It’s widely known that yellow foods and ingredients are good for decreasing inflammation and turmeric is one of those magic elements. Turmeric is an Indian spice that gives curry its distinct taste and vibrant yellow color due to the curcumin compound found within. Used medicinally for centuries, turmeric is also comprised of loads of antioxidants, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory components. This powerful nutritious superstar helps with everything from headaches, pain and inflammation to cancer, circulation, blood clotting, and so much more. Spice up your recipes by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root. But before you sprinkle it on everything you eat, learning the biological hacks to best absorb turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin is critical in order to reap those anti-inflammatory benefits.
First off, as a fat soluble ingredient, turmeric must be paired with a fat, like avocado oil or coconut oil when incorporating it into your meal plans. Second, it needs black pepper (piperine), which improves the bioavailability (ie. how efficiently your body can absorb all the good stuff) by 2000 percent. And the third element is heat. To be properly absorbed into your body, turmeric must be activated by heat and luckily your high-powered blender counts! All three of these steps enhance our body’s absorption rate, but just implementing one of these practices helps, too. I like to make coconut milk turmeric tea in the afternoon, sprinkle it on my roasted veggies (like in the recipe below) with other spices in avocado oil, and use it in my marinades. This is a great way to bump up the health benefits of your foods without compromising flavor. You’re simply enhancing it!
Utilizing turmeric is an easy step to incorporate into your daily rituals when exercising clean eating. So what does clean eating mean? To me, clean eating comes down to quality. If you start from a quality ingredient, let’s say tomato sauce for an example, it doesn’t need much to make it taste delicious. Quality ingredients allow you to simplify your cooking. From our veggies to the pan (see more on cleaning up your toxic kitchen here) you are using, all of it must be clean (non-toxic) in order to reap all the benefits for living a preventative life. In my cookbook, I talk about starting out by reducing inflammation in all aspects of your life, starting in the kitchen by removing anything that comes in a package or has a shelf life. Then just by slowly upping your kitchen staples such as avocado oil and removing a very inflammatory and toxic oil such as canola or vegetable oil, you will start to make huge shifts for you and your family. Clean eating also means listening to your body and giving yourself grace and compassion if you indulge. If you get a little off track, just wake up the next day and start over. It needs to become a habit and a way of life to make it a lasting, preventative health journey. Stress negatively impacts our digestion and can cause more inflammation. Remember, everything is connected. Check out my delicious turmeric spiced cauliflower and broccoli with capers recipe below from my cookbook “The Mexican Keto Cookbook” to learn how to embrace clean eating and use one of nature’s healers in your everyday cooking.
RECIPE: Turmeric Spiced Cauliflower and Broccoli with Capers
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower and broccoli with the ghee, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour the veggies onto a baking sheet and use your hands or a wooden spoon to spread them evenly so they are not touching. Place the baking sheet on the lowest rack and bake 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and toss them in a bowl with the capers, olive oil and mustard seed powder (if using). Serve with the Cilantro Yogurt Dressing.
NOTE: Ghee is clarified butter, meaning it is heated to remove the milk solids, which allows it to have a high smoke point. This makes it essentially dairy-free with no traces of casein or lactose, unlike butter. It contains butyric acid, which is a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells of the intestines, helping the digestive tract and the microbiome. It also helps your body fight inflammation.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 tablespoons slightly melted ghee or avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup capers in water, drained (rinse, if in salt) (about 4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for finishing
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed powder (optional)
- Cilantro Yogurt dressing (page 108)
Looking for more tips on how to toss the toxins and embrace a life of preventative living through optimal lifestyle changes and bold, authentic flavors, check out my cookbook, The Mexican Keto Cookbook
Book/photo credit: “Reprinted from The Mexican Keto Cookbook. Copyright © 2019 by Torie Borrelli. Photographs copyright © 2019 by Eric Wolfinger. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.”
Torie received a Bachelor in Science and minor in Nutrition from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and is board certified from Bauman College of Berkeley as a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Natural Chef. She has worked with hundreds of clients suffering from inflammatory diseases and chronic illnesses. Torie’s goal is to help people live a preventive lifestyle, which means not to wait until you’re sick to change your habits. Recently, Torie released The Mexican Keto Cookbook which contains more than 100 low-carb, high-fat, anti-inflammatory recipes. The Mexican Keto Cookbook provides insight into the history of Mexican cuisine while also adding a flavorful, international flair to the popular ketogenic diet. If you haven’t gotten your copy, go get it now!