I'm not sure what took me so long to make this ruby red beetroot latte! I'm a big fan of beetroot in many forms, it's deep, rich hue makes me feel good just looking at it. Beetroot is the main star of my liver-loving beetroot, mint and carrot salad, and even sneaks in to moisten and increase the rich goodness of my chocolate cupcakes! :-) Having it in this warm spiced drink is particularly luscious.
As well as all this sensual appeal, beetroot has some pretty therapeutic properties to offer us as well. It is a rich source of betaine, helping us produce good quality stomach acid. Having this strong digestive fire is super important for effectively breaking down our food and liberating important minerals such as iron and calcium. good levels of stomach acid are also important as our first line of defense, burning up any pathogens that hit the digestive system. Our production of stomach acid often decreases as we age so adding in some beetroot to the diet is a great way to support this important part of our well-being. Betaine also supports liver, kidney and heart health - and even help the healthy expression of our DNA! Beetroot is hugely beneficial for our hard working liver, helping it with bile production, reducing gall stone formation, helping detoxification and metabolism of all our food types - fats, carbs and proteins.
The bright, rich colour of beetroot lets us know that this is an especially potent antioxidant rich plant that protects our body from disease - of ongoing interest to us all in these times. Beetroot also contains a special plant constituent that helps our cells produce more nitric oxide, a compound that helps our energy, stamina, physical and cognitive performance. Nitric oxide produced by beetroot has a significant effect on heart health - beautifully reflected in it’s juicy, rich, blood-like colour and often heart-like shape. It signals the arteries to relax, dilating the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. This has been found to be protective against many cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
Beetroot is also rich in glycine, a naturally sweet amino acid important for bile production and liver detoxification. Glycine also has calming effects on our nervous system. No wonder I feel so good drinking this brew! :-)
It's a beautiful thing to make delicious food as medicine from plants grown in your own garden. This traditional healing drink was made from our first crop of fresh Turmeric root grown in our greenhouse. Turmeric is a powerful food for supporting healthy immune response, enhancing digestion and liver function and reducing inflammation. This recipe makes a delicious, milky drink which is one of the traditional Ayurvedic ways of preparing this herb. Turmeric root can also be used in making sweet foods such as bliss balls or savoury dishes such as stews and curries. You can buy fresh Turmeric at whole food stores, vegetable stores and Indian grocery stores.
Ayurvedic Golden Milk
Place all ingredients apart from honey in a pot and simmer gently (do not boil) for 5 - 10mins. Place in a heat proof blender or use a blending stick to whizz mixture till creamy. Serve as it is, top with extra sprinkle of cinnamon and add honey if desired. Take care of surfaces as Turmeric can easily stain objects!
Nb: It is important to heat Turmeric gently when preparing as some of the active constituents are lost on high heating. This also prevents the milk splitting, especially if using milk alternatives.
Black pepper is needed for absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric. Fat is also required for absorption of curcumin, so if milk used is not high in fats, include some coconut oil or nut butter into preparation.
Have you ever found yourself frustrated at not being able to be as vibrant and healthy as you want to be, despite all your best efforts? Sometimes it can be helpful to dig deeper to identify any blocks that may be getting in the way of your natural state of well being. This video shares the powerful effects these obstacles can have on our body functioning, and how we can transform our wellness at this level. Case study shared with permission.
The wonderful, tasty and medicinal Nasturtium! Discover how to incorporate this wild edible into your life to support your immunity and well being.
Wood ear mushroom, Auricularia auricula-judae, is a wonderful wild food that can be hugely beneficial for our immunity. It is easy to find around the Taranaki region, growing on rotting trees in damp, shady areas. I love spending time foraging in the native bush on our property to harvest wood ear. Simply being in the bush has profound effects on our health, with the plant chemicals we breathe in being shown to lower stress, improve immunity and enhance heart health. Harvesting food and medicine from this healing place feels extra potent.
Wood ear mushroom is particularly therapeutic for our immunity. Studies have shown antibacterial effects as well as high levels of polyphenols, potent antioxidants that protect us from disease. Wood ear is also rich in prebiotics such as beta glucan, feeding our beneficial gut bacteria that are an important part of our immune defense. Wood ear has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to nourish the lungs and the blood. Modern research has shown it to be effective against cancer, and significantly improving heart health. Nutritionally, wood ear is rich in nutrients such as vitamin B5 which is important for our adrenal health and selenium, a valuable antioxidant mineral that supports good detoxification.
Preparing Wood Ear Mushroom
Wood ear has a jelly like, crunchy texture that works well in lots of dishes, including soups, stir fry's and salads. Neutral tasting in itself, wood ear or black fungus absorbs seasoning and can become a delicious part of your meal! If you can find it fresh, harvest the younger fungi as this is more tender.
To prepare, rinse and cut off the fibrous part where it was attached to the log. Cut into smaller pieces, cover with water and boil for ten minutes. Boiling the mushroom actually increases the antioxidant effects and kills off any bacteria that may be present. Drain and rinse. From here they are ready to add towards the end of a stir fry with a savoury sauce or soup. Add towards the end of cooking to preserve the crunchy texture. A stir fry sauce that works well with wood ear is 2 T tamari, 2 T rice wine, 2 t sesame oil, 1 tsp coconut sugar. Thicken the sauce with 2 t corn starch mixed with 1/4 C water. In the photo below I added it to our gluten and dairy free pizza's for some fusion cuisine! Delicious.
Whenever harvesting from the wild, be absolutely sure you can identify what you are harvesting to avoid poisoning! Fortunately wood ear mushroom is easily identified by it's ear like shape, and the other similar looking mushrooms are generally also edible. These include black fungus and cloud ear mushroom. You can also purchase these mushrooms in dried form at Asian food stores. Soak the dried mushroom in warm water for 30 mins before cooking.
ThetaHealer, Naturopath, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Wholefood Cook and Mother.