Tag: ginger


ginger tea for energy & reducing inflammation


Hey there, guys!  Happy December!  (I can’t believe this year is already coming to a close!) #timeflies

Today I wanted to tell you about a tea I made that I am SO hoping will help get rid of the inflammation and pain I’m having in my left pointer finger as well as some (probably?) sympathy pain in the areas surrounding said finger.  (ie: my thumb and middle finger get rather stiff when the main culprit is particularly angry as well as just my entire hand aching when I move or try to grip– I’m assuming since it’s nothing near as severe as that one finger, that it’s a sort of sympathetic pain or just the tendency for it to be achy and stiff while not being the main area of inflammation or pain.

If THAT made any sense!

Okay, so I have been a proponent of using ginger for energy and stuff if you remember my post about it here, you’ll know I’ve consumed a lot of ginger over the summer in a cold drink.  Today, I found a recipe for a hot ginger drink I’d never seen before.

Honestly, I don’t know why because it’s so stinkin’ simple!  Of course, I didn’t make it strictly by the recipe because, well, that’s just how I roll for one, and for two, I wanted to cut some sugar out of it.

After having a cup of the tasty concoction, I have to say, I’ll be cutting the sugar back even more because it’s just too sweet, even for me!  And I have a giant sweet tooth, so you know it’s gotta be super-syrupy if I’m complaining!  Ha!

Okay, so here it is…. This is simply sliced, fresh ginger, boiling water, lemon (I added that slice after brewing) and brown sugar.  Yep, that’s it!

So, the recipe called for a cup of brown sugar AND a tablespoon of honey (or agave) but I skipped the honey just to reduce sugar content.  I’ll cut back on the brown sugar next time, too!  It was just way too much sugar at a 5:1 ratio.  Next time, I’ll try a half cup to five cups of water.

Okay, the instructions are to boil the water and ginger.  I sliced up a quarter cup of the fresh ginger I almost always have in the freezer.  No particular thickness, but I assume the thinner, the more of the ginger essence you’ll get in your tea.  So as soon as the ginger boiled, I took it off the heat and let it steep while I measured the brown sugar.  Mind you, people, the recipe I had called for an entire cup of PACKED brown sugar.  Woo!  It was way too much!

I had gotten my favorite (and only!) glass pitcher from the fridge.  We had been keeping filtered water in it when we stopped buying bottled water, but later, I had gotten some glass bottles of kombucha and juice so I recycled the bottles and had been keeping five or six of those filled in the fridge.  I am guaranteed to drink more water if it’s kept in the fridge in a bottle.  But I emptied the pitcher and warmed the glass and then, like a big idiot, I thought I could put the water from the kettle straight into the pitcher.

Um, nope.  It broke almost immediately.  Sheesh.  Anyway, I quickly poured it all into my huge measuring cup to stir in the sugar and get it dissolved.  The recipe said to strain off the ginger, but as you can see from the photo, I didn’t.  I wanted to get as much ginger action as I could, even though I knew it was gonna be really spicy!

I added a couple drops each of sweet orange essential oil and cinnamon bark essential oil just because that’s how I am.  Ha ha!  I have to fiddle with the recipe or it’s not me cooking!  I just thought cinnamon and orange would smell so delicious in the ginger brew and it did indeed!  And it was quite tasty that way as well!

Then, just before I drank it, I added the slice of lemon (after pulling the seeds out of my slice and making it look weird).  As I said, I knew it would be hot, as in spicy hot, and I’m normally not a spicy-hot girl as I will pass on hot peppers every day of the week and twice on Sunday!  But somehow, ginger heat isn’t the same, so I did get a nice slight burn down my throat as I drank my little toddy.

I am hoping this stuff will help keep my finger from at least getting worse but hopefully, it will make it feel better.  The pain is getting pretty intense and unless the ginger really makes it a lot better, I’ll probably go see a rheumatologist as soon as I can.

Until then, I’m going to give this ginger tea a good run.  I ended up adding another couple cups of water to the mix that was still in the kettle, adding a new slice of lemon to it as well and am waiting to see if it cuts down the syrupy-ness enough.

Let me know if you try this and if you’ve had luck using ginger as an anti-inflammatory!


a healthy homebrew…


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When a friend told me about this stuff, I did some research and found this on YouTube, it was called “Good Girl Moonshine”.  My husband, bless his heart, can’t remember names at all, so he inevitably began to call it “Good Girl Juice” and occasionally requests that I fix him a bottle of it.  We can only hope he’s not telling the guys at work what he calls it.  Ha.

