Summer Of Spices – Episode 2
Episode 2 : “Golden Root Is Coming”
As we continue to explore the role of nutrition, diet, and gastrointestinal health, I want to remind you that a doctor is only as good as his or her patient. The goal of this blog is to provide you with valuable information that has been scientifically researched as targets of global wellbeing. I will mainly discuss gastrointestinal health, however I encourage you to ask questions and learn more for your own health goals (i.e. self-squad goals.)
Turmeric (curcumin) is one of the most fundamental Ayurvedic roots. It is primarily referred to as “haldi” in India and “ukon” in Japan, and has played its medicinal political role since second millennium BC. Its role ranges from being a foundation spice in cooking to a ritual pre marriage show of good wishes. Curcumin is a polyphenolic antioxidant from the plant Curcuma and is typically found as a ground spice. It has a bitter almost spicy flavor raw, but that when cooked, it translates into en joie de vie for the palate.
Why discuss this spice? Other than having it being a fundamental part of my diet growing up, it actually has many medicinal and nutritional components that make it a prime potential natural medicine for different GI and other conditions. Turmeric has been studied for its anti-cancer and potential chemotherapeutic effects, including in Colon Cancer. One pathway that has been explored involves a signaling pathway with NFKB, which is involved in a cascade that alters the growth pattern of normal cells. When cells don’t have control, they take the road less traveled into the cancer pathway. Turmeric is thought to negate with this pathway (amongst others) and aid in stabilization of the cell cycle.
Along with its anti-cancer effects, it has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant role. In combination with oils it has been used as a topical wound agent.
From a more cultural standpoint, I can attest that Haldi is used in a beautiful ceremony to spread love and good wishes on those being wed. It turns your nails yellow, but that’s a small curse for a greater purpose.
Despite it being summer, soup can be something great during the rainy days! This is an exotic take on an Italian soup, called Escarole Soup, and works well as a full meal. It also includes ingredients, such as garlic, that are well known to have nutritional facets. Again, initially be cautious with amounts until you recognize your spice likings.
- 1 pot
- 1 Ladel
- 1 Strainer
- 1 knife
- 1 napkin (I don’t judge based on brand)
- Based on who you are feeding: bowls and spoons
- 2 tablespoons olive/coconut/avocado oil
- 1 bunch of escarole (found between spinach and lettuce)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 dried chili peppers
- Ground chili powder (be careful spice naïve!)
- 1- 4 oz. container of mixed shredded parmesan, asiago, and reggiano cheese (if you’re lactose intolerant, skip this step)
- Salt to taste
- 3 cups of water (prefer water to vegetable or chicken broths due to the sodium and unnecessary elements, however, these can be substitutes)
- 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Wash the escarole thoroughly. Rip the leaves out of the base and discard the white base. Escarole, as with many greens, can hold dirt, so wash it well.
- Chop the escarole as you would with a chopped salad. Place aside.
- Peel the garlic cloves. Wet the napkin and place the whole gloves within them and using the handle of your knife (or any dull item), smash the garlic so that they have a more pallid consistency. Place the garlic on a cutting board and discard the napkin. Chop the garlic (which should be easier now that it’s been softened) into very small pieces. Place those aside.
- In your pot, pour the oil of your choosing. Add the garlic. Allow the garlic to only brown- don’t let it burn
- Add the chopped escarole and allow approximately 30 seconds to simmer.
- Add the 3 cups of water.
- Allow this to boil with the turmeric and dry red chilies.
- Depending on your taste and preference, add the mixed cheeses. You should blunt the color of the turmeric slightly.
- Allow this to marinate on medium heat.
- Add salt to preference. If the chili does not contain enough kick, you have chili powder to add.
- Serve the soup in a bowl with a touch of shredded mozzarella on top.
- Add carrots, tofu, celery, or potatoes to make a more versatile soup.
- Instead of water, use a broth of choice- but be wary of the sodium content.
- Add onions with the garlic.
- Grill a slice of tomato and add it on top.
- Have it chilled!
Compliments and thanks to Pushpa Sharma (lucky to have a talented mother!)
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