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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Yellow Kitchen Syndrome

I am a firm believer in using food to heal the body.  I'm am fighting arthritis much the same way I do with other health problems, using foods that heal, avoiding foods that harm and exercise.  Two foods that are currently being used to treat arthritis are NEM (natural egg membrane) and curcumin (turmeric extract).  NEM takes about 7 days to notice a reduction in pain.  I specifically use Curcumin C3 Complex (1,160 mg/serving) in addition to turmeric. 

ground tumericTurmeric is the ribosome of a perennial plant in the ginger family native to South Asia growing in temperatures of 20 to 30°C.  It is considered the Indian saffron, a cheaper alternative to regular saffron.  Turmeric it's commonly dried and powdered then used as a spice and curries as well as a dye for foods like mustard.   Turmeric will stain just about anything it comes into contact with, hence the yellow kitchen syndrome.

Turmeric is not only used for its culinary properties but also it's medicinal properties.  It can be made into a paste then used on the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation.   There has been a lot of interest in turmeric specifically the active ingredient, curcumin.   Turmeric is antioxidant.   Antioxidants help protect cells in the body by fighting free radicals to help fight against aging and prevent cancer.  Turmeric also reduces inflammation so eases joint pain.

The recommended dosage of turmeric is one 300 mg capsule at each meal, two or three times a day for a maximum dosage of 1 to 3 g per day . If taking a standardized form of curcumin,  the recommended dosage is 1200 to 1800 mg of per day.  Turmeric does have some negative side effects it may cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.   It lowers blood sugar so may be a problem for those who are diabetic.  Turmeric lowers blood pressure and thins the blood.

As with many herbs and spices that are used for medicinal purposes the issue becomes a bio-availability.   That means even though you take the recommended dosage your body cannot necessarily use it in that form without a bit of help.   Bio-availability of turmeric is increased by adding piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper.   Bio-availability can be further increased by heating either the turmeric or curcumin. 
BCAA Turmeric Ginger Smoothie
The most common way to use turmeric is in curries but it is not practical for me to eat curry every day.  Since I already take curcumin, I turned to turmeric to boost the amount of curcumin I get eat day.  Turmeric is considerably less expensive and readily available.  The curcumin I take is mail order so there is always that concern of keeping enough on hand and having a substitute just in case.

I generally have a whey protein smoothie mid-morning.  This was the perfect target for turmeric.  I used  a BCAA (branch chain amino acids) 100% whey protein powder, cottage cheese, unsweetened almond milk, 1 tsp turmeric. 1 tsp fresh ginger and a dash of black pepper to make a yummy smoothie.  Turmeric is pungent so the flavour dominated the smoothie but not in an unpleasant way.  One teaspoon of turmeric is 3 g, a good booster for the curcumin.  I liked this combination enough that I've made it a few times now.  It comes in at 235 calories and 33 g protein per 12 oz serving.

Golden Milk
As luck would have it, I was on Facebook when several posts came through my timeline talking about the wonders of Turmermic Tea aka Ancient Golden Milk.  There were many variations some containing coconut milk, others containing other spices like cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and all sweetened with sugar, honey or maple syrup.  I decided to keep my version simple.

Golden Milk 
recipe by Garden Gnome

1 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp stevia

Warm almond milk slightly.   Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl then pour just enough warmed milk in to make a thin slurry.  Pour the slurry into the remaining milk and mix well.  Continue heating until mixture comes to a low boil.  Remove from heat.  Pour into mug and enjoy.

I was concerned that the turmeric would be overpowering in this hot beverage but surprisingly it isn't.  I actually prefer the Golden Milk to the smoothie.  It has a warm, pleasant flavour.  I have been enjoying one of these hot drinks in the afternoon.  My arthritis pain has lessened.  The visible signs (redness, swelling) especially in my hands is significantly reduced.  This one is a keeper and it's only 53 calories!

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