Turmeric Milk

turmeric milk mugsI’m not a milk drinker, so the idea of combining turmeric and milk was the furthest from my thoughts, but I was missing out.

It’s very tasty, and something that I now enjoy each night before bed. In ayurveda, this golden milk is helpful for calming vata and clearing mucus from kapha. Milk increases our ojas, or immunity, and we want all the ojas we can get! It keeps away coughs and sniffles during the winter months and between seasonal shifts. We enjoyed the cherry blossom festival last weekend on Okinawa, so spring has already sprung and it’s not even yet February (try telling that to the trapped motorists on snowy Atlanta roads last night or anyone who survived the 2014 “polar vortex”). Continue reading

Okonomiyaki – Japanese Pancake

okonomiyaki templeWe spent New Year’s Eve in Kyoto this year with my sister-in-law and her beau. It was beautiful and busy, but most restaurants were not open. It seems to me that Japanese people take their holidays very seriously.  I mean, where are people going to eat? Options limited for dining and drinking, we made the best of the situation and bought kimonos to stroll around the streets of Gion, greeting passersby with “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!” During our stay, we ended up eating at an okonomiyaki place twice… in one day. Yes, it was that delicious, but our hand was a little forced by the occasion.

okonomiyaki kyotoKyoto is in a region of Japan that is well known for its okonomiyaki. The name for this savory, grilled “pancake” translates as okonomi, for “whatever you want,” and yaki, for “grilled.” I particularly like how easy this is to throw together. I think it’s a great, last-minute meal for cleaning out the refrigerator, which is appealing to my frugal senses. I purchased a gigantic head of cabbage for fewer than two bucks and had to make plans for using it up. After Mexican and Vietnamese inspired coleslaws, I still had a lot leftover. Okonomiyaki is the perfect vehicle for hiding lots of veggies into a quick and delicious dinner. Continue reading

Ayurveda and Lemon Water

lemon water juicerOhayou gozaimasu! Good morning from Okinawa, Japan.  It’s January, the month of new beginnings and changes. It also began with a new moon, which is interesting even if you don’t think so.

Did you make any resolutions this year? If so, tell me about them. If not, I suggest that you add warm lemon water to your morning routine, known as dinacharya in ayurveda. It’s uncomplicated and effective, valuable attributes in resolutions if I do say so myself. Continue reading

Ginger Tea

ginger tea pouringGinger is my go-to herb of choice. I prefer ginger to analgesics, and have been known to carry raw ginger in my purse. It’s a great anti-inflammatory, immunity booster, and is wonderful for digestion.  Helpful for breaking up colds, coughs, and phlegm, you’ll want to keep ginger around all winter. Continue reading

Kabocha Spice Latte (Dairy-free)

kabocha latte kabocha and mugAutumn is approaching. I know this because my Facebook news feed is full of comments about a certain company’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not because there’s been a weather change or anything silly like that. It’s Okinawa. It’s still hot here. Thank goodness my news feed keeps me informed.

Seriously though, let’s make a healthier version of this fall treat for you pumpkin lovers. You can say no thanks to the artificial pumpkin-flavored syrup, and hello to real food. Since I’ve yet to see a real-deal pumpkin in the local Japanese markets, guess what we’ll be using? Kabocha, of course! Continue reading

DIY Ayurvedic Body Scrub – Pitta

pitta scrub tubBody scrubs are ridiculously cheap and easy to make. You can use all sorts of things to make a body scrub: beans, grains, salt, sugar, herbs, flowers, or spices. A body scrub should be edible. If you can’t put it in your mouth, you probably shouldn’t put it on your skin.  Continue reading

Gobo (Burdock) and Carrot Kinpira

gobo kinpira with chopsticksGobo (ゴボウ) is the Japanese name for burdock. It’s a root vegetable that has a very pleasant and earthy taste. Kinpira (きんぴら) is a Japanese cooking style that employs two cooking methods in one pot: sauté and simmer. Hurray, for one less dish to wash!

I had been taking burdock medicinally for a while before we moved to Okinawa to treat inflammation and eczema. Burdock supports the liver, acts as a mild diuretic, and is well-known as a blood purifier. It’s particularly good for treating the pitta dosha. When we arrived on island I saw lots of fresh burdock; I was excited to try cooking with it. I chopped it up and threw it into a soup. It was ok, nothing great though. I tried it a few more times because it was local, and good for me. I just wanted to like it better.   Continue reading