Over 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disorder - if you're one of them - read on for a recipe that could provide some much needed relief!
Having an autoimmune disorder, namely Ulcerative Colitis, I'm probably a bit more in tune with my body than most - my body speaks to me loud and clear. Over the past few years I've learned what food and drinks work for my mind and body, and this has saved me a lot of heart (and stomach) ache.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, mint and ginger have healing properties that miraculously saved my Mexican vacation. Today I'll be showing you how to make a drink whose main ingredient is turmeric. Yep - a turmeric drink. Don't stop reading just yet! Along with providing a variety of health benefits, especially for people suffering from gastrointestinal issues, this drink comes with an added bonus: you'll experience what the locals in Indonesia drink - like becoming a world traveler without leaving your kitchen!
I first read about the healing powers of Jamu, or traditional Indonesian medicine, from fellow healer Chloe Park, who mentioned she fell in love with a turmeric juice beverage, Jamu Kunyit, when she was living in Bali. If you're like me, you're thinking, cool, a drink the Bali locals enjoy - tell me more! More likely, though, you're thinking, um, Turmeric juice sounds gross. Or you might even be thinking, I have no idea what turmeric is. Whichever category you fall into, let's rewind a bit and talk turmeric!
Turmeric is a fragrant yellow spice popular in Indian curries and contains the powerful compound curcumin, whose antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects benefit a whole range of conditions, including IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). It may also provide protection against colon cancer, boost cognitive performance, and early studies suggest it may even prevent and break down Alzheimer's brain plaques.
I was awakened to healing powers of Turmeric by a friend (Hi Nora!) who was able to stop talking a prescription medication (Asacol/Mesalamine) for her Colitis condition by taking Turmeric capsules (important note: I am not recommending you stop taking any medication, please first have a conversation with your trusted health professional!). When I heard Nora's story, I was intrigued, and did a little of my own research on the topic. More information on Turmeric came via a Harvard medical school graduate, and founder of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil. In his Self Healing magazine, Dr. Weil says: "Cancer, in many cases is probably related to chronic, on-going inflammation. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory, especially for people with gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary (liver or gall bladder) malignancies" You can safely take 2-8 grams in a capsule form daily, which ideally contains piperine, a component of black pepper that boosts turmeric absorption.
Personally, I like to use Turmeric capsules when my body "asks for them". You may be thinking, what does he mean ask for them. Here, I'll explain. Through yoga and meditation, my intuition has greatly increased. I call intuition that gut feeling we all experience on the inside, knowing what we should do when we're in a dilemma, or when something is wrong, or right. As bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell explains in his bestselling book Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking - intuitive decision-making can result in a better outcome than relying on more lateral methods, such as lists of pros and cons. A recent study backed this up, with brain scans showing that a structure called the ventral striatum responds immediately to subconscious cues. Scientists call it 'instrumental learning' - your instinct recognizes a situation as familiar and suggests an instant response before you've had time to process rational thought. So "pain" as I feel it in a particular place in my body, at a particular level - goes away when I take turmeric. Visit your local health food store to see what turmeric suplements they carry.
Let's get back to Jamu Kunyit, shall we? As Chloe explains, Jamu Kunyit is a drink that is highly regarded in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. While you might not think that a flavor used in curry sounds very tasty as a cold beverage, a little lemon, honey, and tamarind help create an exotic, flavorful drink with awesome healing benefits. As for me, I've found myself with higher energy, cleaner - and easier - bowel movements, less to no pain, less inflammation - and seemingly no joint pain that use to creep up sometimes. Magical eh?
If you're still unsure about whether to try this drink, consider that turmeric is also a natural liver detoxifier and a kidney cleanser. It speeds metabolism and aids in weight management. Plus, it alleviates conditions of depression, psoriasis, damaged skin, arthritis, and more.
Alright, you've got to be interested by now, right?!
Without further ado, here's my version of the recipe:Ingredients:
5-7 inches Turmeric
5-7 pieces of Tamarind
2 lemons (or lime if you prefer)
Mason jar(s) or another glass jar with a lid
Peel Turmeric. Your fingers may turn yellow. No worries! Dish soap get's it right out. If your cutting board or counter top gets stained, slather on the all-natural dish soap and rub it in. Let it soak in for 5 min, or longer, and then scrub with water and sponge. The turmeric stain will vanish. Wanting a more potent drink, I used all the Turmeric in the package, and at less than $1.50, it was a bargain. In all I probably used around 12 inches.
Crack and open the Tamarind. Make sure you remove the inner roots as well. We're only going to use the inner fruit
Fill a pot with water, put peeled Turmeric inside and let boil for at least 20 minutes, or until the water becomes a rich and vibrant marigold color. Note, the amount of water you use will be the amount of liquid you have to drink later on.
While the Turmeric is boiling, get a pan and pour ~1inch of water into a pan with the peeled Tamarind. Stir the fruit with a wooden utensil. Mix it in with the water so it can melt and dissolve into a jam-like texture. More water shouldn't be needed, but if it's looking a bit dry, pour additional water as needed.
By this time you should be able to see the little seeds coming out. When the texture of the tamarind looks soft, turn the heat off and let it cool down
Back to the Turmeric water. The color should now look ready. Pour in a little bit of cold water to lower the temperature. Pour the Turmeric water into the blender with the Turmeric roots. We boiled it so the root could soften and have more flavor. Now it's ready to blend, for even more flavor, and richness! The color should now look like an extra, extra fiery marigold.
Go back to the Tamarind in the pan. Using a wooden utensil, or if, like me, you prefer your clean hands, separate the soft bits of the fruit, like a jam consistency from the seeds and seed peels. Note: If you don't want to get your hands dirty the original recipe called for a strainer and bowl for this step but it didn't work for me. If you figure that one out do let us know.
Pour the Tamarind that has been caught in the bowl into the blender with the Turmeric water. Buzz it around again.
Squeeze your lemons into the blender, pour your healthy anti-inflammatory elixir into the mason jar(s), add honey, close the lid and shake to mix.
Store in fridge up to 3-4 days and drink daily.
To Improve the bioavailability of the main ingredient, curcumin, experiment with mixing black pepper, virgin coconut oil, or raw egg yolk(hey - I'm just the messenger), in with the Jamu drink.
Enjoy your drink! The first time I made this drink it made me feel warm, alive, and energetic. I'd love to hear how you feel after drinking. Tell me in the comments section at the bottom.
Note: I found tamarind and turmeric root at my local Ranch 99 Asian grocery store. I've also heard Whole Foods carries them.
Oh, BTW, this drink was pretty fast to make but did result in what was probably one of my best kitchen mess disasters. (Note to Self: hold down the blender top while blending) I'll have to blog about that another time, with pictures. Also, I should note that I used my back-up blender as my friend was borrowing my Vitamix Blender. Now my back-up blender,Cuisinart, because it is made from plastic, is a yellowish hue - due to the turmeric. Ironically my friends tell me they like the color and thought I bought it this way.
Until next time, and in good health,