Sunday, May 22, 2016

Turmeric: For Pain and Inflammation

Turmeric Capsules
If you had told me four years ago that I would one day stop taking ibuprofen... I wouldn't have believed you. If you told me that I would be making my own capsules for pain and inflammation... I would have laughed. And if you told me that I'd be filling those capsules with turmeric, a common pantry spice... I'd just have laughed harder. But here I am not laughing... and not missing my OTC anti-inflammitories one bit.

I feel so much better about how I'm treating my aches and pains, and worry a lot less about any long-term or cumulative effects from my pain-management choices. But that's me, and I'm not here to convince you to change what you're doing. It's just that friends and acquaintances always ask about our switch to turmeric and I figured it would be easier to just steer them here and have the info in one spot.

Scores of others have already written about turmeric and it's many benefits—and done so better than I could—so I won't rehash any of that here. Instead, I will point you to some articles/posts to get you started. After that, if you are at all interested in pursuing it further, I'll link to some sources for supplies.

Start Here...
There is a very thorough blog post on the many benefits of turmeric at Fresh Bites Daily. You can also check out what Doctors Weil, Axe, and Mercola have to say. But don't just take their word for it, do more reading and research on your own before making a decision. It's your body and your health after all.

If you do decide to replace your current NSAID with turmeric, you can either buy pre-filled capsules or fill them yourself. Not a DIY kind of person? You can usually find them ready-made wherever you buy vitamins and supplements. I've seen some great sale prices at Swanson-Vitamins.com (get on their email list, they're always having sales).

You may find it easier on your wallet to make your own. If so, you'll need a capsule machine, empty capsules, and organic turmeric root powder. The capsule machine and empty capsules come in two sizes: "0" (500mg) and "00" (735mg). The empty capsules also are available vegan-style (called "V-Caps" they're made without gelatin). Mountain Rose Herbs has a great video on how to use the capsule machine.

FYI: Turmeric has been used historically as a dye, so don't wear white when working with the powder, and put some paper down on your work surface before you begin. It can and will stain, so wash and scrub your hands immediately after working with it (or wash a sink-full of dishes!).

A Toddy for the Body...
Another option I like is to make a therapeutic hot drink called Golden Milk (or Turmeric Tea, Turmeric Milk, Turmeric Tonic) which works just as well as the caps but is administered via a mug of hot soothing liquid goodness. Here are some recipes and methods to get you started...
Unlocking The Treasure
Whether using the capsules or hot drinks, be sure to take them with a pinch of black pepper and some healthy fat. Turmeric is fat-soluble, so it needs to be consumed with some sort of fat to help your body absorb the nutrients effectively. Black pepper also greatly increases the bioavailability of the compounds in the turmeric.

It's easy to add a bit of coconut oil and a grind of pepper when you're making a turmeric drink, but if you prefer the caps, just remember to take them with meals. If it's not mealtime, I'll have a few nuts or olives, a dab of nut butter, glass of milk or piece of cheese, etc. As for the black pepper, I add some to the turmeric when I make the capsules (or you can even buy them that way). 

Some Sources for Ingredients and Supplies
Whether ready-made or DIY, for one-stop-shopping you can get everything at Mountain Rose Herbs or bulkherbstore. You can also find most everything at Vitacost. Local Sonoma County sources to try are: Oliver's or Sprout's, and in Sebastopol there's a nice little herb shop called Rosemary's Garden that should have everything you need.

One Last Word...
Fresh is best of course, and if you have the means, time, and availability to use fresh turmeric root... all the better! I don't, so I can't relate any favorite recipes etc. for using it in that form, but between the internet and your local library... you should find all the info you need. 

—be well... and stay well!


Big Ol' Disclaimer
I am not a doctor or health professional. I am only relating what I do myself. Take your health seriously and take your personal medical history into account when making any decisions that concern your well-being. Unsure? Talk to your doctor or other trusted health professional. Everyone's different. Results may vary. None of the links in this post are affiliate links. I am not connected with any of the brands, companies, or stores mentioned except as a customer. All opinions are 100% my own. Nothing was given to me for free, or provided for review, etc. Please recycle and do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

This Little Rut of Mine....

make it bake it buy it fake it (tea collage)
Just thought I'd pop in and let you know I'm still around. It's been a while and I've missed you! What has it been, nearly almost somewhere around three whole entire years since I've posted anything? Yeah, and then some. But you know, even back when I was posting semi-erratically, the span of time between posts had been getting longer and longer. It made me ponder more than once whether I should even begin anew.

I find it interesting that I just wrote "begin anew", instead of using the word "continue". Maybe that's key. I often wondered (doubted) if I even could continue to write the way I had been before. Or if I even wanted to? Serious doubt. But perhaps the trick isn't to continue with what I was doing, but instead, to begin anew. Neither starting back at the beginning, nor resuming from where I left off. After all, I'm not the person I was three years ago. None of us are. Better to forge ahead from where I'm at right now.

There will be no "starting over" either... a term that, for some reason, just sounds too depressing for words (and way too much work). To begin anew though, implies hope... possibilities... adventure... romance! Okay, results may vary, but who knows? It smacks of the unknown future which is always brighter than dredging through the well known old rut. A new start from this point on, which I find infinitely more interesting than current pop-culture's oh-so-boring over-fondness for the reboot (just another word for re-do, restart, or do-over).

So, yes, there will be new posts to come. Semi-erratically, 'cuz that's how I roll. And since this was never intended to be just a food blog, there will be more crafts, and other... stuff (gardening/health/beauty/musings/rants), as well as more recipe reviews. For now though, let's just see where things take us. After all, there are times when do-overs are necessary, this just isn't one of them.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Brick Walls, Vintage Computers, and Cherry Flavored Birdseed

Just when everything looks like it's starting to get back on track and within sight, when things start going your way (or going again at all)... well, that's when a brick wall suddenly materializes right in your path. Kapow. A cheerful thought, I know.

