Green Tea and Ginger Oatmeal

I've mentioned before on this blog that I don't like the taste of green tea if I'm drinking it. However, I do love all the healing aspects of green tea with its high antioxidant levels, EGCG, anti cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects etc etc and so I try to cook with it instead of drinking it.


I often boil my rice or quinoa or other grains in water with matcha green tea powder, or use green tea bags in the water. I make a green buddha bowl that I love.....but lately I've been wondering about how else I could incorporate it in my cooking - and I came up with the idea of adding it to my oatmeal water!


Ta Da!  Green Tea and ginger oatmeal was born!  Yes, it has a green tinge to it - but I - and you can get over that!


Its tasty but doesn't taste of green tea! The whole idea.

Here is how I made it:

1 cup water
1 tsp matcha green tea powder or 2 green tea teabags
1/2 cup rolled oats (I used gluten free)
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
Ginger pieces - to your taste
1/4 cup goldenberries

Add the matcha tea or tea bags to the water in a small saucepan and bring to just below a boil.  Remove the teabags if using.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 5 - 10 minutes.  The flax does thicken it so if you prefer runny oatmeal, add some more water.

Serve with additional fruit or ginger on top and non dairy milk, if you choose.  (The ginger I used was rehydrated dried ginger - I just keep some in water in the fridge or you can use crystallized and wash off the excess sugar.)

And to think for my breakfast, I've started the day with the omega 3 fats that I need from the flax seed, plenty of fiber and vitamins from the oats, the healing benefits of green tea, anti-inflammatory effects of ginger, anti oxidants from golden berries...and its only 8am!!!

Hope your new year starts are well as my day has started today.  Wishing you a happy, healthy, and hopeful 2014. xxxx
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Rudolph and friends

Look who's coming to lunch tomorrow:


Rudolph......... and his buddies



Oh yes, plus my book club friends - so we can all celebrate our Christmas lunch together!  Think its going to be a fun day!

I'll have to take their photos too and see how photogenic we all are!






Looks like we might need some soft food for the reindeer! What do you think?

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Goldenmilk - improved

Today I made Goldenmilk again, ready for my Food As Medicine classes this week on "healing spices".  I used almond milk instead of the not-so-tasty flax milk that I tried last time and today,  it was good!


It looks as yellow as the daffodils!

Here is the recipe:
2 cups of non dairy milk
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon group cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of saffron, optional.

Add all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain into a mug and enjoy.

It is a great drink to have before bedtime if you are having trouble sleeping.  With the turmeric in it, it is also anti-inflammatory.  The ginger helps settle the stomach, along with the cardamom which is anti-spasmodic to the gut.  Perfect as a "retiring" drink before settling down for the night.

I didn't add the saffron - but if are suffer from depression, you may want to consider it as some studies show saffron to be as effective as prozac, against depression.

Let me know if you like it - and I'll let you know what my classes think!  I found it soothing actually.  Not sweet, not bitter.
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Keeping hydrated


I've never been one to drink much water.  Didn't used to drink anything else either, no sodas, no tea, one mug of coffee in the morning..that's about it.

I'd try now and again to always carry water with me, but it only ever lasted a few weeks or so.

But now, I seem to have cracked it! My new habit has lasted a few months so I think I'm on to a winner.


It started after I saw this short video from nutrition facts.org



The video looks at a study of the anti-oxidant levels of 283 different beverages.  Imagine there even being 283 different drinks!  Anyhow the drink with the highest anti-oxidant level, by quite a margin, is hibiscus tea.  A tea made from the hibiscus flower.


So now, every morning, I make a large container (60 fl oz) of hibiscus tea using 4 tea bags, a lemon and hot or cold water. No sweetener.

I leave it in the kitchen and it is a pretty reminder for me to drink it up throughout the day.  Sometimes I forget to make it in the morning, but then I remember later on and catch up!  I don't take the tea bags out, just leave them in all day.  Now it's winter, I tend to start it with hot water and then by the evening, am drinking it room temperature.  I know most Americans prefer cold drink with and ice - but remember, I'm a Brit! Room temperature is good!!!

So now I get at least 60 fl oz every day of water plus a wonderful dose of anti-oxidants.


One of the key parts of why it works for me is that it is attractive! The lovely color of the hibiscus catches my eye. It's pretty.  When I ran out of hibiscus and tried it with white pomegranate tea, I just didn't feel like drinking it.  These are the two brands I tend to use.


