29 March 2013

Top Five Friday: Turmeric - Healthy and Delicious!

Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can cure the patient with food.
~ Hippocrates

F
ood is medicine.

Last Friday, I talked about gluten and how being gluten-free is a healthier way to eat.  One of my friends asked if I had any turmeric recipes, so today, I’m going to highlight the health benefits of this root and post some recipes that showcase its great flavor.

Herb, Spice, Huh?
Before we talk about the health benefits, let’s get one thing settled.  What is the difference between and herb, a spice, and a root? Or is there one?

Webster defines an herb as:
1. a seed-producing annual, biennial, or perennial that does not develop persistent woody tissue but dies down at the end of a growing season

2: a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities
And spice as: An aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavor food, e.g., cloves, pepper, or mace.

Mother Earth Living further says:
Herbs are obtained from the leaves of plants that do not have woody stems. They tend to thrive in more temperate climates, and can be used fresh or dry. Spices, on the other hand, can be obtained from woody or non-woody plants and are always dried before use. Except for the leaves, all other parts of the plant are spices, including the seeds, fruits, flowers and bark. Spices are usually native to hot, tropical climates. Additionally, while herbs sometimes seem to have more medicinal properties than spices do, most herbs and spices have both flavoring and healing properties. (Sarah McCabe, December 2012)
What does all this mean?  Turmeric, which is a perennial shrub, comes from the root, so it’s a spice.
Turmeric: Spice is Nice
Chinese medicine has long used turmeric to treat various ailments: arthritis, cancer, cuts, digestive issues, and as a liver cleanse.  In some cases, it can also act as a mild anti-depressant.  Studies show that this is due to curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. More at Mother Earth Living.

Any way you grate it, turmeric is a great spice to add to your favorite Indian inspired dishes and I have my top five to share with you today.  And since today is Good Friday, those who are abstaining from meat can make any of the recipes here meatless.

My gluten-free detox is officially at an end, but I have so much more energy and pep these days that I’ve decided I’m going to continue to keep it off my plate indefinitely.  I’m also still keeping my chicken consumption down as well, so for this recipe I use lean pork or leave meat out all together.

You can add chicken, lamb, or beef to this soup if you want.  Lamb would be heavenly, but I leave it out usually and use vegetable broth instead of beef because I want to keep my meat consumption low.  Leave out the pasta or use a quinoa or corn based pasta to keep this gluten-free.

If Popeye lived in India, this is what he would eat.  And I can have as much of this soup as I want during my detox – no gluten and no white food to raise my glucose levels.  Speaking of, did you know that the body cannot tell the difference between a white potato and a Snickers bar?  They’re on the same level on the glycemic index.  Insane!!  So when I thought I was doing the right thing by eating a baked potato ~ not so much.  Eat a yam or sweet potato instead!

Another soup!?  WTH!?  I know, but soup is “souper” easy to make and it fills you up without weighing you down.  Substitute mushrooms for the white potatoes to give it a hearty feel.

I eat mostly vegan and raw, but I do love meat.  So for my healthy carnivore readers, here is a turmeric recipe for you.  And hey, it’s not soup!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
To find out more about the health benefits of turmeric, visit these websites:

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