Loving the BITE’s Magic Health Tonic

Health Tonic RecipeThe words “health tonic” were not something we discussed in nutrition school or residency much.  Unfortunately.  More and more, I’ve seen the benefits of tonics, supplements, and practices that are far from your standard Western Medicine protocols.  I’ve seen them work firsthand, and I’ve seen their efficacy documented in studies.

But, since we can’t really figure out why they work, we don’t recommend or discuss.  Any more, I’m okay with not knowing why.  To me, some of the most beneficial nutrition is found in components I can’t explain and we don’t understand: anti-cancer, phytochemicals, energizing, and detoxification nutrients.  And while I love research and academics as much as the next, I’m fine with recommending something I can’t explain – in my opinion, the proof is in the pudding.  Or tonic, rather.

Recipe of the week: Apple Cider Vinegar Health Tonic

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp RAW apple cider vinegar
  • 16 oz. water (cool or warm)

Optional:

  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger (¼ tsp ground)
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Mix all together.
  2. Drink.
  3. If you can’t, plug your nose, and drink up anyway.  This is a health tonic, not Jamba Juice!

Comments: 

Yes, the all-natural, all-curing, amazing Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  The stuff of folk-medicine legends.  A cure so powerful, so strong, nothing stops it from improving health.  On everything.  Just like fish oil, organic coconut oil, Vicks Vapor Rub, and Windex.

Apple Cider Vinegar RecipeMostly, I’m making fun of myself.  There do seem to be a few ingredients I come back to, time after time, and recommend them for a variety of ails.  I can’t help it, if they’re that good.  And, now, I present ACV.  What’s the fuss all about?

In folk-medicine, ACV is proclaimed to energize, detoxify, decrease harmful bacteria, fungus, and viruses in our bodies, reduce infections, alleviate seasonal allergies, improve eczema, prevent heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, and be an all-around nutrition winner.  Now, when I hear of a supposed cure-all, I’m suspicious, as I should be.  And as you should be.  I’ll let you know what I know, and you can decide for yourself.

In my own practice, I’ve seen it aide weight loss, aide healthy blood sugars and cholesterol, and most notably, help fend off colds, seasonal allergies, and sinus infections.  For example, I work with one ultra-runner who had been plagued with sinus infections most of his life, and has had unsuccessful sinus surgery to alleviate the problem.  Still, he suffered many debilitating sinus infections per year.   Since taking the tonic at the on-set of any symptoms, he’s not had one sinus infection in two years.  Other athletes have experienced the same results, but less dramatic stories.  As for myself, I’ve suffered three severe sinus infections in my life, all in the past five years.  The kind where you can’t eat because your teeth hurt too much, can’t look down because the pressure in your head is too great, and can’t clear out your sinuses no matter how much you’ve steamed your face and used a neti pot (these two are still often helpful, but now I use them in conjunction with ACV).  Hasn’t happened again since the health tonic.  Several times I’ve felt one coming on and went into action early.  Not sure exactly how, but it does make my nose run, which immediately relieves the pressure and reduces the incidence of infection.  Good enough for me.

In research, it has in fact been shown to reduce waist circumference, blood sugars, triglycerides, blood pressure, and “bad” cholesterol.  In studies involving mice, it’s been shown to be anti-cancenogenic as well.  And why not?  Almost twenty-five hundred years ago, Hippocrateds used it to reduce infections and manage wounds and the Chinese used it to avoid infections during autopsies as early at the 10th century.  For a full research review on it, you can access this document for free at  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/.

Of note, there are some risks.  In the rare cases of esophageal tissue damage, the vinegar was consumed, often in large amounts, straight.  I recommend drinking a smaller amount in water (we athletes could use the hydration anyway, right?).   Also, if possible, use a straw.  Highly acidic fluids can damage tooth enamel.  And, I do recommend using raw ACV.  Like other raw fermented foods, it will provide the added bonus of healthy bacteria.  With this in mind, it’s fine to drink every day, even twice per day if you’d like.

Since posting ACV as one of my tips for reducing colds in another post, I’ve heard from readers around the world who have stated it’s used regularly where they live.  Traditional folk medicine absolutely has its place.  And, if it sounds a bit too hard on the stomach, consider the AVC, ginger, and cayenne pepper are actually soothing to the stomach and promote digestive health.

Bonus Recipe:

Of course, ACV is great on salads.  Don’t forgot our delicious Everyday Salad Dressing recipe.

If you’ve never officially drank a “health tonic,” today’s a great day to start.  Possibly more energy and less risk of disease. Which can only mean one thing, more loving the bike.  Cheers.

Fuel your Ride.  Nourish your Body.

Leave a Reply

  1. Been drinking my ACV with freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice, honey and coconut oil with a pinch of baking soda to reduce the acidity. Been meaning to try this one and will do so in the morning!!

  2. Thought this was a month early April 1st joke, until I read how much you and your clients loved it. Went and bought two bottles last night and tried some today. Not bad, and I’m drinking more water this way. On the optional additives- do I pick one or add all three? I tried just the ginger and liked it.
    Thanks forthe great ideas!

    • Ha! Now I’ll have to come up with some really crazy tonic for April 1st:)! I go for variety with it…I usually drink it at least once per day unless I feel like a cold’s coming on, then twice. So, sometimes with all 3, sometimes just ginger. I usually use warm tap water if adding cinammon, then it mixes in better. Glad it wasn’t as bad as you might have thought! Let us know if it helps keep you healthy!

  3. I am continually amazed at the preventative and curative affects of the food we eat (and the food we choose not to eat!). I’m a wannabe elitist foodie and decided long ago that the only vinegar allowed to call my kitchen home was balsamic. What a loser. I’m going to the store today and buying some apple cider vinegar. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hi Carrie – thanks for your comment. Not a loser at all, there is so much to learn. For me too. The bottom line continues to be less processed, more real/whole, and many traditional foods. So simple, but yet difficult, too. Let us know what you think of the tonic! All the best!

  4. I don’t really like the taste of vinegar, but maybe if I add in some of the other ingredients it will help. But I do like what it has to offer for health benefits.