As a practitioner I’m always thinking of ways to get herbs into people, and one easy way to do that is the liberal use of spices.
Think about it: the use of herbs and spices in your everyday cooking is like getting dose after dose of herbal medicine. Don’t worry about side effects or overdosing; these food-herbs are ideal for mass consumption.
If I do say so myself, this is probably the best smoothie recipe I’ve had in a while. Everyone I share it with says the same thing, “Oh my goodness, this is SO good.” I concur; and can’t get enough of it! Each time I make it, the turmeric and ginger amounts creep up and up. So far I have yet to approach the too-much-turmeric level.
This smoothie was inspired by golden milk, the turmeric and coconut milk drink of Ayurveda. I took the rich orange and yellow hues of ginger, turmeric and bee pollen and enhanced them with fruits of the same color: pineapple and mango, with banana and coconut flesh added in for good measure.
Oh yeah, and carrot juice. It blends really nicely with both turmeric and coconut milk. I don’t have a juicer but that doesn’t stop me. I buy a jar of carrot juice at Whole Foods when it is on sale. It freezes well, too, and is a good add into to soups and broths.
Potent Golden Spices: Turmeric & Ginger
Turmeric and ginger are two spices that I cannot get enough of (add cinnamon and garlic to that list, too). I eat them pretty much every day, all year round. Just because there are A) common spices, B) food herbs, and C) perfectly safe for constant consumption doesn’t mean that they are any less medicinal than ginseng, goldenseal or echinacea. These spices are packed with potent anti-inflammatory properties, among other scientifically-known and culturally important benefits.
Specifically, I love turmeric and ginger for easing joint and muscle pain. When I’ve been pushing my body to the limit and not getting enough rejuvenative rest (as is the case pretty much every day) and my hips and shoulders start aching, I do a diet shift (goodbye, sugar!), yoga and exercise and a bunch of turmeric and ginger. Within a few days, I’m feeling relief. Or should I say, I’m feeling golden? (I couldn’t resist the opportunity for a turmeric joke).
I also love that 2 teaspoons of turmeric has 10% of the daily recommended amount of iron.
Turmeric gets a lot of press, but ginger is no slouch. It is a wonderful digestive carminative and warming spasmolytic for the abdomen. I like ginger for upset stomachs, menstrual cramps, colds and flus, helping circulation…so many things. Like so many spices, it blends well with many flavors and enhances the dish (or tea, or smoothie) that it is in, and it balances out the temperature of cold foods to assist in their digestion. Want to eat yogurt in the winter? Add some ginger and cinnamon, and you are eating a more seasonally appropriate temperature.
The Gifts from the Bees: Bee Pollen & Raw Honey
Bee pollen is a highly nutritious food. In Chinese medicine, it is considered a Jing or essence tonic because of its intense rejuvenative and nourishing properties. Bee pollen is used to boost health and vitality of those who need it most – people recovering from acute or chronic illnesses or traumas, after childbirth, and the elderly (athletes love it, too). It contains a high amount of easily assimilated protein and vitamin B 12 (Paul Pitchford).
Bee pollen is a great addition to smoothies because of its taste and texture, too. It has a mild, slightly aromatic taste. Pollen is light and makes dense smoothies a bit lofty and frothy. When sprinkled on top, the grains of pollen dissolve into a beautiful golden array.
This is a rich medicinal food that I believe should be used mindfully. I’m using it in this smoothie to supplement my diet, because as a nursing mother I need a lot of calories. As Paul Pitchford says,
“When eating bee pollen, consider that a 6 gram dose takes one bee, working eight hours a day for one month, to gather. Each bee pollen pellet contains 2,000,000 folwer pollen grains, and a teaspoon contains 2.5 billion gains of flower pollen,”
Raw honey from Bee Local is without a doubt my favorite honey. Bee Local gathers honey from distinct areas around town and does not mix batches. It’s a single-source raw honey that is ‘filtered gently’ to retain the things that make honey great: pollen, propolis and other yummy medicinal/food attributes. The honey is mostly solid, even on the hottest days of the summer. It whips up nicely in the blender, adding a rich creamy flavor. Yum! I can’t wait to try their Oregon High Desert honey variety.
The Bee’s Knees’ Golden Milk Smoothie Recipe: with Coconut, Turmeric & Bee Pollen
- 1/2 cup mango chunks
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/2 peach
- 6 ounces coconut milk
- 6 ounces carrot juice
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tbl bee pollen
- 1 tsp raw honey
Blend throughly, sprinkle bee pollen on top.
Healing with Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford.