Tis the season! April showers may bring May flowers, but with the changing seasons, I find it also brings missed workouts owing to joint pain and sinus headaches.
Both increased joint pains and sinus headaches can be attributed to changes in barometic pressure. As barometric pressure drops and lower air pressure pushes less against the body, soft tissue expands, leading to increased pressure on joints and sinus cavities.
So what to do? Start your day with this cup of liquid gold!
Curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its beautiful colour and rich flavour, has been definitively deemed to carry anti-inflammatory powers. Although its exact pathways still aren’t completely understood, many studies highlight its efficacy in treating a myriad of ailments, including managing symptoms of chronic heartburn, decreasing the risk of heart attack in bypass patients, preventing the onset of Type II Diabetes in borderline patients, and improving cancer treatment outcomes (in animals, as research on humans is still limited).
While plenty of studies have been conducted on the use of turmeric in treating inflammation, I can only speak for what the wonder spice does for me, personally. Anecdotally, I experience much less discomfort in my arthritic joints, sore or injured muscles, and stuffed up nasal passages. A fair number of allergens send me reaching for the Benedryl if I am not on top of things, nutritionally.
Because a girl can only add turmeric to so many dishes before her husband complains about the over-abundance of yellow in every dish, I like to make these special little lattes. And yes, I call them lattes. It makes me feel like I am indulging in a special little treat and solves the dilemma of needing a hot morning cuppa that isn't just java.
Now, a short side note on the spices used in this little recipe -- turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon. Turmeric is used for its proven efficacy as an anti-inflammatory agent owing to the curcumin present in the spice. But it is important to understand that turmeric on its own is not enough. The piperine in black pepper makes curcumin more bioavailable (by over 2000% vs no piperine at all). The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is a known anti-microbial great for staving off infections in us allergy sufferers battling with post-nasal drip. Add to that, the presence of arachidonic acid in cinnamon, which is “inflammatory fatty acid,” you further boost the anti-inflammatory properties of your recipe two-fold.
And, another side note on milk. Personally, I find cow's milk makes me more congested during seasonal changes. While dairy itself does not produce phelgm, it thickens phelgm that is already present when something like a runny nose turns into post-nasal drip. For this reason, I opt for coconut or almond milk. Since almond milk is so easy to make at home, this one usually wins out on this recipe, but you can certainly try different milks to see what tastes and works best for you.
If going the almond route, you will want to get that started in advance since your almonds will need to be soaked for at least an hour. I like to soak mine overnight. No sense sitting around staring at a bowl of soaking almonds all day. After your almonds are nice and plump, rinse them under cold water, then chuck them into your blender with some water (1:2 cup ratio of nuts to water yields a consistency on par with 2% milk, so adjust the amount of water to less for more of a cream or more for more of a non-fat milk, according to your preference). Strain your almond milk through a cheese cloth lined strainer to remove the grit.
But hang on, after you wring out all the milk from that cheese cloth, keep that almond meal. That stuff is golden! Spread your discarded almond meal onto a baking sheet and dry in a oven at 150 degrees for an hour or two. It makes an excellent bread crumb replacement in meatballs and loaves.
Okay, so your milk is ready. Let's begin!
2 cups of almond/coconut milk
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of local honey
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
Sprinkle of fresh black pepper
Cinnamon stick (optional)
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, begin to melt your coconut oil. Once it liquifies, stir in milk, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon and heat over a moderate flame. Once it begins to simmer, add freshly grated ginger and honey. Whisk until well combined.
Now, this part is not necessary, but I like to transfer the mixture to the blender. Set it to high for a minute and let the mixture become frothy and smooth.
Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy garnished with a cinnamon stick.
You can store leftovers up to 3 days in the refrigerator to be heated on the stovetop later. Just be sure to allow the mixture to cool completely before sealing it up in your airtight container.
You can save time and make golden paste ahead of time to add to your recipes, warmed milk and other treats. But, before you go nutso on turmeric, be aware that curcumin, while being a wonderful anti-inflammatory agent, is also a blood thinner. If you are taking any medication where the anti-coagulating properties of curcumin could be an issue, please consult with your physician before making the paste a part of your everyday routine.
Happy spring, friends!
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.