Tag Archives | turmeric

Six Ways to Spice Up Your Health

I don’t know about you, but November totally snuck up on me!

It seems like Mister Wes and I were JUST getting started grilling and having dinners on the deck. 

But, I’m not really that upset about it. There is something refreshing and comforting about bundling up in sweaters and scarves, inhaling the cool air and sipping on warming soups.

(I know, I know….I might feel differently about it when we’re knee-high in snow drifts! For now, just let me remain positive.)

Fall is the perfect time to bring out warming spices for cool weather drinks and dishes. From homemade hot chocolate to pumpkin spice muffins, there are certain spices that pair perfectly with the crisp leaves and shorter days of autumn.

Is there anything better than oatmeal with cinnamon or a little cayenne in your hot cocoa?

However, spices can do so much more than just enhance the flavor of your food – they can also enhance your health. Head on over to the blog to check out my six favorite fall spices to enjoy amazing flavors and incredible health benefits!

CINNAMON is a powerful antioxidant that can improve insulin response and help keep blood sugar under control. Research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.

How to use it: Cinnamon is commonly used in oatmeal and other breakfast foods. But, it pairs well with savory dishes as well like fall squashes, lamb and chicken. Search for Moroccan recipes, which frequently use cinnamon.
NUTMEG contains antibacterial compounds that can help fight germs in your mouth. The primary substance is macelignan, which reduces plaque formation by 50 percent and eradicates cavity-producing microbes, according to Italian researchers.

How to use it: Nutmeg pairs well with winter squashes, leafy greens as well as yogurt. Try it in coffee or homemade hot chocolate.
GINGER is known for it’s ability to calm upset stomach and relieve nausea, but it has also been shown to help decrease pain. Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, is thought to reduce inflammation and block nerve pathways that process pain.

How to use it: Ginger is a great addition to stir-fries, cabbage slaws and in pureed pumpkin soup.
TURMERIC, also found in curry powders, is given its bright yellow color by curcumin. This powerful substance is getting a lot of attention in the scientific community for it’s potential anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it: Curry and turmeric are essential for Indian curry dishes. You can also add turmeric to sautéed leafy greens, or blend it with honey and add it to hot water for a refreshing hot drink.
CAYENNE helps crank up your body’s thermostat by giving your metabolism a nice boost, thanks to the substance capsaicin. On a side note, use a sprinkle of cayenne on a cut to staunch bleeding. Surprisingly, this does not sting as you might expect!

How to use it: A small amount of cayenne doesn’t add spice as much as it adds just a touch of heat to dishes. If you are a fast eater, adding just a small pinch of cayenne can help slow you down. Cayenne is perfect for chili or on roasted winter squash.
CUMIN can provide up to 22 percent of your daily iron intake in just one tablespoon. Preliminary research has also shown that this spice can boost your brainpower: in an animal study, consuming cumin extract was shown to improve performance on memory tests.

How to use it: Cumin is used in Indian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. You can use it already ground, or toast the seeds for a stronger flavor. From black beans and rice to Indian curry, cumin is an all around spice that can be used in a variety of ways.

Comments { 2 } · Posted on November 10, 2015 in General

Love Your Liver Spring Smoothie

Liver Spring Smoothie

I put weeds in my smoothie this morning.

Around 8 am I went for a quick stroll around the yard and picked a few dandelions to put into my breakfast smoothie.

According to Rebecca Wood, the author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia dandelion root and leaves are a remarkable  bitter tonic for the spleen, stomach, kidneys and liver.

Furthermore, it stimulates liver function, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves digestion.

Last, but not least, dandelion is a super nutrient-dense food! A cup of dandelion can provide you with almost all the vitamin A you need for the day, plus a third of your vitamin C requirement. It also contains twice as much iron and calcium as broccoli!

Now that is some great motivation to start weeding!

Spring is the perfect time to help clear our livers of stagnation and toxins that have built up over a long winter.

Is it a coincidence that dandelions are in full bloom this time of year? I think not!

Nature knows best.

You can eat wild dandelions – the greens, flower and roots. Just be sure you are gathering them from a clean location that has not been sprayed or fertilized with chemicals.

Dandelion can be used in smoothies as well as in salads, sautes and stir fries.

No only do the dandelions in this recipe have liver health benefits!

Apples, lemon, turmeric and coconut oil also help cleanse the liver and support its overall health.

Ready to put some weeds in your smoothie and give your liver some love?

