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Well Fed Yogi: Inflammation

Well Fed Yogi: Inflammation

The Well Fed Yogi

Turmeric is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory rockstar. From the outside, a turmeric root isn’t much to look at, but inside it’s a different story. When you slice into the root you discover a beautiful bright orange color. The vibrancy of the color is from curcumin, turmeric’s main active ingredient. Curcumin not only works to block damage-causing free radicals in the body but greatly aids the body’s own antioxidant mechanisms. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for the body to absorb curcumin naturally but when combined in cooking with black pepper and a fat (such as coconut milk), it enhances the absorption in the body and allows its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to work their magic.

Although a certain amount of inflammation in the body is natural and necessary, many of us are plagued by chronic inflammation which is highly dangerous to our health. Study after study has shown curcumin in turmeric to help in the treatment of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and depression. It’s a hugely powerful compound which has been used for centuries in other cultures and in alternative medicines, such as Ayurvedic medicine from India.

Turmeric is easy to incorporate into your cooking. You can use fresh or dried. To grate fresh turmeric, peel it and then use a microplane or a small cheese grater. Watch out as its pigment is so rich, it will stain your fingers bright orange. If you can’t find it fresh, you can substitute dried ground. About two inches of fresh turmeric root will yield 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated spice, and 1 teaspoon of dried spice is equal to 1 tablespoon of fresh.

Turmeric Lentil Dahl

Ingredients

  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric or 1 tablespoon of fresh
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils (green yellow or red)
  • 1 13.5oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Fresh cilantro and mint for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil or coconut oil in a large pan or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onion and cook on a low heat until translucent, sprinkle over the salt to help prevent burning. Stir now and then to ensure even cooking.
  3. Add the garlic, turmeric, black pepper, cumin and ground coriander. Stir well and allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lentils, combine well. Add the coconut milk, tomato puree and broth. Stir well, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pot.
  4. Allow to simmer for about 40 to 50 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it, if the mixture is too thick add more broth.
  5. When the lentils are tender remove from heat, and stir in the juice of a lemon. Garnish with fresh cilantro and mint and serve with rice.

Turmeric Pumpkin Latte

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree OR 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of black pepper (to activate the turmeric)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Optional sweeteners like maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blitz like crazy until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the blended mixture into a pan and heat. You can whisk it up to a frothy mixture if desired.
  3. Pour into a large cup, sip and enjoy.

Mary Callan is a Board-Certified Holistic Nutritionist and 500-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher.

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