile flowers
¼ cup organic dried passionflower
¼ cup organic dried lemon balm
Add the ingredients to a large glass bowl and mix well. Transfer to an airtight storage canister (a mason jar is perfect).
To brew: Add 2 heaping tablespoons to a teapot. Boil water and let cool for five minutes. Pour over the tea and cover. Steep for 15 minutes. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
 Weed,S. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, New York: Ashtree Publishing, 1986  Lakhan SE, Vieira KF. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders:
systematic review. Nutr J. 2010;9:42. Published 2010 Oct 7. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-42  Humphrey, S. The Nursing Mother’s Herbal. Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fairview. 2003. Scholey A, Gibbs A, Neale C, et al. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 2014;6(11):4805- 4821. Published 2014 Oct 30. doi:10.3390/nu6114805