6 sneaky ways to get more turmeric into your diet this season

6 sneaky ways to get more turmeric into your diet this season

If this is the first you’re hearing about the limitless health benefits of turmeric, it’s time to come out from the rock you’re hiding under. This tiny bright orange root has been called the “wonder drug,” the “medical substitute” and “the healthiest food in the world.” It is said to be the most effective nutritional resource in existence. It is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, meaning it helps your body ward off disease and can heal you from illness faster. It dramatically spikes your body’s antioxidants, and if you don’t know what antioxidants are, they’re the reason there’s always a huge line at the juice stand for a kale/pomegranate/ginger smoothie in the middle of flu season. Antioxidants act as a barrier between your health and “free radicals,” which are carcinogens, additives, toxins, and anything else that threatens your white blood cells. Antioxidants blast free radicals, and turmeric has a crazy amount of antioxidants. Turmeric also increases brain function and alertness, lowers the risk of heart disease, and can prevent certain kinds of cancer. Basically, ingesting turmeric is the equivalent of taking every pill in your medicine cabinet except turmeric is natural, cheap, and if used correctly - delicious. So, there’s only one question you should be asking yourself right now, and that is: why have I not been eating turmeric in every single one of my meals?  Never fear, you can start now. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Use turmeric in your Overnight Oats

Another huge health trend sweeping our millennial nation right now is the mason-jarred creation known as ‘Overnight Oats’. These can be concocted using any number of flavor and oat and fruit combinations, but adding a pinch of turmeric to yours will not only give your breakfast a nice, cheery yellow tint but also the knowledge that you’re starting your day on the best foot possible. Here’s what you do: In a mason jar, pour about a half cup of quick-cooking steel cut oats, a spoonful of peanut butter, a little honey or maple syrup, and a pinch of turmeric (cinnamon too, if you like the taste). Pour vanilla almond milk or coconut milk over the mixture until the oats are covered, and then stick in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning you literally grab and go.

2. PSLs, anyone?

There is not a man woman or child alive right now that hasn’t been made a victim of the never-ending Starbucks advertisements indicating the beginning of “PSL Season,” or, as it is known to the rest of us: Fall. The month of October marks the anniversary of the death of coffee and the birth of its magical, wintery predecessor, The Pumpkin Spice Latte. But here’s the catch: everyone is secretly addicted to them. Yet no self-respecting man can walk into a coffee shop and order one, without leaving his dignity behind him when he goes. Great news, people of planet Earth! You can make them at home, and you can make them one million times healthier than the sugar-ridden over-priced stuff you’d get elsewhere.

Here’s what you do:

Brew coffee, heat milk, and add to the milk a few drops of vanilla extract, a little honey, a spoonful of cinnamon, a few spoonfuls of pumpkin puree, and the kicker: as much or as little turmeric as you want. (Pro tip: The cinnamon/pumpkin combination will overpower the flavor of the turmeric, so add liberally to increase health benefits.)

3. Why I will name my first-born Butternut Squash

Tis’ the season of squash, gourds, and pumpkins, and I don’t hear anyone complaining. These seasonal favorites make some of the best, most Fall-tastic dishes that make this season worth waiting all year for. You know when you go to a restaurant, order a cup of butternut squash soup, and then pay $16 for it? You’re not mad, because it was awesome, but you know you could make it for a fraction of the cost at home. Well, your inner voice is almost always right: it’s cheap, healthy, and easy.

Here’s what you do:

Roast any squash your heart desires: acorn, butternut, or maybe a yam or a gourd. It matters not, they’re all the same once you slather them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and turmeric. Once they’re done and your apartment smells amazing, you scoop the softened meat of the squash into a blender or food processor. Add a cup or so of vegetable broth (or beef or chicken) and another dash of turmeric. Blend until smooth. (Pro tip: add a touch of cream at the end for a silky, velvety consistency.) (Even Pro-er tip: Enjoy with a full-bodied Cab.)

4. Curry, in a Hurry

Who doesn’t love a little Indian comfort food? Whether your poison is Tikka Misala, Channa Saag, or good old fashioned Butter Chicken, you can bump up your weeknight dinners with a pinch of yellow nectar. Curries are simple and you can make them with whatever you have in your fridge. Stir-fry from last week? Throw it in there. Grilled chicken you need to use? Perfect. How many cans of beans can I add? The answer is, there is no ceiling.

Here’s what you do:

A good base is a chopped onion, garlic, and ginger that you saute in coconut oil. Add your vegetables next: cauliflower, chickpeas, sweet potato, and peas are always a great choice. Now you add in the flavor: Curry powder, smoked paprika, cayenne (if you like a kick) and, you guessed it, turmeric. Once you’ve softened the vegetables and cooked down the spices, add a can of coconut milk and simmer. At the end you can add cooked shrimp or chicken, and serve over rice. And when you go for seconds, you’ll be guilt-free.

5. Tahini is so hot right now

Who doesn’t love a good bowl? Instagram stars are rising to fame with their picturesque creations of colorful, bountiful bowls with beautiful dressings and a few green onions sprinkled on top. They say you eat with your eyes first, but I think the mouth part is a little more important. A dressing can make or break a bowl, and if you’re going to spend an hour roasting vegetables and grilling chicken, what you drizzle on top better be delicious.

Here’s what you do:

Mix a couple spoonfuls of hummus, a couple spoonfuls of tahini (deliciously Mediterranean condiment made from sesame seeds) half a lemon squeezed, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Next step, pour over salad or bowl, and enjoy. (Pro tip: this magic sauce works as a marinade, too.)

6. A tea a day keeps the doctor away

Now more than ever, tea is a wonderful elixir that provides just as many health benefits as it does soul comforts. Curl up with a cup of steaming tea and call in sick to work, because you’re not putting pants on if it’s less than 40 degrees. Making it is simple, but you need a few things on hand first. Buy turmeric root at your local Whole Foods or health store - they’re usually located right next to the ginger root, which is convenient, because you need that too. Buy a few ounces of both.

Here’s what you do:

Begin by heating purified water in a saucepan on the stove, and add sliced ginger and turmeric, letting the water come to a boil. Cook for a few minutes, or until you see the water begin to color golden brown. Serve in a mug with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of honey, and allow this drink to cure a sore throat, a nagging cough, or even tight muscles after leg day.