By: M.C. Bench
My grandmother is all about the home remedies. Every time you get ill, she suggests a long list of things you should be ingesting in order to get well and prevent yourself from getting sick again. These lists usually contain a myriad of herbs and roots and weirdy what-nots that would make even Potions Master, Professor Snape cringe.
Through the years, I’ve noticed three items that seem to come up the most frequently: cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger. We like to joke amongst the family that apparently the solution to all of life’s illnesses and diseases are those three ingredients.
Well as it turns out, my grandma may not be so crazy. It takes but a quick scan of google to get lots of information on the health benefits she always purported. Today I want to talk a little about Ginger and why our two newest smoothies feature it so prominently.
Ginger is a root that is easily recognized by its strong aroma which, for lack of better words, is sweet and spicy.
Its origins can be traced to Southeast Asia and it still plays an important role in a lot of Asian cuisine. Rural America might not be using a whole lot of it though. I hadn’t once used fresh ginger in cooking before I spent two years living in the Philippines. Growing up we never had it fresh because my mom didn’t know what to do with it. If you’ve never seen ginger root it looks pretty funky; kind of like a mutant potato. It can be intimidating for sure.
Hopefully you’ve tasted it in some form though because it’s delicious. Maybe powdered in your Aunt Sally’s Spice Cake? Perhaps you’ve seen it yellow-fresh or pink-pickled and served with sushi to cleanse the palette in between bites? (If you’ve been putting the ginger on your vegas rolls this whole time you now know the reason why the staff always seems to be whispering, pointing, and laughing at you while you eat). What about Ginger Ale? Yes, it actually contains real ginger. And yes, one of ginger’s healing properties is treating nausea. And yes, that is why they give it to you on the airplane and why your mom always gave it to you when you were sick.
If you need a moment to collect your blown mind we can pause for you.
Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce soreness in muscles as well as arthritic joints. My aforementioned grandma is quite old and has only recently come to suffer from arthritis. If you ask her it’s because the ginger has kept it at bay all these years. “Ginger and Cinnamon are good for the Rheumatism”, I’ve heard her say. Instead of ibuprofen she’ll offer you a ginger candy.
That idea of healing with something delicious actually inspired me when it came time to create a new smoothie for December. What better supplement to add to a protein shake than one that naturally reduces muscle inflammation and joint pain? While I may not understand everything about it, my gut tells me if I can use something mother nature creates to solve an issue that comes up while exercising, that’s the route I should take.
The more I explored the benefits the more I realized ginger is simply too cool to be contained by just one protein shake. That’s why we’ve got two new smoothies this month, both of which use ginger as the central flavor.
The first, the “Ginger Snap” is full of protein and energy, making it ideal for a post-workout drink. It contains ginger, cinnamon, banana, whey protein, almond butter, almond milk, agave nectar, and a graham cracker for good measure.
The second, the “Green Ninja” takes a slightly different route. This bad boy is a detox specifically designed for cold and flu season. (*cough* holiday hangovers *cough* *cough*). It aims to harness ginger’s cleansing and immune boosting qualities. With ginger, lemon, honey, mango, spinach, and coconut water, it’s packed with vitamin C and fiber and will help your body clean up shop and fight off the nasty NYC bacteria Ninja Turtles style.
If you’ve never had a close encounter of the ginger kind, you’re missing out. Give the new smoothies a taste; I hoped to make ginger a little more user friendly this way. (And they’re both really tasty and very different).
Try to cook with it at home. Or at least keep it in mind when placing your takeout order. Later this month we’ll be looking at some recipes and how to prepare ginger which can help bridge that gap as well.
Feel free to put thoughts, questions, or rebuttal in the comment section below. This is truly meant to be the start of a dialogue. So until next time, enjoy some ginger!