Why You Should Be Eating (& Drinking!) Turmeric

Turmeric

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the astounding health benefits of turmeric.  I’ve always had a bottle of the dried stuff lurking somewhere in the back of my spice rack, but until recently, it rarely found its way into my cooking.

Turmeric is a root with tough brown skin and bright yellow-orange flesh – you’ll most often find it used in Indian, Pakistani, Persian and Thai cuisine.  In addition to imparting wonderful earthy flavor and bright color into whatever you cook it with, turmeric also contains anti oxidant, anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti carcinogenic, anti mutagenic, and anti inflammatory properties – that’s a lot of really good antis.  Turmeric contains a powerful substance called curcumin, which has been linked to cancer prevention (including slowing the growth of preexisting cancerous tumors and destroying cancer cells), relief from arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease prevention (and also slowing the progression of the disease), reduced risk of heart disease, liver detoxification, reduced cholesterol, reduced weight gain, regulated insulin levels, reduced cramping, and a strengthened immune system.  Ah, yeah…I’m convinced.

Once I started reading about how this little root can do so much for our health and bodies, I decided to make a concerted effort to regularly incorporate it into my diet.  I still have turmeric powder, but I’m a big believer in using food in its whole and original form (when possible) so I ordered a few pounds of the fresh stuff online (you can also find fresh turmeric root occasionally at Whole Foods and other health stores).

I prep turmeric by peeling it with my favorite vegetable peeler and then either slicing, chopping, mincing, or finely grating it (with a Microplane) into whatever it is I’m cooking it with.  I store whatever I’m not using either in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator, or tightly wrapped up in the freezer.

Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate turmeric (both ground and fresh) into my diet:

  • Blended into a smoothie or green juice
  • Steeped in hot water with ginger and a little agave (recipe here)
  • Grated into marinades (for tofu, tempeh & veggies), sauces, and salad dressings
  • Grated into pots of rice, quinoa, and other grains, and beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Grated into homemade veggie burger/lentil loaf mixtures
  • Tossed into tofu scrambles
  • Thinly sliced into stir fries
  • Minced and used in soups, stews, curries and broths
  • Chopped and roasted with vegetables and/or potatoes
  • Sprinkled on top of cooked dark leafy greens

What are your favorite ways to use turmeric?

(image via Pinterest)

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5 Sites I’m Loving Right Now

5 Sites I'm Loving Right Now

Along with my beloved morning coffee, my most essential AM ritual is scrolling through my favorite blogs and websites before getting started on the (ahem) more productive aspects of my day.  Most of my favorite sites are linked over on the right side of the blog (under “Link Love”), but there are a few others that I’ve been turning to every day for recipe ideas, wellness advice, exercise motivation, and just generally smart, readable content.  Here are 5 sites that I’m loving right now:

Well + Good NYC: While this site is technically geared toward the NYC metro area, I think that the large majority of their content is applicable to health conscious people worldwide.  Some of my favorite features are the “Refrigerator Look Book” (a glimpse into the fridges of healthy New Yorkers), and the Pantry Primers.  Lots of great workout inspiration here too, if you’re motivationally challenged like me.

MindBodyGreen: I only just discovered MindBodyGreen a few weeks ago and I’m so glad I did!  I love this website for its sound, up-to-speed diet advice, frequent vegan recipes, and holistic approach to health/wellness.

Darling Magazine: While this is not a health specific website, I love Darling Magazine, a relatively new online magazine geared toward women and the art of living well!  I come here for articles on entertaining, beauty, wine, blogging, travel and business, to name a few.

Dark RyeYou may have already heard of Dark Rye, the award winning online magazine from Whole Foods Market.  I love this site for its up-to-the-minute coverage on food trends, seasonal cooking inspiration, and smart posts on sustainability, technology, travel, and cocktail culture.

Well Blog (New York Times): Ok, so linking to a New York Times blog might be a bit of a cheat here, but I couldn’t in good conscience leave it off this list considering how often I find myself spending considerable time reading through its very well researched and written articles on all things health/wellness.  You’ll find articles here on everything from green-ing your home, to the psychological health benefits of exercise, to the latest medical research behind popular diets/foods.

What are some of your favorite websites?

[original image via Pinterest]

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Friday Link Love

Cherry Blossoms

image via Pinterest

 Happy Friday!  Some good stuff ’round the internet to kick off your weekend…

Need this coffee mug.

I’m pretty sure I could watch Jon Hamm photobomb people indefinitely.

Tips on how to plate food like a pro.

Can your phone help you get a good night’s sleep?

Inside a woman’s mind at Target.  Amazing.

Behind the scenes of the brilliant President Obama edition of “Between Two Ferns”.

Science gets behind the Five Second Rule.

I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to eat these mint chocolate chip bars.

Did you see Sarah Jessica Parker’s cute video interview for Vogue?