Now, I was skeptical upon seeing the downright ecstasy with which these two sisters extolled the virtues and health benefits of drinking this stuff.  But since I’m always looking for something to help give me energy or lose weight, I was game to try it. Here are the simple ingredients for making this concoction:

  • ice (fill a 32 oz. container to the top)
  • purified water (just don’t use tap!)
  • lemon juice  (2 Tsp)
  • ginger root, grated  (2 Tsp)
  • apple cider vinegar [also known as ACV] (2 Tsp)
  • sweetener  (to taste)

First of all, make sure whatever brand of ACV you get that it has “the mother” in it.  Ha-ha.. I know, that just sounds weird, but stick with me.  This simply means the ACV is organic and unfiltered, which leaves it with strands of the apple protein, enzymes and friendly bacteria.  It will appear as a sort-of ‘sediment’ which may float at the top or settle in the bottom of the bottle.  I use Bragg brand because it has been around for forever and has a good reputation for being an excellent product.  ACV has TONS of benefits for your health, including stabilizing blood sugar, promoting weight loss, and aiding digestion among others you can read about here.

Secondly, purified water.  We all know the importance of pure water.  Don’t take a chance with your tap water.

Thirdly… the lemon juice, make sure it is 100% juice and not a cocktail or a lemonade mix.  ALSO, contrary to what I have pictured in this post, it is obviously better to use organic lemons or organic lemon juice.  (I just didn’t have any of either at the time I started snapping pix for the post)  I found a great source for Santa Cruise organic lemon juice.  The best and probably easiest source for the juice OR organic lemons will be a local market.  If you have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market near you, thank God and head over there.  For me, it’s a 160-mile round trip to either of those places!  So I found organic lemons here.

Fourthly, (is that even a word?) and probably the most complicated…ginger root.  My adventures in procuring “the perfect” ginger have been varied and somewhat disappointing.  I’ve bought it from Kroger, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

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I can’t really tell that it makes a difference where you get it other than from Whole Foods, it will more likely be organic. (but check to make sure if that’s what you’re looking for)  No matter if it’s organic or not, ginger root is gonna be different.  I’ve found some that are a dark yellow, almost brown color, others that are bright yellow and more moist.  Ginger is stringy by nature, but sometimes it will be MUCH stringier than others.  Those daggone strings drive me nuts!  If you can’t find organic ginger root near you, you can order it with the link in this sentence!!

 

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Egads!  The strings!!!

Ginger will grate best when it’s frozen, so pop that baby in the freezer soon as you get it home.  I’ve read posts that say you don’t HAVE to peel it, but I don’t like the papery texture of the ginger peel, so I use the back side of a knife and scrape the peel off as best I can.

 

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We have grown extremely fond of ginger as witnessed by my empty tub of Trader Joe’s famous Triple Ginger Snaps.  They’re the bomb & a couple of them make a nice treat after a delicious, healthy supper.

As you can see below, I have an ancient Salad Shooter that I’ve started using after grating the old fashioned way quickly got too time-consuming.  I don’t know how long my Shooter will work because, seriously, it’s OLD and the grater cone has a crack in it, but it sure beats the grater EXCEPT for having to stop and disassemble the thing to clear the strings.  ARGH!
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I’ve also used my old-fashioned crank grater…you know, the shiny silver kind your grandma probably had that you either clamp or suction to the counter.  It is tied with the Shooter for efficiency.  Meh.

STOP THE PRESSES FOR THIS UPDATE!  [9-14-15]
I had been contemplating buying a zester, which is basically a very fine shredder/grater but I digress, to see if it would do any better for this. I had serious doubts and didn’t want to end up with another kitchen gadget I had no room to store in my house, but the other day I found one in Burkes on sale, so I grabbed it and lo and behold:

ZESTER!

IT WORKS!! And wonderfully well, I might add! I did enough for my 48 ounce bottle in two snaps. FOR REAL! No stopping to clean the blades, no immense waste from all the strings (there ARE no strings with the zester!) Be sure it’s still frozen though, I’m sure that made it all the quicker.  A microplane zester works better than the rounded type, btw, and you can use this link to order one basically like the one I have.  (you can’t count on finding stuff at Burkes, those deals are sort-of the grab ’em when you can type!)
So rejoice and cue the “Hallelujah Chorus” y’all…then run out and get yourself a zester RIGHT NOW!
And now back to your regularly scheduled post….

So, really grating the ginger is the single most time-consuming part of this whole process.  I will admit to using ground ginger in a pinch.

[NOTE:  I finally found some good organic ground ginger!  Go here for Simply Organic Certified Organic Ground Ginger Root

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However, let me spare you some pain by sharing what I learned the first time I used ground instead of fresh:  use ONLY 1 TEAspoon of the ground, not a TABLEspoon…and DEFINITELY not TWO tablespoons!!  (stop laughing!)   Be aware, too, that the ground will not completely dissolve, so just be sure to shake it each time before you take a swig so it’s not all concentrated at the bottom or that last mouthful will FEEL like you put 2 tablespoons in it.