Our computer died last week. D.E.A.D. Miraculously, I was able to get everything off the hard drive before it's last gasping breath. I had gotten quite lazy with backups... I'm cured of that now, let me tell you. By the way, when was the last time you backed up your hard drive, hmm? To paraphrase something I read recently:
The best time to back up your hard drive is an hour ago.
The second best time... is right now.
As if I didn't have enough hurdles in the way of getting back into a more regular blogging schedule, this latest one is fairly insurmountable. We just don't have the funds for a new (or even new-to-us) computer at the moment. And until we do, it's back to the Cuter Computer for us (the little old iMac that we bought when we were first married). I don't call it "The Trooper" for nothing. That little blueberry has now outlasted two bigger, newer, faster computers, and just keeps on truckin'... slowly and seriously limited in it's capabilities... but it boots up and it works. Dependably. Truckin' along. Though some might consider it, technologically speaking, the dark ages. All I can say is: C'est La Vie... this is our new normal... it is what it is... and all that rot.

Perhaps this break is a good thing? Giving up blogging and Pinterest for Lent would be suitably sacrificial in this day and age (though perhaps a more meaningful exercise had I chosen to give it up). Regardless of how, when, and why it happened, turning my back for a while on the spammers, scrapers, and other leeches who suck the joy out of blogging... might be nice at that. Unfortunately, I will also miss the people and things that put the joy into it as well.

During this downtime, I'll continue to Make it, Bake it, Buy it, and Fake it... in other words, I'll keep writing and photographing for future posts. But I also plan to...

  • Work diligently on my quilt project (the piecing is almost done! Yea!)
  • Catch up on a few books I've been wanting to read*
  • Clean out my refrigerator (it is way past due)
  • Try to find out why they put artificial cherry flavoring in the wild birdseed we buy (seriously!)
  • Get to the bottom of why it's easier to eat a larger portion of mashed potatoes than baked potatoes.
So stay well, keep busy (or not), have a lovely Valentine's Day, and if you happen to win the lottery or have a spare logic board laying around**... think of me!  :^)

*Starting with: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
**for an iMac G5 17" with iSight (never hurts to ask, right?)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sweet Potato & Cous Cous Breakfast Hash

Sweet Potato & Cous Cous Breakfast Hash
We all know by now how very healthy sweet potatoes are, right? Deeply orange all the way through... that's all good. It's nothin' but good. The problem is, we don't eat them all that often (in other words, I don't cook with them all that often). Well I knew that needed to change, so back in November we bought the BIG BAG of sweet potatoes at Costco. Since then we've been learning to love them for other reasons too. For instance, just how well they keep in the pantry...

We ate them in November. We ate them in December. We even took them with us on a long road trip to visit family... and baked some up out of town. We came back home with three left and none had any sign of being past it's prime. Folks, this is one tenacious tuber!

So, the other day I made the ultimate breakfast. The ultimate "everything-my-husband-hates" breakfast, actually. I just wasn't thinking. Or rather, I was thinking of how good the recipe sounded (to me), how it would use up stuff we already had on hand, and how nice it would be to make something different for breakfast. What I wasn't thinking about, was the Hub-ster. 

When I asked him how he liked it, he said, "Well considering it's got almost everything I don't like in it*... it's not bad." And here I was soooo proud of myself. Whoops! Well, what can I say? I liked it a lot and if you don't hate the stuff that's in it... you'll probably like it too!

Sweet Potato & Cous Cous Breakfast Hash
adapted from Quinoa Sweet Potato Hash at Grocery Shrink
Serves: 4

½ cup cous cous
3 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1½ cups bell peppers, sliced
1 cup water
¼ cup dried mushrooms
2 - 4 eggs
  1. Put the cous cous in a large dry pan. Turn to Medium heat and toast the cous cous for a couple of minutes, shaking the pan often. When the color deepens and it smells nutty...
  2. Add the bacon and fresh vegetables. Sauté for approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Add the water and the dried mushrooms. 
  4. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn the burner down to Low. 
  5. After 15 minutes, check amount of water remaining. When it's all (or mostly) absorbed remove the lid.
  6. With a spoon or spatula, make spots for the eggs to cook in. One divot for each egg. (Depending on your pan, you may want to put a little fat in each divot to keep the eggs from sticking.)
  7. Crack an egg into each space that you made, cover the pan again, and cook for 3 minutes (or until eggs are cooked to your satisfaction).
  8. Dish up the eggs and hash, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Notes: Make sure the spots for the eggs to cook in are wide enough! The first time I made this, my divots were too small and it took forever for the eggs to cook completely (which means they got overcooked. If this happens, just chop up the eggs and mix them into the rest of the hash. It will still taste great!). 

I think I also just had too much in the pan (those Costco sweet potatoes are huge). If this happens, or if your pan isn't big enough, remove some of the hash before adding the eggs. It will keep really well in the fridge for another day (or you can transfer it to another pan if you're serving all of it). 

We had so much left over that what you see in the photo is the leftovers the following day. I put some fat in the pan, added the leftover hash and covered it. It only took a few minutes to reheat on Med/Low, then I made divots and cracked in new eggs. I think it actually tasted better the next day.
*For the record... he had absolutely no issues with the eggs or bacon. He has, over the years learned to appreciate mushrooms, onions and bell peppers for the flavor that they add to dishes, and will tolerate cous cous now and then (especially with rosemary and lemon). The sweet potatoes... we're working on them. Baby steps!