How to keep a cut avocado fresh.

German shepherd puppies and baby piglets = head exploding.

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Glass Food Storage Containers

Glasslock ContainersI recently read an eye opening article on how even BPA-free plastics carry significant health risks, and so I decided to finally swap out my plastic food storage containers for glass ones.  Turns out that when BPA-free plastics were tested in a lab, more than 25% came back positive for estrogenic activity (elevated estrogen levels are linked to issues with brain and organ development, as well as increased risk for breast cancer and other diseases).

I did a quick search for glass containers on Amazon and decided to purchase this tempered glass set with locking lids.  I just received my new glass containers in the mail and LOVE. THEM.  The set comes with both rectangular, square and circular containers in a variety of sizes.  Aside from being sturdy, leak-proof, oven/freezer/dishwasher/microwave safe, they look so much nicer in my fridge than the dingy plastic containers that I’ve been using for years.  Such a worthwhile swap!

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5 Essential Vegan Cookbooks

By now you’re probably aware of my compulsion for buying new cookbooks.  With veganism/vegetarianism on the rise, there are tons of veg-friendly books coming out each year.  Here are some of my favorites, both old and new, that I think are essential for any vegetarian (or veg-curious!) kitchen.

Isa Does It

Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

If you’re already vegan, you’ve probably heard of both Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her newest cookbook, Isa Does It.  Isa is the reigning queen of vegan cookbook authors (at least in my opinion) and her newest book does not disappoint.  Isa Does It contains nearly 200 recipes and gorgeous photos.  The best part: almost every recipe in the book is totally approachable and weeknight friendly.  I can’t get enough of the Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl with Tofu & Kale and the Tempeh Meatballs with Spicy Slurpy Spaghetti.

Veganomicon

Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

I consider Veganomicon to be the Joy of Cooking of the vegan food world, aka the cookbook that every veg-friendly home cook should own.  It contains over 250 recipes, covering everything from brunch to appetizers to entrees to desserts.  Not all of the recipes contain an accompanying photo, which is kind of a bummer, but the delicious results of everything I’ve cooked out of this book more than make up for it.  My favorites include the Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe with Rotelle, the Potato and Kale Enchiladas with Roasted Chile Sauce, and the Chickpea Cutlets.

Clean FoodClean Food by Terry Walters

I first stumbled upon Clean Food when I was meeting with a potential client, and she couldn’t stop raving about all of the delicious recipes that she’d made from this book.  Of course I ordered it from my phone on my train ride home (like a lunatic) and it’s now one of my go-to sources for wholesome, seasonal recipes.  Clean Food isn’t advertised or labeled as a vegan cookbook, but it secretly is (shh).  What I like most about this book is that the author has a holistic approach to cooking, and gives an extensive introduction on the health benefits of whole grains, veggies, legumes, soy, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and fruits before delving into the recipes (which are divided up by season).  My favorites are the Butternut Squash Casserole, the Raw Kale Salad with Great Northern Beans and Kalamata Olives, the Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews, and the Spiced Kukicha Iced Tea.

The Vegan Table

The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick Goudreau

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that it was Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s incredible Food for Thought podcast that inspired me to go vegan last spring.  Truth be told, Colleen brought me over to “the other side” not with sad tales of factory farming, but with mouth watering descriptions of all of the yummy foods that are part of a healthy vegan diet.  It was through listening to her that I realized that this is definitely not a lifestyle rooted in deprivation, but rather delicious abundance.  Her cookbook The Vegan Table is focused on entertaining and contains 200 recipes that will make you wonder why you haven’t been vegan all along.  My favorites include the Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pies, the Mushroom Walnut Pate, the Pumpkin Curry, and the Peach and Pecan Muffins (which disappear within minutes any time I bake them for my family!).

Forks Over Knives CookbookForks Over Knives: The Cookbook by Del Sroufe

This cookbook was published as a companion to the well known documentary Forks Over Knives, which “examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, if not reversed, by rejecting animal based and processed foods.”  It contains over 300 recipes, and while it’s not the prettiest vegan cookbook out there, there’s a reason why it’s currently ranked as the #1 Bestseller in Vegetarian Cookbooks on Amazon: the recipes are not only incredible, but this is probably the BEST entry level vegetarian/vegan cookbook I’ve come across for the sole reason that there are practically no recipes for tempeh, seitan, and tofu (ingredients that, while delicious and familiar to many, can be foreign to those new to vegetarian/vegan cooking).  Be sure to try the Curried Millet Cakes with Red Pepper Coriander Sauce, the Red Lentil Dal, the Penne with Spinach Bechemel, and the White Bean Chili with Jalapeño and Lime.  There’s also a whole dessert section (written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) with treats such as Peanut Butter Granola Bars, Better than Mom’s Banana Bread, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

What vegan cookbooks are your favorites?

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