Tag Archives: Garlic

Spice of Life

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So, I love Indian food. I think I can say without hesitation that it is one of my favorite cuisines out there. It is relatively healthy, has a lovely kick, and just so much flavor! Plus, the spectrum of flavors (and colors!) blows my mind.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

Spices are an important part of Indian cuisine, and have been used historically for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Ancient Ayurvedic medicine relied on many natural remedies, and the health-boosting ingredients are still used in Indian cooking today to create food that is not only bursting with flavor but good for you as well.

Some of the common spices and herbs used in Indian recipes are as follows:

AMCHUR –Dry mango powder made from unripened, sun dried fruit. Tart flavor and carries all the nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins found in whole mangoes. Rich in iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, and aids digestion.

BAY LEAVES –Very aromatic leaves that come from the cassia tree. They have a rich, woody flavor and light floral scent. It has many antibacterial, digestive, and antifungal properties, and is thought to benefit patients with diabetes and arthritis. In addition, they have been known to help with stress and anxiety.
 
BLACK PEPPER – An old, classic spice. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and is thought to aid in digestion, boost metabolism, and help clear congestion.

CARDAMOM –Cardamom pods contain small, black seeds with a strong, versatile flavor. They are used in many Indian dishes, drinks, and desserts. Cardamom has also been used traditionally to treat ailments of the teeth or gums, aid in digestion, and pulmonary congestion as well as a breath freshener.
 
CAYENNE PEPPER – Made from dried and ground hot chili peppers. High in vitamin A, and contains vitamins B6, E, C, and potassium. It also has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties, and can boost your metabolism.
 
CINNAMON – Obtained from the inner bark of a certain tree; used in the production of chocolate and to flavor a variety of desserts and savory dishes. Cinnamon is also thought to help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and have antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
 
CORIANDER – Comes from same plant as cilantro (but are the fruits)! Used in a variety of world cuisines. The fresh, fragrant leaves have a stronger citrus flavor than the fruits, and are often used in garnishes and chutneys. May be ground and used as a flavoring agent. Coriander is a source of calcium, iron, and magnesium, and is used as a home remedy to treat colds, to help regulate blood sugar, cholesterol, and free-radical production.
 
CUMIN – A member of the parsley family. Its seeds are extracted from the plant’s fruit and used whole or ground. It has a distinct earthy, peppery flavor. Cumin is believed to aid digestion and enhance appetite. It is also a source of iron and antioxidants, and may even boost the immune system and help the liver’s natural detoxification process.

FENUGREEK LEAVES – Native to South Asia and Southeastern Europe, fenugreek leaves resemble clover leaves.  They have been found to slow absorption of sugars in the stomach and stimulate insulin, helping lower blood sugar.  They have also been seen to be beneficial in treating kidney ailments, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, as well as aiding in digestion.
 
GARLIC – Garlic has a characteristic flavor that lends itself to a wide range of cooking. It is rich in sulfurous compounds, manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. Garlic has also been shown to have many health benefits, including the ability to help regulate blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to boost cardiovascular health.
 
GINGER – A versatile flavoring agent in many savory dishes, as well as teas and desserts. Also known for its various antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and is often used in home remedies for colds, and to relieve certain types of arthritic pain and motion sickness.
 
MINT –Used to flavor a variety of savory dishes, teas and desserts. A distinctive sweetness and cooling aftertaste. Also thought to have medicinal value, and to help to alleviate stomach pain and mild congestion. It can also provide relief from nausea or headaches, and is a natural stimulant that may help ward off fatigue.
 
NUTMEG  A fragrant spice made from the large ground seeds of an evergreen tree. Unique flavor that is both sweet and savory. Nutmeg also has anti-inflammatory properties and may aid in digestion.
 
TAMARIND – The tamarind tree yields fruit pods that are reddish brown when ripe. A sweet and sour taste. It has B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. Also thought to help lower cholesterol, promote heart health, and help fight against common ailments such as colds and fevers.
 
TURMERIC – Typically boiled, dried, and ground into a rich yellow-orange powder, but may also be used fresh. Earthy, lightly peppery flavor and  used to season and color many dishes in Indian cuisine. Turmeric has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and has been used in ancient medicine to treat stomach and liver ailments, arthritis, and of skin conditions.

