real food for busy women - ginger, turmeric, juice & a fast nourishing meal each day

I have lots of topics to cover and it may wind up a bit convoluted, but they're all related in my real life.

hot, sweet ginger

(sounds vaguely naughty)

I love fresh ginger, and it's got one of the highest antioxidant levels of any vegetable, so well worth eating.

I also discovered early in my marriage that my husband will eat almost any big pile of vegetables if ginger, garlic and tamari are involved (similarly, my daughter would eat nearly any vegetable under a cheese sauce).

So ginger is on the menu here. However, if you buy just enough ginger for the next meal or two, you run out. If you buy a bigger hand and don't use it in time, it goes green and moldy before you get to it.

I want fresh ginger and I want it available all the time and I don't want it green.

So I decided the thing to do was grind it in the food processor and freeze it in a Ziploc bag. A friend's advice, which worked great, was to freeze it flat so you could easily break a corner off when you needed some.

And here's my patented lazy bit... it turns out, you don't have to peel it! All those annoying nooks and crannies that your vegetable peeler doesn't fit into - irrelevant. Stick the mixing blade into your food processor, wash your root, whizz it into bits, freeze it flat and break off however much you want to cook with. You will never notice the peel in there at all. Fresh ginger for stir-fry, fresh ginger for tea, fresh ginger to add to my juice - always ready.

And now on to turmeric...

The same friend suggested to me that I get some turmeric root. Turmeric is the king of anti-inflammatory foods much as ginger is the king of anti-oxidants.

I don't know why it never occurred to me that one could buy fresh turmeric, I'd never seen it except as the powder. I was unsure how to locate it locally, so checked Amazon, and bought a freaking pound of turmeric!

I handled this the exact same way as the ginger, the big difference is the color of turmeric (it is the coloring agent in yellow mustard). It stained my food processor a rather pretty yellow, so be forewarned if you have a nice one. Mine was $1 at a yard sale, so I'm not very perturbed at it's newfound yellowness.

Now the question becomes what to do with turmeric. I mean, I vaguely know it's an ingredient in curries, but we don't eat a lot of curry here, and as far as I can tell, the common ingredient my husband doesn't like in many curries I've made is turmeric. He did eat a turmeric-spiced soup once, that I had made for myself not expecting him to like it, just to confuse me. But generally it doesn't quite fit into our cooking to use turmeric.

So for me, the answer is... juice!

raw, freshly squeezed juice

(everything sounds vaguely naughty to me today!)

I was opposed to juice for a long time as I was exposed to people doing massive juicing fasts where they just juiced quarts of the stuff and entire pineapples were involved. Juice concentrates the sugars in whatever food you are juicing and since I'm a diabetic, I assumed juicing was just not for me.

But when I tried GAPS, since it insists on juice, I bought a cheapo juicer. And I found that if I juiced reasonable amounts of produce, to yield 4-8 oz of juice, it barely nudged my blood glucose up at all.

I do the equivalent of a large salad most days, so it's not excessive. And since it's the first thing I do each day, I know I am getting a good dose of veggies in even if I don't eat much vegetables the rest of the day. As a bonus, my husband turns out to like the stuff too, which I never expected!

My recipe varies depending on what's in the fridge or garden, but in general it's:

  • 1/2 a small apple or 1/3 of a large one (sometimes I use frozen pineapple if I'm out of apples)
  • 2 large or 3 medium carrots
  • a stalk of celery, if I've got some to spare
  • 1/4 - 1/2 of a cucumber, if I have excess from the garden (doubles the volume of juice by itself)
  • 2-3 cups of mixed greens
  • a few bits of fresh parsley or dandelion
  • a chunk of ginger (about a tablespoon)
  • a smaller chunk of turmeric
I stick the leafy stuff and frozen spices through first and use the carrots and apples to help push it all through. The fibrous stuff leftover goes to the chickens.

I stir my probiotics into this concoction as they're a powder. And during flu season, I add a few drops of elderberry syrup each day.

This might seem like obvious advice, but... if you haven't juiced before, juice what you like. Juice doesn't taste different than the fruits, vegetables and herbs it's made from. Carrot juice tastes like carrots! If you don't like cilantro, you won't like it in your juice. There's a bazillion sites out there that will tell you what juice is best for what ails you, but if you dislike beets, it will not help your liver to juice it cause you won't drink it.

Most important meal of the day?

I've never been much of a morning person, and it's rare for me to be hungry first thing, so I never got into the whole bit where breakfast is the most important part of the day. However, now that I'm home all the time, it is the most important meal for me. It might not occur until I've been up for 3 to 4 hours, but it's the main meal for my health.

And it is ultimately lazy! I put the ingredients for juice in a Pyrex container the night before while working in the kitchen anyway; it takes 1-2 minutes. I don't peel, core or chop beyond getting the bits small enough to go into the juicer.

Then my overall breakfast goes like this:

  1. Put a small pot of water on to boil.
  2. Make juice.
  3. Add eggs to pot of water and set timer for 6 minutes (for soft-boiled).
  4. Drink juice.
  5. Rinse juicer (it only takes a minute if done immediately).
  6. Peel eggs into bowl. Top with butter and salt.
  7. Grab a previously-cooked almond meal or coconut flour muffin or a slice of cornbread.
  8. Eat eggs and muffin.
  9. Do dishes (one pot, one bowl, one spoon and knife).

It takes about 15 minutes to prepare, eat and clean up this meal which is a big dose of veggies with all those lovely water-soluble vitamins, good animal fats full of fat-soluble vitamins, and chockful of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories and probiotics. It might just be the fountain of youth!

It's not a gourmet meal, but it's something I can do almost every day and provides a decent nutritional base for me even if the rest of the day is all downhill from there... if I'm naughty the rest of the day, or too tired to deal with food, I've got one definite nourishing meal in my belly.

And it all starts with grinding ginger and turmeric ahead of time.

Disclosure: Affiliate

Image credit: Adapted from Juice af gulerødder og appelsiner by cyclonebill from Copenhagen, Denmark [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.