Who here lives in Los Angeles and attended Eat. Drink. Vegan. yesterday? Because we did and it was G R A N D. Everything you could ask for and more! I mean, c’mon, unlimited beer, wine, coffee, kombucha, AND HUNDREDS OF DELICIOUS VEGAN FOOD VENDORS FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD?! My oh my!
It’s Sunday, and do you know what that means… besides bottomless mimosas?
This week, we’re talking about a couple of ingredients you’d commonly find in a healthy household. Sure, you know what turmeric, matcha, and salt are, BUT do you know where they come from and what they actually do for your body? Don’t sweat it if you don’t, I’ll explain.
Order that 4th glass of mimosa and let’s get started!
Say hello to ginger’s intensely yellow brother, turmeric! Turmeric, botanically known as Curcuma Longa, was once named “Indian Saffron” for it’s native to India and Southeast Asia, and has been used as a spice (usually in curry) and medicinal herb for over thousands of years.
Turmeric may get all the credit and its name on spice bottles but what realllllly does all the health work here is its main active component! Introducing: Curcumin.
Even though curcumin makes up only 3% of turmeric’s weight, it has a large impact. Starting with:
- Anti-inflammation. Inflammation is the main cause of health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, cancer, and heart disease – curcumin happily gets rid of all that for you, due to it being a strong antioxidant and its anti-inflammatory effect. Think of turmeric as a protective blanket for your health!
- Curcumin delays or reverses brain damage and improves memory all thanks to its magic in increasing brain levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
- Along with the brain, curcumin also helps reverse the heart disease process by improving the function of the lining of blood vessels, aka the endothelium.
I know, lots of big words and stuff, but before you go tossing turmeric into dishes all willy-nilly, be sure to consume it with black pepper, which contains piperine, to enhance absorption by 2000%. TWO THOUSAND!!!
Use it in a golden milk latte or stir it into your next curry dinner!
Turmeric is usually pretty easy to find in the spice section of most grocery stores. It’s deeply yellow and hard to miss. Just be sure to check the labeling, in case there are random added ingredients in, yuck!
You think you know matcha.
And you probably do, I can’t really doubt anyone on this.
But to those who do not know about matcha, this section is for you.
Go ahead, order your next mimosa and let’s talk matcha.
Let’s start with “where does matcha even come from?“
Well, I’m glad you asked! Matcha comes from a plant called the Camellia Sinensis, which is shielded from sunlight during the final three weeks before its harvest, so that its leaves’ chlorophyll production increases to ridiculously high amounts, thus leading to matcha’s INTENSE pigment and its strong detoxifying elements.
Matcha is one of the most powerful superfoods on the market today; it’s even been used by Chinese Taoists and Japanese Buddhist monks as a method to relax and meditate, while still being alert, for over a millennium.
Being at a higher state of consciousness is due to an amino acid called L-Theanine, which is contained in the leaves. L-Theanine is responsible for the production of dopamine and serotonin, leading to lifting your mood, strengthening memory, and improving concentration with zero negative side effects, such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
Now you’re probably wondering why matcha is such a powerful superfood. Well, for one, if you were to drink matcha green tea on a daily basis, you’ll have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Two, drinking matcha increases your metabolism, helping your body burn fat by about 4x faster than average. And last but not least, matcha green tea has 137 TIMES MORE ANTIOXIDANTS THAN REGULAR GREEN TEA. *mic drop*
That’s because you’re actually eating the leaves with matcha, whereas with green tea, you only sip its brewed liquid!
You’ll be able to find matcha pretty much everywhere, but like always, check the labeling to make sure there’s no strange ingredients added into the powder. I also recommend that you seek out organic matcha, because whatever chemicals they use during the growing process is going to end up in your body – gross. You could also find matcha online – this is a brand I personally enjoy using for drinking and cooking.
[Morgan Freeman voice] Two days have passed since you’ve read this post. You’re standing in your kitchen with a bag of matcha and you don’t know what to do with it. You’ve already had your daily cup of matcha green tea. You don’t want another cup just yet. You’re thinking about cooking with it. You go onto noeggsorham.com and search “matcha.” The top search results pop up. You’re thinking to yourself “Hmmm… These matcha scones with white chocolate frosting and pistachios look and sound amazing!” And the rest is history. Delicious, scrumptious history.
Before you go grabbing some random fiber supplement from a drug store because you can’t poop, read this.
Psyllium – what an interesting word with such a grand purpose. But like, just a couple of purposes, really.
Psyllium comes from the seeds of Plantago Ovata, an herb mainly grown in India. It’s a type of fiber that’s commonly used as a laxative by absorbing water, becoming a thick, sticky compound that resists digestion (which also helps regulate high cholesterol and blood sugar levels), grabbing at digested food that’s passing from the stomach into the small intestines, and helping you push it alllllll out!
What this means for you is… uhh… less wiping and larger, more coherent waste…
I know, I painted a beautiful image for you. You’re welcome.
Like I’ve said, if you have diarrhea or constipation, take some psyllium husk fiber – your bowels will thank you. You can find it in most health stores in the form of husk, granules, powder, or even capsules.
Ryan and I did a personal challenge once where we eliminated salt from our diet for a week – worst week ever, I tell ya. Everything tasted so bland and boring to the point where we tried to find replacements for salt, such as more garlic, onions, or nutritional yeast, and it still just wasn’t satisfying.
Bottom line: salt = important
Important for your health and important for cooking!
The process of creating salt, or Sodium Chloride, is one of the oldest chemical industries to date, processing from salt mines and, mainly, seawater, with a whopping 35 grams of dissolved salt per 2.2 lbs of water. Salt is also the oldest food seasoning, which gains its saltiness from sodium ions. It’s a significant part of food preservation, plus it’s one of the basic human tastes (alongside sourness, sweetness, bitterness, and umami).
Usually, the table salt that you find in stores contains an anti-caking agent that keeps it from lumping together. Isn’t it crazy how companies can add random stuff into your food and not have to put it on the label?!
Salt is the main source of sodium and chloride ions in the human diet. Sodium is essential for nerve and muscle function and it’s involved in the regulation of fluids in the body. Chloride ions serve as important electrolytes by regulating blood pH and pressure.
Humans are constantly excreting salt when we sweat, therefore, we add salt into our diet to help replenish what is lost. Salt has many other benefits including:
- preventing iodine deficiency
- preventing diabetes
- sustaining hydration levels in the body
- improving cardiovascular health
- treating sore throats
- relieving muscle cramps
But we don’t need to dig too deep into this topic, or else we’ll be losing sleep for three days straight just trying to understand all that salt does.
Again, salt is important and there’s many ways you’re consuming it, maybe even without noticing, such as in your ketchup, fried rice, or plain ‘ol vegetables. Just pay attention to how much sodium you’re consuming to avoid problems like cardiovascular disease.
I don’t need to tell you where you can find salt or what recipes have it – every place has salt (except maybe a clothing store) and all of our recipes contain it, in one form or another.
How many glasses of mimosas are we at now?
See you next Sunday, lovelies!