Good stuff, right?! If you live in the Rhode Island area and ever have a hankering for delicious Indian cuisine, let me know and I will certainly give you recommendations!

Garlic: The Onion Gen{i}us

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Bonjour,

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted some juice recipes. Lately, I’ve been on a kick where I am looking out for my skin. I’ve  been purchasing all natural, locally made face washes and skin moisturizers, and it seems only logical to translate this ideal to what I ingest. You are what you eat, right?

Garlic seems to be a crucial ingredient in juices when nourishing the skin is concerned. Below are two that I came across. I know they may not be the most appealing ingredients, but it’s way cheaper and less painful then various other procedures!

(1) GARLIC VEGETABLE JUICE

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 large tree broccoli
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 large bunch kale

Peel the garlic and juice along with the rest of the veggies. I would recommend juicing garlic first, so that the rest of the ingredients clear the garlic scent from your juicer.

(2) GARLIC APPLE JUICE

  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 apples (Granny Smith)
  • 1 bell pepper (Red)

Peel the garlic and juice along with rest of ingredients. Again, probable best to juice the garlic first.

*NOTE: You may think you can handle more than one clove of garlic, and I 100% bet that you can. However, stick to one. It’s the ideal amount to have in one day.

Now, let’s table about why garlic is so awesome, especially when eaten raw. Better yet, when juiced. I know it may not smell that magnificent, but it really is worth the stink.

Fun Fact: To reduce garlic breath, try wrapping garlic cloves in greens when juicing, such as spinach or cilantro. It would appear that chlorophyll binds to the stinky smell; because science.

~ Garlic has an anti-microbial effect, which also helps the immune system.
~ Garlic is an excellent source of vitamins, including A, B-complex, and C. It also supplies minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, calcium, copper, potassium, and iron.
~ Garlic contains anti-oxidants, which helps neutralize free radicals in the body.
~ Garlic contains amino acids, essential oils, and trace minerals including germanium, selenium, and tellurium.

Additionally, it has been mentioned in literature that garlic helps (but does not cure) the following disorders:

  • Common Cold (helps relieve congestion)
  • Thrombosis (garlic acts as an anti-coagulant)
  • Cholesterol (reduces build-up of plaque in arteries)
  • Diabetes (lowers blood sugar levels)
  • Fungal Infections (ex: athlete’s foot or ear infections)
  • Peptic Ulcer (it’s good against the bacterial stomach parasite that causes the ulcers)
  • “Wind” (small amounts can help relieve gas in stomach

You’re Doing It Wrong

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First and foremost, I suggest you Google that phrase (“you’re doing it wrong”). People these days…

Also, for a second I would like to admit that I have gained an appreciation for audio books, while at the same time becoming in love once more with the library (why did I ever stop?!). I work walking distance from my town’s library, so I have now made it a habit to stop by at least once a week and a) check out many, many beautiful books, b) rent movies, and c) gain an appreciation for books on tape. Don’t get me wrong, reading is still superior – when you are actually reading the words on pages, but audio has its place in the world. I spend a lot of time in my beloved car – especially commuting to campus – so audio books are sort of a win-win for me. The time passes much quicker, and I get to have a story read to me! It’s fantastic. So far I’ve listened to a crap ton of Stephen King novels (see my “books” section for a full list). There’s no explanation for the random King binge; it’s just happening and is long overdue.

Now. The point of this post is to share with you all 10 foods that are commonly ingested in the wrong way; hence the title. So pay close attention as this will only be of benefit.

Note: Doing It Wrong is derived from the work of two registered dietitians who addressed the biggest mistakes, which are preventing the public from extracting the most vitamins and minerals from certain foods.

