Black, Blue, and Ginger

So, what a terrible morning it has been for me!   I woke up with my right eye nearly swollen shut and have to cancel most plans for the day.  This would probably make more sense if I explained the events of last night:

In an attempt to make me feel better about not eating while I am ten days through my juice fast, my boyfriend decided it would be a fun idea to dance to "Disco Inferno" in the kitchen.  I normally spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen cooking and what not, but this week of juicing I've just felt sad to not be doing one of my favorite hobbies, cooking.  As we were dancing, we starting throwing in some crazy moves like that elbow-to-knee jerk thing.   I was pretty fun and cheering me up until he went low to the ground and came up right as I was going down.  We flat out head-butted!  I hit the top of his head, which hurt him for a bit, but left no bump or bruise.  I, however, ended up getting hit just below my right brow bone, resulting in my eye swelling partially shut and looking black and blue this morning.  I've been icing it when I haven't been sleeping and it hasn't seem to be improving.  Needless to say Kevin felt awful and spent the rest of the night cheering me up with jokes, mostly Rocky jokes like "Cut me Mick!"  The only... ONLY good thing about this is that it gives me something to focus my attention on besides not being able to eat for three more days.

Well on to the topic of the post: the use of ginger.  (Because I can't eat yet, this is the most foreign ingredient I use in my juices, so we're going to talk about it's benefits rather than me cooking something I won't be able to enjoy.)  My first exposure to the ginger root was probably that pink shavings of ginger that come on sushi plates.  I always thought this tasted like soap and never wanted to try it again.  The next time I saw it was in a recipe for Thai spicy peanut sauce with noodles (I will have a nutritarian version of this recipe next Wok Wednesday), in which I just used powdered ginger.  But, the juicing fast changed my view of the use of ginger drastically.  (Yes, ginger can be juiced!) Because it has been one of the more flavor-able things I can use in my juice, I have put it in just about every one.

This rhizome is native to southeast Asia and is produced commercially in Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia.  Along with adding unique flavor to many dishes, ginger also has some claimed health benefits including some in the following list:

  • Migraine relief
  • Menstrual cramp relief
  • Prevention of several types of cancers
  • Nausea relief
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Boosts the immune system
  • and many more!

How to select and store for cooking purposes:  
  1. Choose authentic over fake: the fresh root not only has better flavor than its dried counterpart, but it contains higher amounts of the active health-benefiting ingredients, gingerol and protease.
  2. Pick a root that is firm, smooth, and mold free.
  3. It comes in two forms: young or mature
    • Young is found primarily in Asian markets and doesn't need to be peeled.
    • Mature is found at most grocery stores and has a tougher skin that requires peeling.
  4. Ginger is also available in other forms such as crystallized, candied, and pickled ginger.
  5. Store fresh ginger in the fridge for up to three weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Although ginger can't cure swollen black eyes, that I know of, it is still a great and interesting ingredient to keep on hand for use in Asian and Indian dishes as well as in smoothies and juices.

What is your experience with ginger?  What recipes do you use it most often in?  Have you ever cured or relieved anything by using ginger or a product with ginger in it (i.e. ginger ale)?


Cook Exciting, Eat Well, Feel Fantastic!

Hello, my name is Amy and welcome to my blog: Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen!   (Nutritarian is a word coined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman to describe those who focus on the nutrient density of their food through eating whole foods like fruits, plants, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and beans)

Like many... most people in America, I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life.  Considering that I am only 21, 'my adult life' doesn't seem too long, but it seems like an eternity for me because I have been constantly overweight and most importantly, not happy with my health and my body.  In January of 2011, I was in search of a solution to the weight I had put on from all that holiday eating that does "wonders on our figures".  I stumbled upon "Eat to Live" by Dr. Furman; a book that opened my eyes not only about the benefits of eating healthy, but also the consequences of eating poorly.  Since then I have weaved back and forth eating nutritarian and my old ways through the last several month's events of breaking up with my "boy"friend of four years, finding the "man" of my dreams, spending my summer at an internship far from home, and starting into a difficult senior year at Washington State University (Pullman).  Now, I am determined to find balance, not only with my everyday life, but with my health as well.

