It’s National Nutrition Month, so I’m celebrating by sharing two simple changes I made to my diet that have made a tremendous impact on my overall health.
My family is not exactly a healthy bunch. Between the Hashimoto’s disease, liver ailments, depression, diabetes and arthritis that have afflicted one or more members of my family, the odds are not in my favor to live a disease-free life. Over the years, I’ve worked enthusiastically to find the right combination of food and lifestyle that would at least give me a fighting chance to live a long and healthy life.
I stopped eating red meat when I was 16. I was pescetarian for most of my adult life. Eight years ago I cut out all preservatives and refined sugar, and switched to organic, non-GMO foods. My diet today is predominantly vegan, thanks in part to my partner who is as well, mainly for the tremendous health benefits of eating plant-based proteins. I meditate daily, and exercise in some form six days a week. I also laugh as often as I can.
So, I’m doing great, right? Well, the thing is that I’m lazy. I hate remembering to take supplements and I can’t be bothered to make smoothies or juice massive bales of kale. What I sought to do was find the easiest way to prevent these illnesses that lurk in my DNA.
And I found two powerful ways to do just that.
If I were in charge of the world, every cafe in existence would have this stuff on the menu. (Hear that, Starbucks?) Golden Milk has exactly three ingredients: turmeric, black pepper and almond (oat/hemp/coconut/etc.) milk. There are a few seasonings as well, but I’ll get to that. First, some sciencey stuff:
The main ingredient, turmeric (Curcumin longa) is a type of ginger that contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that is a major part of Indian cuisine. In fact, Indians have traditionally used turmeric to treat diabetes, bronchitis and laryngitis. More recent studies have shown curcumin can assist in cancer treatment, by regulating the growth and spread of tumors.
Because of curcumin’s anti-inflammatory agents, regular ingestion of turmeric is an excellent preventive measure against arthritis, liver toxicity, digestive ailments, high blood pressure, neurological conditions and general immunity.
But if eating Indian food every day isn’t your thing, Golden Milk is the next best option. And it tastes excellent—a bit like chai. In fact, for three months, I replaced coffee with this stuff (and I do love my coffee). Barring a mild headache for the first week, I didn’t miss the coffee at all. Even if you can’t part with your coffee, try Golden Milk at night before bed as a wind-down-your-day treat.
Here’s the recipe:
Step 1: Turmeric Paste
- 1/4 cup of turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon of ground pepper*
- 1/2 cup of filtered water
*Black pepper enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times.
Mix ingredients in a small a small saucepan and mix well. Turn the heat to medium high and stir constantly until the mixture is a thick paste. Add water as necessary.
Let this mixture cool and then keep it in a small glass jar in the fridge.
Step 2: Golden Milk
- 1 cup of almond milk (hemp or coconut are also good options)
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste
- Honey (or other natural sweetener, if you like. I use stevia.)
Combine all the ingredients, except honey/sweetener in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. While heating make sure to stir constantly and do not allow the mixture to boil. Add honey/sweetener to taste.
Note: I sprinkle some cayenne and cinnamon or nutmeg into it. If you’re feeling adventuresome, crush up some cardamom pods and place them in the saucepan as well. When you serve the drink, strain liquid through a tea strainer to catch the pods/seeds.
Drink one cup of Golden Milk a day, or use up to 1 t. of Turmeric Paste per day.
Chlorophyll? As in the green stuff that plants use to photosynthesize? Yes. That stuff.
But before you start gagging, give this little miracle beverage a chance. Again, more sciencey stuff:
Chlorophyll is essentially food for your cells. More specifically, it’s the molecule that acts as fuel for the mitochondria of your cells. As you might recall from high school Biology class, the mitochondria is the power center of each cell. That is, it’s the thing that gives a cell energy to do important things like perform mitosis (cell reproduction). Healthy cell reproduction is vital for a host of reasons, not the least of which is to promote the vivacity of the body as a whole. (New cells are healthier than old ones.)
There are a number of other health benefits to ingesting chlorophyll, including:
- blood health
- treatment of halitosis (bad breath)
- delivery of Magnesium (which, in turn, brings oxygen to cells)
- wound healing
- anti-carcinogenic (it blocks the metabolism of harmful, DNA-damaging chemicals)
- heavy metal chelation (binds to and removes heavy toxic metals like mercury)
Here is an excellent resource that goes into more detail about the benefits of chlorophyll.
It’s perfectly effective to take chlorophyll in tablet format (when he was a toddler, my son used to eat them by the tiny fistful), but I prefer liquid format. There’s a very simple recipe I use to make a delicious chlorophyll drink. My son has dubbed it…
The Green Drink
- 1 cup of spring water
- 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll
- 1/2 cup of your favorite organic juice (no sugar added)*
Combine all the ingredients in a tall glass or traveler. Add ice if desired. Mix.
*Note: For an excellent drink to take to the gym (or sip on at home), you can replace the juice with a packet of Emergen-C (or some other) drinkable vitamin supplement.
Drink once a day.
I don’t guarantee these two elixirs Golden Milk and liquid chlorophyll will make any of us live forever, but I can tell you the beverages themselves taste amazing. And I’m fairly certain they’re a big part of why I’ve been pain- and illness-free for the last two years. Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Breville USA/Flickr