Monday, March 28, 2011
I'm SO Spicy!
This blog is dedicated to why I love spices. The doctors never gave us a diagnosis to our infertility, the answer was just no. Dealing with infertility was very hard and after three years I am just now giving up, however, the one of the worst parts for me was the chronic pain not having a name. Each cycle I would deal with sharp pains in my lower abdomen. The episodes came randomly but were very painful. The doctors had ideas about what it could be but never a definitive answer. Dealing with pain on a regular basis was not how I wanted to live my life so I started trying different alternative medicines. I researched which foods help with circulation and cramping and began to practice yoga along with occasional acupuncture. I am happy to say that for the last year I have been almost pain free! I think it was a combination of everything I am doing but the spices could have helped. Here are my favorites with the research I found.
Besides its wonderful taste cinnamon has many health properties. It is often used in alternative medicine to help with conditions ranging from menstrual cramps to nausea to circulation. Recently, there have been scientific studies to determine if cinnamon is helpful with chronic health problems. They did find a connection between cinnamon and blood sugar. After 40 days people found benefits with diabetes and high cholesterol. (altmedicine.about.com) I like to add cinnamon to most breakfast foods like oatmeal, cereal, french toast, and pancakes. I also like to top off my coffee with a little sprinkle.
This very brightly colored spice is used in many Indian and Thai dishes. If you order a yellow curry this is the spice creating that vibrant yellow color. Turmeric is a root that looks very similar to ginger but most of the time it is sold as a powder. I add this spice to most of my savory foods and I hide it in all my sauces. Although it is bright in color it’s flavor can be easily masked. I add this regularly to potatoes, eggs, soup, sauces, Mexican foods, and all my Asian or Indian dishes. Turmeric is used in alternative medicines to help with MANY issues including circulation, inflammation, pain, depression, arthritis, and it is a natural antiseptic. You can read an article at healthdiaries.com which has 20 reasons to add it to your diet.
I am in love with hot spicy food, the hotter the better! I get funny looks from Thai and Indian restaurants when I ask them to make my food extra spicy. I can almost hear them thinking, “that white girl is going to eat MY spicy food? Ya right! I’ll give her spicy and watch her sweat.” Much to their surprise they bring the food and I happily eat it with out milk or bread. I noticed years ago that if I ate spicy food when I was in pain from an issue such as a sunburn then the pain would temporarily go away. I even read an article a long time ago on midwives who were using natural capaicin as a pain reliever in childbirth. I included a recent article in the resource section that talks about that subject. Most people do not have my tolerance for hot food but for those of you who enjoy a little hot then this is the spice for you! Cayenne pepper is bright red and does not have a lot of flavor, it is mostly just hot. However, even with out the addition of a flavor boost there are many reasons to add this to your food.
“The main medicinal properties of cayenne are derived from a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives peppers their HEAT. A pepper's capsaicin content ranges from 0-1.5%. Peppers are measured according to heat units. The degree of heat determines the peppers' usage and value. Generally, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. In addition to adding heat to the pepper, capsaicin acts to reduce platelet stickiness and relieve pain.” - healingdaily.com
This root is more then just a Christmas time bread! It has many confirmed medicinal properties as well as a great flavor. Most of the time you find this spice in powder form but my favorite is root. I grate the root just like you would cheese and sprinkle it into pancake batter, oatmeal and muffins. My acupuncturist taught me a great trick with ginger root to help with cramping or my painful episodes. Boil water with a few cubes of ginger for a few minutes then take a small towel and soak it in the water, ring it out and apply it to the painful area. This really helps with “that time” or sore breasts. Here are some ginger facts, “Ginger has been well researched and many of its traditional uses confirmed. It is well known as a remedy for travel sickness, nausea and indigestion. It is a warming remedy, ideal for boosting the circulation, lowering high blood pressure and keeping the blood thin in higher doses. Ginger is anti-viral and makes a warming cold and flu remedy. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb and there has been much recent interest in its use for joint problems.” - herbwisdom.com
http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/cayenne.htmArticle on peppers as pain relievers - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2007-10-05/science/27964890_1_capsaicin-pain-relief-peppers