As a Heath Educator in Plant Based Nutrition, I am interested (some would say obsessed) in using helpful spices and herbs in culinary quantities. These are familiar kitchen ingredients that we use for delicious tastes, but they also have many benefits.

When used only in seasoning quantities, these spices and herbs are unlikely to cause problems with prescribed medicines. Though, of course, if you are concerned, you can check. There is plenty of research evidence out there.

For me, consciously using seasonings is a safe and simple way to boost wellness at any age, but it becomes increasingly important as we get older.

In my experience, once we reach the 60-year landmark, we have to take better care of ourselves for staying well and managing health issues.

Doing It Naturally

Personally, I can no longer get away with eating unhelpful foods that contain white flour and lots of salt or sugar. I am so grateful for knowing how to make food delicious without resorting to processed and packaged foods that offer lots of calories and little nutrition.

Tasty turmeric gives great results in more and more health studies – showing benefits valuable for our increasingly fragile older bodies. These benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties which can help ease those aching joints.
  • Support to the immune system for speeding up recovery from colds, flu and other infections.
  • Improved heart health.
  • Help with the creation of healthy new brain cells.

Isn’t that a wonderful bundle of properties from one humble spice?

I suggest using organic, so that you are not absorbing any unnatural chemicals. In fact, I have read that some cheap non-organic turmeric has had the curcumin extracted from it for the curcumin supplement industry.

That would be counter-productive because the curcumin is an important ingredient which works a lot better in synergy with the other essential factors in the whole natural spice.

Turmeric is easy to obtain and it’s versatile. It has quite a mild taste and is easy to include in sweet and savoury dishes without overwhelming other flavours.

Dried Turmeric Powder

You can spoon dried turmeric powder in curries, sneak it into stews and even try Golden Milk, the popular Indian drink with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and other spices, sweetened and warmed in milk.

You can buy golden milk mixtures in health food shops or make your own from recipes on-line. I use plant milk such as oat or hemp and sweeten with pure stevia extract. It’s a wonderful evening drink and a flavoursome alternative to coffee.

Fresh Turmeric Root

When fresh, you can do a lot with turmeric root:

  • Slice it thinly and add it to your brews of loose herb teas.
  • Grate it into soups.
  • Blend it into salad dressings and smoothies.
  • Throw it in your juicer with cucumber and celery for a most amazing and refreshing alkalinising green juice.

It tastes nice enough to just chew a piece while you make dinner!

What About Quantities?

I am not a doctor or a medical herbalist, and I don’t know what are the ‘approved’ quantities – nor do I care! I have heard of this all-in-one food-and-wellness approach called ‘grandmother medicine’.

Our grandmothers just used their taste buds and experience and made dinner! It was delicious and healthy at the same time.

Since most people on the Indian sub continent, and many others beyond, eat curries with abandon, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about with turmeric – and instead, there is so very much to gain!

Recipe: Turmeric Mayonnaise

This easy golden mayonnaise is a variation on the Almond Mayonnaise in my recipe book, Good Raw Food Recipes.

You can make it with turmeric powder but see if you can find fresh turmeric root, perhaps in a Middle Eastern or Asian deli if not in a good health food shop that stocks fresh produce. The fresh root has a finer flavour, in addition to the health benefits of being fresh and raw.

For a very smooth mayonnaise, you’ll need a high-power blender but it’s still good with a pleasant grainy texture if made in a less powerful blender.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almonds that you have soaked overnight, rinsed and drained. (For a lighter colour rub the skins off.)
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • ½ a lemon, all the juice and a peeling of the skin
  • 2 tablespoons of cold-pressed hemp, olive or sesame oil
  • ¼ -½ teaspoon sea salt/Himalayan salt (optional)
  • A splash of tamari soy sauce (optional)
  • A small clove of garlic
  • A very tiny amount of pure stevia extract or honey (optional)
  • A Brazil nut-sized peeled piece of turmeric root or teaspoon of turmeric powder

Directions:

Blend everything together until as smooth as your blender permits. Taste and, if you wish, add a little more turmeric and blend again.

I am off to the kitchen to make dinner with turmeric. Bon appétit, oh grandmothers and wise ones!

What do you use turmeric for? Do you prefer the powder or fresh root? What is your approach when using seasonings in the kitchen? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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