I know I said that April was becoming one of my favorite months, but this particular April hasn't been so great weather wise...it's been brutal actually. Chicago has been wet and cold and so many Midwestern cities, like my hometown of St. Louis, have been torn apart by tornadoes.
I've been craving a warmth that the lack of sun just isn't providing, so I've turned to ginger. Known for it's warming, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties, ginger is a spicy rhizome that's available year round in your local grocery store..and the possibilities are endless. Here are 3 ways you can use this funky looking yet affordable root to add some healthy spice to your kitchen repertoire.
1. Gastrointestinal aid- As I mentioned, Ginger has been touted as an anti-nausea aid. In a double-blind study of 27 pregnant women with significant nausea and vomiting, 19 experienced safe and effective relief with the use of ginger tea. Simply cut a 1-2 inch whole piece of ginger into thin slices and place either directly in boiling water or in a tea bag and add boiling water. Ginger can also act to relieve an upset stomach associated with gas and cramping.
2. Detoxifying aid- A few year ago a read somewhere that soaking your feet in hot water with ginger (basically a tea bath for your feet) could "pull" a cold out and sweat may actually contain germ fighting agents. Sounds a little far fetched, but what did we have to lose. It became a pseudo spa like experience that both my husband and I enjoyed and swear by. Then recently, I came across My New Roots version of the ginger detox bath which takes it a step further. Soak your whole self in Epsom salts and powdered ginger (both available at your grocery) to get the toxins out via the sweat glands in your skin...yes please. Sounds a lot easier than hot yoga! After last weekend's Easter holiday indulgences, my body is craving this.
3. Meal enhancement- I didn't appreciate the culinary benefits of ginger until I started trying to make healthy yet flavorful Asian inspired dishes. If you're mixing soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and the like, but not getting the depth of flavor you're hoping for, it just may be ginger that's lacking. My meatless monday meal was inspired by this recipe, but with the salmon replaced by black beans (delicious, trust me) and even more spinach. Make sure you put the soba noodles in the ice bath and don't over cook them. It makes all the difference...along with the ginger ;)