Once you finally have your ginger grated, you’re ready to put your concoction together.  You simply put all the ingredients in your jar or bottle (more on that in a sec), shake it up really good and let it sit for about 5 -10 minutes (if you can wait that long).

As for sweetener, I have a couple different things I use.
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Yes, I actually use regular ol’ sugar too. Having had type 1 diabetes for over 40 years, I have tasted pretty much every artificial sweetener to come down the pike.  I have tasted some dawg-nasty stuff, trust me.  I don’t really care for any of them, even the newest stuff, and I avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible.  The THM Gentle Sweet isn’t bad, but I can’t use it all the time but I use it every once in awhile and it’s really pretty good for an artificial sweetener.

Then there are the side effects of using those types of things.  I have never been able to tolerate stevia, but I keep trying.  Most any artificial sweetener will give me a headache.  I don’t need any of those, thank you, so when I am going to “splurge” on a sweet treat, I just go for the real thing and bolus to cover it.  Now you know.  So anyhow, I make a 48 ounce batch for myself (that’s the size bottle I have) and so using around a tablespoon of sugar in that amount along with the properties of the ACV apparently, I don’t need to bolus insulin for it.  It has never caused my blood sugar to spike. (that’s not to say it won’t make YOURS spike, so remember YMMV for any of this stuff!  Just try it first for yourself!)

Okay, now for the bottle.  If you watched that video linked at the first of this post, you will see they are using regular ol’ glass Mason jars.  That’s fine for most anyone, I suppose, but there are many downfalls to using those.  For one, my hands are too small to easily grip a quart jar.  They are glass…difficulty gripping them is a pretty sure bet I’m gonna drop one and break it all over the place.  Not fun.  They don’t travel well.  Sure, you could go ahead and put the flat and ring on it if you wanted to take it with you in the car, but it ain’t gonna fit in the cup holder, ya know?  Then there’s the problem of actually carrying it from one place to another.  What do you do?  Put it in your purse?  No, I had to find a better solution.

My family is full of outdoorsy nutjobs.  Seriously, they love hiking, kayaking, camping, cycling (of course) and rock climbing.  We are always in the market for VERY sturdy equipment.  Somewhere along the line, my husband and boys found these things…

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Nalgene bottles rock!  We have about 5 of them just between Hubby and myself.  They are made of a hard BPA-free plastic that’s almost indestructible.  In addition to these Nalgene bottles, we get something called a Cap-Cap for them so that they’re easier to drink from.  (that’s a link for the 2-pack because trust me, once you get a one of these, you’ll need a second one & won’t want to use the bottle without the Cap-Cap!)
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You can see most of the Cap-Cap in the above photo.  It essentially lets you have a smaller opening to drink from (eliminating that inevitable face-splash from drinking from the larger one) and still have easy access to the wide-mouth of the bottle for filling with ice and liquid.  I got some of my Cap-Caps on Amazon, but they also carry them in most outdoors or sporting goods stores.  REI is our favorite.  I swear I’m not getting kickbacks, but we do love our awesome outdoor gear!  You can also see this is my 48 oz bottle.  Nalgenes come in 16 oz, 32 oz and 48 oz sizes.  They also have different styles and cap-types available.
The single downfall I have found to using my Nalgene is that it’s like a little baby drinking from a huge sippy cup.  You are NOT gonna sneak a sip from it in a meeting or group setting, trust me.  But if that’s the only drawback, I’m okay with it.  Ha-ha!

I try to get a full 48 ounces of GGJ every day.  I haven’t found that it gives me tons of energy which is really disappointing, but it is obviously helping me lose weight.  After the cycling kick-started my body into dumping some weight, adding this is the only thing that could be helping me continue to lose even after NOT being able to ride for over two months now.  Now THAT is exciting!

One more product before I go… this:

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We laughingly refer to that as my Nalgene Purse.  It’s made by a company called ChicoBag and we bought one for me (at REI) after a short hike up to Natural Bridge wherein I had to awkwardly tote that heavy bottle the whole time because I had on running shorts with nowhere to hang it on my pants.
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It doesn’t work as well with the 32 oz, only because you will have to roll or push the top of the bag down a bit to expose the top of the bottle, but is designed perfectly for the 48.  Even when I’m just around the house drinking my GGJ, I put it in the bag.  It keeps it from sweating on everything and makes it easy to grab and keep right with me.  I’ve been known to take it into the grocery store or even a restaurant with me.  It “wads” up into itself leaving you with a neat little stuff sack, has a small caribiner to clip your keys to when you head out for a hike or paddle.  It also sports a couple of little skinny pockets on the handle just right for a pen or a tube of lip balm.

Let me know if you start drinking your own Good Girl Juice and how it works for you!  I’d love to hear.

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