So if you struggle with drinking enough fluids throughout the day, try using a large container that will hold a days worth - about 60 fl oz, and fill it with something that is attractive to you and healthy.  You can swap out one of the hibiscus tea bags and add a ginger or chamomile one instead or......

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Healing Trees recipe

The Cancer Journey conference at Ceres on Sunday seemed to go very well. They sold out and I had some great interactions with people in the resource room.




I demo'd making my "healing tree" morsels, and share the recipe with you here:

Ingredients
1 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon Matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1//2 tablespoons date paste *
Zest of 1 lemon
Grated fresh ginger (approx 1 inch)
15 whole raw organic almonds

Directions
[*Make the date paste first - you will only use a small portion of this.  Process 10 pitted dates with 2 tablespoons of water. This makes a thick paste that is a great substitute for refined sugar.]

  1. Place all the ingredients except the whole almonds in a food processor and process until smooth.  This matcha mixture should hold together when squeezed but not be too sticky. If it won't hold, process longer, or add 1/2 tablespoon more of date paste.  If too sticky, add a little more almond flour.
  2. Cut the whole almonds in half, width ways.
  3. Take approx 1 teaspoon of match mixture and shape it into your hands to form a cone shape
  4. Stand up half an almond on it's cut side and gently push the matcha cone onto the almond, so that it looks like a tree.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the matcha mixture and almond halves to create your own forest of healing trees.
  6. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or else the matcha mixture can frozen before shaping.

The healing qualities of these trees come from:
the green tea has excellent anti-cancer properties and is high in anti-oxidants;
the ginger and dates settle the stomach and help with digestion;
the lemon is a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals;
the almonds are a good source of easily digestible fiber, vitamins and minerals;
and finally the cute shape of the trees lifts your spirits!

These are lovely to make for yourself, but make a great gift for someone who needs some healing.
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Healing Trees

As I mentioned last week, I am participating in the Ceres Cancer Journey event this Sunday in Santa Rosa.

I will be in the resource room, and for some of the time, I will be doing a short cooking demo.

I will be making these little "healing trees", a recipe that I developed myself.


They are made with green tea, almonds, dates, ginger, and lemon. I'll post the recipe here next week after the demo.

The healing qualities of these bite-size morsels include:  the green tea has excellent anti-cancer  properties and is high in anti-oxidants;  the ginger and dates both help to settle the stomach and calm digestive issues;  the lemon is a great source of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals; and the almonds are a good source of easily digestible fiber, vitamins and minerals.

AND the cute shape of the trees lifts your spirits!



I hope if you are in the area that you will call by for the event and hear some wonderful speakers and experience nurturing, love and good food.

If you attend, do come and find me in the resource room.

Ceres Cancer Journey Event
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Reducing nausea associated with chemotherapy

I had a call from a friend this weekend who was looking for some ideas that may help his friend who is suffering from severe nausea associated with chemotherapy.


Sadly, nausea is an all too common side effect of chemotherapy. There are medications available that may help and you should be sure to talk to your doctor about how to prevent nausea and/or vomiting and treat it.   Here are some general tips on how and what to eat that you might also want to consider:

  1. One of best things that can help with nausea is ginger. I wrote a blog post a while ago about the health benefits of ginger and included a few recipes that you can try - especially the ginger glycerite recipe.  But eating ginger anyway you can may help reduce nausea, from ginger cookies, to ginger tea to tinctures to..... Try different things and see which works best.  You can also get ginger capsules to take twice a day.
  2. Other herbs that might help are catnip, peppermint, chamomile and red raspberry.  You can try these as teas - and why not combine a few.  I often add a few different flavored tea bags to a big jug of cool water and get the combined benefit all at once.  Try ginger, peppermint and chamomile - I bet they'd go nicely together.  Use iced, cool, room temperature or warm water - not hot.
  3. Try drinking 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey.
  4. Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds help nausea.  Just plain, raw seeds.
  5. Eat mainly starches like rice, crackers, dry toast, oatmeal, etc.  The food should be low fat and bland.  Cooking should not create lots of smells as this can make the nausea worse.  Don't get too concerned about balanced nutrition at this time, the goal is to get rid of the nausea and eat something.
  6. Eat cold or room temperature foods. Hot foods create more odors which is often a big cause of nausea.
  7. Eat and drink slowly.
  8. It often helps to put some dry toast or crackers at your bedside at night and eat a little of this before you get out of bed in the morning.
  9. Eat small amounts, frequently.
  10. Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but not during meals.
  11. Try drinking through a straw.
  12. Fruit popsicles are often easily eaten and enjoyed.
  13. Don't try cooking or eating one of your favorite foods. The body may come to associate it with nausea and you'll no longer enjoy it.
  14. If you need to rest after eating, make sure you keep your head higher than you feet.

