The results are in: turmeric is officially my new favorite spice. Not only does this root have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antibacterial properties, it is also one of the main spices in Indian curries. If you can't get enough of curry, you're in good company. In fact, it's been used for millennia in Ayurvedic cooking and medicine, which utilizes herbs for medicinal practices, much along the lines of Hippocrates' famous quote: "Let food be thy medicine." If this spice were in Mean Girls, it'd be receiving all the Christmas candy canes. Four for you, Glen Coco!

While I am still building up my cooking repertoire with turmeric, I've discovered just how amazingly versatile this spice can be. Truth be told, the first time I tried it, I was a bit uncertain whether I liked the taste. Indeed, it is not the only spice in Indian curries, and I was expecting a bite of spice, so I was taken aback by its mild taste. However, the lack of spice has been quite beneficial in my cooking, which means that I've been throwing dashes of it into pretty much everything, including breakfast smoothies and porridges.

And that's what I'm here to tell you about!

This morning, after an intense seventy minutes of spin and weights (funny how just three consecutive days of spin has reignited my relationship with the stationary bike...but seriously, I get off the bike in red-faced, sweaty-bodied, lung-refreshed bliss and I honestly consider getting back on for another hour...until I make my turmeric shake), I decided it was time for my post-workout turmeric shake and porridge. It is the perfect reward for losing half my body weight in sweat. And yes, I'm a girl and I definitely do not glisten. I sweat!

This combination of ingredients is so simple to throw together, and takes very little time to blend into a cacophony of deliciousness. Since I had a leisurely morning, I decided to make both the porridge and the smoothie. Have less time? Just go for the smoothie and add oats. Either way, it's a winner.

The Turmeric Smoothie:

The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Water
  • 1/2 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 cup Plant-Based Milk (I typically use homemade cashew) or Raspberry Leaf Tea (see below)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Nut Butter (I used peanut)
  • 2 scoops Whey Powder
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla (optional)

The Method:

Funnily enough, there are only two steps here...

  1. Place ingredients in a blender
  2. Whir together, and drink immediately for best results

Note: If you choose to make the turmeric smoothie instead of the porridge, feel free to add the oats featured in the porridge; these recipes are basically the same, save for the medium & some ingredients

The Turmeric Porridge:

The Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp Ghee
  • 1/4 cup Oats
  • 1/2 cup Plant-Based Milk (again, I use cashew)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tbsp Nut Butter (optional)
  • 6 Cherries, cut in half or quarters
  • 1/2 Banana

The Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the ghee until it melts
  2. Add the oats and let toast for a few minutes (about 3-5) on low heat
  3. Stir in the 1/2 cup plant milk, cherries, turmeric, and nut butter and bring to a simmer on high heat
  4. Once the milk begins to simmer, cover and let simmer on low heat for approximately 8-10 minutes or until thickened, stirring twice throughout to keep the oats from sticking to the bottom
  5. Slice up a banana for the topping and enjoy!

The Raspberry Leaf Tea:

Ladies, this one is for you! This tea is incredible. Not only in the taste department, but in the ladies department. My nutritionist advised to me to start drinking a cup a day, with emphasis on the two weeks before the end of my cycle for decreased PMS symptoms. I kid you not, it has helped in every single cycle since I started drinking it. Seriously, why didn't I hear about this sooner?

While this tea is great hot on a rainy or cold day, in the summertime it's best served cold. Since it has such a light taste, I recommend brewing a good batch of it (at least a quart, if not more) and sticking it in the fridge once it cools. It can be added to smoothies, enjoyed on its own, or used in a fruit-based compote for added flavor and nutritional factor. I'm pretty diehard about this tea; all of my girlfriends and co-workers have been hearing (possibly) too much from me about it, but hey, I just want to save other ladies from the horrifying pain that is menstrual cramps. Been there, done that, and now that I've got my raspberry leaf tea, not suffering through that again!

You can find this at most health foods stores - I advise using Traditional Medicinals, as they use organic and ethically sourced ingredients.

The Method:

  1. Following the instructions on the box, bring water to a boil and pour over the appropriate amount of teabags
  2. Cover and steep for 10-15 minutes; if you're making hot tea, let the tea cool to a manageable temperature (don't burn your tongue!) and enjoy!
  3. If you're making "iced" tea: remove the teabags and let cool on the counter
  4. Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for future use, then enjoy!

I know this is a lot of recipes for one post! But turmeric is truly deserving of it. I'm eager to know how you enjoy turmeric, and what recipes you come up with using this medicinal food. In the meantime, I'm going to get to work on my curries so all of us can relish in the deliciousness!

Let food be thy medicine!