  1. Asparagus. Don’t zap it! Aka cook in the microwave. First of all, microwaves are mildly sketchy to begin with, so avoid them if you can. This method has also been found to deplete this vegetable’s vitamin C content due to being water-soluble. Try steaming or stir-frying instead, and eat when it is tender and crisp and not mushy and soft. Also, save the leftover water! It happens to be rich in vitamins and minerals and can make a great addition to sauce or soup.
  2. Grilled Meat. Apparently, grilling meat at high temperatures over an open flame may increase cancer risk; but honestly, what doesn’t these days? The worst method of meat cooking seems to be char-grilling, so maybe stick to a less intense heated grille. They also recommend you use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat instead of relying on looks.
  3. Tomatoes. In order to maximize the absorption of lycopene (a phyronutrient in these bad boys that is supposedly cancer and heart disease fighting), it’s best to cook them. This will also increase their antioxidant content. Honestly, though, I like ’em raw.
  4. Flaxseeds. These puppies are high in fiber, rich in lignans and heart-healthy omega-3s, BUT you only reap these benefits if they are ground! You’re body can’t digest them otherwise. They sell them pre-ground, but it’s also easy to do it yourself.
  5. Black Tea. Don’t add milk; just don’t do it. First of all, it taints the flavor (*gasp*), but more importantly, milk – or any dairy – has been shown to negate any cardiovascular benefits; the protein in milk binds to the catechins in tea, making it much harder for your body to absorb this beneficial compound.
  6. Broccoli. Try not to boil or fry them (but really, who fries broccoli?), because much like asparagus, these methods will not keep the Vitamin C, chlorophyll, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic components intact. Instead, go for the steam method.
  7. Strawberries. Try not to slice them; or at least avoid cutting them for as long as you possibly can… nutrients within these tasty morsels such as Vitamin C are sensitive to light and oxygen and deplete rather quickly. Frozen fruits and veggies are not a horrible idea, too, since they harbor the majority of their original nutrients.
  8. Garlic. I LOVE garlic; I love it in my food, in my juices, and just overall in my life. The allicin (cancer fighter) in garlic benefits from air exposure, so try letting chopped garlic sit out for a few minutes before utilizing. This makes sure the compound can become fully activated.
  9. Whole Grains & Beans. Soak ’em overnight to help release the phytates, increase absorption of nutrients such as iron and zinc while also giving your digestive tract a break.
  10. Yogurt. Honestly, I wish I liked yogurt, and I’ve really tried to get myself to love it; I just can’t. At least not yet. Anyway: don’t dump the watery substance you often find atop your Greek yogurt – stir it in! It is called whey, and it contains protein and vitamin B12, along with minerals like calcium and phosphorus. *Fact* You’re not going to get yogurt’s probiotic benefits if you’re cooking a heated dish, because live and active cultures can’t stand up to heat and become destroyed in the cooking process.

There you have it, ladies and gents. I’m off to rest and read a little bit before an event tonight down in Tucson, Arizona. 😀

 

 

Gettin’ Juicy

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Good Day! (It feels too late to say morning, yet too early to say afternoon.)

I made some juices to kick start my Thursday, and naturally I photographed them, so I figured I would share ’em with all of you for potential recipe inspiration. I’m going climbing in South Boston at noon for the day, so it was the most opportune time for me to stack up on my micro-nutrients.

Here’s the first one, which happens to be a personal favorite:

C'est ParfaitThe ingredients are as follows: Gala Apples, Parsley, Beet, Lemon, Ginger and Carrot. I call this one the “C’est Parfait”… it means “it is perfect” in French and, well, it is.

C'est ParfaitNow, I obviously used a lot of ingredients to yield a solid amount of juice because I tend to make extra for la famille, but if anyone needs or wants the ratios for personal sizes, just let me know.

Here’s the second one. It’s not as sweet and tantalizing as the C’est Parfait, but this one packs a nice health punch and really gets those juices flowing – pun intended.

Juice 2This one doesn’t have a name in my mind yet, but the ingredients are as follows: Cilantro, Tomato, Red Pepper, Lime, Parsley, Jalapeno, Celery, Garlic, Spinach and Kale. It’s sort of reminiscent of a Bloody Mary, so maybe a name like the Juicy Mary could work? I don’t know. Ideas are welcome!

Juicy Mary?Now I know having Garlic in a juice may sound weird and unappealing, and at first it may be strange, but you really actually start to enjoy the zing it gives you. I also only add one clove so it’s not overwhelming, yet you still get all the glorious benefits that garlic has to offer – and believe me, there are plenty.

Well, I’m off to climb. Have a great day! Stay fabulous.