As inspired by my dad, who is 50 and just hitting a second peak of his life after fasting on juice for two weeks, I have been juicing for ten days.  My dad has had a kidney disease for over eight years and has found a way out of taking tons of drugs and being constantly water bloated; he cured himself by juicing and sticking to a whole foods, nutritarian diet.  As of now (9/27/2011) my dad is off all medicine, no longer swelled, and down 20+ pounds!  What am I trying to cure?  Firstly, I want my facial acne to leave and never return!  Secondly, I want to renew my relationship to food from one that is spastic, craving, and unhealthy, to one that is wholesome, fresh, nutritious, and delicious.  If you have any curiosities about doing a juice fast of your own visit the Reboot website.  I would also highly recommend watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"; it is not only informative, but very inspiring.

As I said, I am currently on day ten of my juice fast.  My parents have been nice enough, and extremely encouraging and supportive, to have originally lent me, and now handed me down their juicer.  I am currently using a Juiceman.  My day to eat food is this Saturday morning!  I'm planning a visit to Spokane with my boyfriend Kevin to go apple picking at Greenbluff Orchards.  Yep, my first food for two weeks is going to be a golden delicious apple straight from the tree!  I don't think I have ever been so excited for an apple in my entire life.  If you have any questions about juicing or the experience of it, please ask in the comment section, I would be more than happy to answer them.

After I finish my juice fast I am determined to stick to a nutritarian diet and finally feel proud of the way I look and feel!  Please join me on my journey of trying out nutritarian and vegan recipes, exercising, and just life in general.  Cook exciting, eat well, feel fantastic!

Here is a general schedule of my blog:

Monday: Crockpot Monday!  I don't know if it's the same for everyone on the entire planet, but Mondays always seem like the longest days ever!  For me I leave my apartment and don't get back till nearly 7:30 at night after classes, meetings, and a work out.  I was raised a "dinner is at 5" girl, so waiting till 7:30 alone is just weird, let alone spending an hour or so making dinner before getting to start on homework or studying.  So I have come up with crockpot Monday to be able to throw ingredients in a crockpot on low when I leave, and come home to a lovely soup or stew or whatever!  Crockpot meals are not only filling, but big batches leave leftovers for lunches for a few days.  I hope you enjoy my crockpot endeavors as much I do.

Tuesday: Talk about Exercise!  Tuesdays tend to be the day that I get most excited about exercise because my workout record is 2-0 for the week.  My schedule revolves around gym classes of Core Conditioning on MW, Pilates on TTH, and changes up on the weekends from running, biking, hiking, tennis, and other activities.  On Tuesdays I will discuss strategies for exercise and sticking to good exercising habits.

Wednesday: World Wednesday!  Wednesday is cultural food days.  They will not only feature an array of cultural dishes from Indian and Thai, to Italian, Peruvian, and Asian.  I come from a family of German heritage, and am hoping to tweak some notoriously meaty and heavy traditional foods into delicious German inspired nutritarian dishes.

Thursday: Tasty Thursday!  Thursdays will feature a new favorite recipe of mine every week.  You never know what you'll see on Thursdays.  I'll include recipes on smoothies, breakfasts, lunches, appetizers, salads, main courses, desserts, and holiday food.

Friday-Sunday: Weekend strategies for sticking to goals and planning menus for the next week!  As a college student, I tend to get busy on the weekends, so I will generally be writing one blog post per weekend.  These will be about various topics from strategies for sticking to goals during weekend fun, discussions on planning meals, tips on handling social food situations, and replacements of nutritarian food for old favorites.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy cooking... I mean making it :)
Please feel free to comment on any part of my post.  I will be getting into the habit of posting general healthy lifestyle questions for discussion at the end of each post.

Question: Do you and your household have a weekly eating schedule (i.e. Taco Tuesdays)?  Do you find a schedule helps keep you towards your dietary goals?  How could you change a weekly meal slightly to make it more nutritious?