Quince and Matcha smoothie

The classes I have been teaching this week have been focusing on the immune system and sustained inflammation in the body.  One of the foods that is important in this area is Green Tea.   Green tea consumption can lead to an increase in the production of  Treg cells which stop inflammation, and act as an off switch to the killer T cells and B cells in our immune system which cause inflammation.  While we need those killer T cells and B cells at certain times - it is when they become out of balance and dysregulated that we get immune issues and sustained/chronic inflammation that leads to disease.


However,  I personally don't like the taste of green tea, and so I use it in cooking, instead of brewing it for a drink.

Today's quince recipe uses Matcha - which is ground green tea - in a smoothie.  Matcha a great source of green tea as you eat the powdered leaves -  so its not just a steeping of the leaves.  It is a little pricey,   but a little goes a long way so my jar has lasted a long time.

Here is today's breakfast smoothie that I am enjoying as I type:

Quince and Matcha Smoothie:


1 cup quince puree  (preparing quince blog post & after roasting, blend with a little water in a blender)
1 cup water
1 banana
3 handfuls of spinach
1 teaspoon matcha powder
2 tablespoons hemp hearts

Blend the ingredients together in a Vitamix or powerful blender and add more water if you prefer runnier smoothies!

Its a great way to start the day - omega 3 fats from the hemp hearts, and plenty of catechins from both the Matcha green tea and the quince - never mind all the phytonutrients in the spinach and banana.


As I was thinking up this recipe, lying in bed last night - an old song came into my head.  I wonder if you know it.  I was thinking about the colors in the smoothie ... "green and yellow, green and yellow, Mother come quick....."

Did any of you sing it as kids?  Its not a nice song and I hate to associate it with a delicious smoothie but as all the ingredients are green and yellow, its tricky not too!  I can bet my sister is singing it as she reads this however!   The song is all about this little boy Henry, who doesn't feel well and has been eating worms. His mother asks what color were the worms - "green and yellow"!  We used to sing it in the car as we were travelling somewhere - with a few actions too!!!  But this smoothie won't make you feel ill like green and yellow worms do - I can assure you,  so try it and enjoy it!
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Golden Milk

I tried making non dairy golden milk today.  Golden milk helps you sleep - I made it at lunch time so we'll see if I nod off this afternoon! And it also helps with pain and inflammation, boosting the immune system..and many other things that turmeric is attributed too.


It is basically a non dairy milk mixed with turmeric.  Various recipes either leave it like that or add a combination of other spices. I added ginger, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

I made some flaxseed milk to use. I've made it a couple of times before and wasn't a great fan, but Ithought I'd try it again with this, as the spices are reasonable strong.

However, you can still taste that 'flaxiness'...which is a little off-putting.  I think a nut milk would have been better, or soy milk. As I heated it, it seemed that the flax milk separated a little, which isn't so appealing to the eye!

So, the outcome is that its a good idea - but mine didn't actually turn out that great!  Here are a couple of recipes for you to try:

Golden Milk Version 1
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder or 1 tbs fresh, minced
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups non dairy milk
Sweetener - amount to your taste

Combine the first three ingredients and bring to a boil. Removed from the heat and let steep for 10 minutes.

While steeping, add the other spices to the milk and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the turmeric mixture and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Strain and add sweetener of your choice.


Golden Milk Version 2 - this recipe came from Yum Universe
2 cups of non dairy milk
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
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 and enjoy.

I'll try it again tomorrow with a nut milk instead. Let me know if you give it a go.  I love the spice combination, just chose the wrong milk!
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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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