Liver Spring Smoothie

Love Your Liver Spring Smoothie

Ingredients and Instructions

1 handful of ice
1-2 cups of coconut water or regular filtered water
1 handful of spinach (or other green of choice like kale or Swiss chard)
small handful of gluten free, old fashion oats
1/4 apple, cubed
1 small banana
1 sliver of lemon, peel removed
1 tablespoon each of chia and hemp seeds (or use 2 tablespoons of one kind)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
dash of turmeric
3-4 dandelion leaves and flowers (no stems)
pinch of salt (this helps bring out the sweetness in the fruit)

Blend all the ingredients in your blender and enjoy!

Feel free to adjust the ingredients based on what you have on hand and your personal taste.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 12, 2015 in Healthy Recipes

Damn good creamy mac and cheesy (dairy free)

My mom was born and raised in Germany. When she married my dad (an American) and moved to the U.S. she had quite a few culture shocks. She often tells stories about her first hamburger (the best one ever!) and eating pizza with her hands (Europeans tend to use forks and knives).

As the first born my mom was introduced to all sorts of “kid food” by her new American friends. When I entered that picky eater phase of around 3 one of her friends recommended Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. “She WILL eat this” she told my concerned mom. “The kids LOVE it!” And love it I did. Who didn’t??? Mac and cheese from the blue box was a staple in our house for a very long time. It was probably the first thing I learned to cook for myself.

Like every packaged pasta product boxed mac and cheese is loaded with artificial dyes, genetically modified ingredients and a bunch of funky preservatives. It has no nutritional value for growing bodies, bones and brains! Don’t worry! I’m not faulting my mom for feeding this to me. She made up for it with loads of other great healthy foods 🙂

I recently splurged on a high speed Blendtec blender. I’ve been eyeing it up for over 2 years now and finally bit the bullet and bought one. So happy I did! Last week my mom came over for a little blending experiment party. (Yes, I know! We’re food nerds!). I had soaked some cashews the night before with the hopes of making cashew cream. It worked out so well. But then I had no idea what the heck to do with the cashew cream. So it sat in my fridge for a few days until I decided to mix it with some leftover pureed butternut squash, nutritional yeast and a few other ingredients I had laying around. What resulted was some damn good mac and cheese!

Now, this recipe is totally dairy free but it still has a nice cheese-like flavor. This comes from the nutritional yeast which adds a cheesy, nutty flavor to sauces, dips and popcorn (it’s soooo good on homemade popcorn!!!). Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast and grown through a fermentation process on beet and molasses. It doesn’t make things rise like activated yeast so don’t use it in baking. You can find it at most health food stores – Bob’s Red Mill and Braggs both produce it. If you are gluten free read the label carefully as some brands are produced in places that also process wheat and other products. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins which are essential for energy production. But, most importantly….it’s so freaking tasty!!!!

Ok, enough rambling about yeast. It’s certainly not as exciting as this recipe! Don’t be fooled into thinking that the boxed stuff is easier and faster. The sauce doesn’t take long at all and once you have it on hand you just pour it over your pasta and heat. Easy cheesy!


Creamy Mac and Cheesy (dairy free)


1/2 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
1/2 cup pureed butternut squash or pumpkin
1-2 garlic cloves (depends on how much you love garlic)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (check your local health food store)
pinch of cayenne and freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon turmeric
handful parsley, chopped
salt to taste
water as needed
gluten free pasta or cooked spaghetti squash


To make the cashew cream

  1. Put 1 cup raw cashews in a medium bowl. Cover with filtered water by 3-4 inches and add a pinch of salt and splash of apple cider vinegar. This soaking process helps soften the cashews and remove the phytic acid, which can inhibit absorption of calcium, iron, zinc and chromium. Soaking make nuts also more digestible and easier on the digestive tracts. Soak the cashews for at least 6 hours or overnight.

To make the mac and cheesy sauce

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions
  2. Strain the cashews and put them in a blender. Add about 1/4 cup of water and blend. Add more water as needed and blend until you get a thick paste. You can also try this in a food processor.
  3. Once you have you cashew cream add the squash, garlic, nutritional yeast, cayenne, nutmeg, turmeric and a pinch of salt to the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. You might have to add more water if it’s too thick. Taste and add more salt or nutritional yeast for stronger flavor. Adding a few shots of tamari can also help give it even more depth if you like.
  4. Voila! You’ve got a creamy cheese sauce! Now just pour some of it over your hot pasta, add the parsley and heat through. Sprinkle on some more nutritional yeast for an extra cheesy flavor. You can store extra sauce in a jar in your fridge for about 4-5 days. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on March 11, 2014 in Healthy Recipes