It's a matter of trying different things and seeing what helps most for you.  And don't forget to tell your doctor that you have been experiencing these side effects as he may have other options and ideas.  

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Health benefits of ginger

I am a big ginger root fan.  I just love the taste of it - warming and a little spicy.  I could add it to most things - sweet or savory - and frequently do.

It has many health benefits, as well as tasting yummy.  Here are some highlights:

Photo by FotoosVanRobin

  • Anti-inflammatory - ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce both pain and inflammation. In a study published in the Journal of Pain, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority of patients had significant improvement in pain, swelling and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.  In another study, ginger was found to be superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDS only work on one pathway in the body.  Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes and also has anti-oxidant effects (greater than Vit E) that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the body within the joints. 
  • Digestion - ginger balances COX-1 - an enzyme responsible for the gastric mucosal integrity, and is an antispasmodic. Thus is very effective for gastrointestinal disturbances, alleviating nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, IBS, loss of appetite, heartburn, bloating, ulcers etc.   I remember my sister always used to have ginger biscuits in the car when her boys were younger and whenever they felt a little car sick, they had a ginger biscuit and felt better. Similarly, my mother-in-law always used to eat a chocolate covered piece of ginger after dinner every night to help her digestion.  
Photo by Huffiz

..... and more.  The range and severity of conditions that ginger can help is stunning - and the research continues.


Here are a couple of ways to use ginger:
Ginger Tea:  Peel a 1 inch cube of ginger (the easiest way to peel it is to use a spoon, rather than a knife).  Slice it thinly or grate it.  Boil in 1 and 1/2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.  Add lemon/lime and/or stevia/honey, as desired.  Pour into a cup, relax and enjoy. More beneficial than ginger tea bags.

Ginger soak for aching muscles: Grate 4 teaspoons of ginger and seal it in a cotton/muslin bag.  Place the bag under running bathwater and then soak in the bath so as long as you want!

Ginger Glycerite: 1/4lb fresh ginger.  Chop the ginger roughly and place it in a food processor.  Add 1 cup food grade vegetable glycerin and process until the ginger is nearly incorporated into the liquid. Place mixture in a pint canning jar, mark with the day's date and leave on the counter for two weeks, shaking the jar every other day or so.  After two weeks, strain the mixture through muslin or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the ginger.  The glycerite will now keep for 6 months.   Mix the glycerite with water, sparkling water, tea, or use as desired.

Grate or chop and use in soups, smoothies, salad dressings, marinades, yoghurts, and just about anything else!

What's your favorite ginger recipe?  How will you get your next healthy dose of ginger?
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Best beverage

We've heard for a long time about the high antioxidant and health benefits of green tea, but a study published in 2010 in "Nutrition Journal", has found another drink that has even greater antioxidant levels.

The study was very extensive, comparing the antioxidant levels of more than 3100 foods, beverages, herbs and spices. Can you even think of 3100 different foods?  I'll be sharing some of the other results in future blog posts.



But the beverage that came out tops of 283 beverages was Hibiscus tea.  Some examples of the antioxidant content for popular drinks are:

  • coke/pepsi 1
  • white wine 5
  • black tea 23
  • green tea 36
  • red wine 38
  • coffee 47
  • matcha tea 100 (matcha is powdered green tea)
  • hibiscus tea 132


An example of a readily available hibiscus tea in a tea bag is Red Zinger.  Alternatively, you can purchase dried hibiscus flowers from Mexican food stores and steep your own tea. Hibiscus teas don't contain caffeine and, as well as their antioxidant powers, they are also seen to lower high blood pressure.


Michael Greger, M.D. suggests preparing a day's worth of hibiscus tea as follows:
8 glasses of water, 4 bags of hibiscus tea, juice of one lemon, sweetener if desired (eg erythritol or blended dates).  Mix together and put in the fridge overnight. Remove the tea bags in the morning and drink throughout the day.

I fancy adding some ginger to the above too....Do you have other ideas?  I'm going to give it a try.

By the way, I met Dr. Michael Greger this weekend at a great nutrition conference I attended in Santa Rosa.  What an entertaining man and so informative. I highly recommend his website where he posts a new video every day - http://nutritionfacts.org.


BUT, before you throw all that green tea away, while hibiscus tea may have a higher level of antioxidants, green tea also has many other health benefits, especially anti-cancer properties from EGCG - a compound in the tea.  I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.
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