Posts Tagged ‘turmeric’

Cutting The Mustard

February 12, 2014

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Athletes often use sports drinks and energy gels to refuel and prevent muscle cramps during strenuous activities. These costly and high sugar aids can easily be replaced by a simple fast food staple: mustard packets.

Muscle cramps are often caused by a deficiency in  acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that simulates the muscles during work. When consumed, mustard triggers the body to produce more  acetylcholine, due to it’s high acetic acid content.

Turmeric, which gives mustard it’s rich yellow hue, is thought to have beneficial properties as well. Often touted as an anti-inflammatory and a natural arthritis aid, turmeric is thought to reduce muscle stiffness and joint swelling.

Vinegar, found in prepared mustard, is another home remedy which is effective in  relieving muscle cramps. Just one packet of mustard contains the same amount of sodium as 8 oz. of Gatorade Endurance. The combination of vinegar, sodium and turmeric packs a big punch in supporting athlete’s quick nutritional needs.

If your artificially flavored sports gels and drinks aren’t cutting the mustard anymore, it might be time to try the real deal.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Natural Easter Egg Dyes

March 28, 2013

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This Sunday is Easter, a sacred Christian holiday that has somehow become synonymous with bunnies, chocolate, and colored eggs. Like Christmas, the commercialized aspects of the day have turned it into Everyman’s celebration of spring.  The drugstores, grocery stores and toy stores are filled with bunnies; some stuffed, some chocolate, and some made out of a nasty colored, chemical laden marshmallow mixture. The colored eggs, when not formed from plastic and designed to hold some of the above, are made at home.

There are many ways to dye Easter eggs. Some hard-boil them; some poke a hole and blow the contents out, leaving a hollow egg to embellish. They can be painted, drawn on, covered in fabric, yarn or colorful tapes. There are decals and decorating kits, produced just for this purpose.

I prefer to create eggs that can be eaten. And I sure don’t want to eat something that has been dipped in possibly toxic dyes and vinegar.

Why not consider making naturals dyes, derived from real foods?
Here are a few ideas for creating edible dyes in beautiful hues to enhance your Easter basket:

Chick standing by broken egg, studio shot

Blue:

Boil 2 cups of chopped red cabbage in a quart of water. Add ¼ cup white vinegar. Strain before using.

Alternatively, cook blueberries in water and vinegar for a purple-blue cast.

Lavender:

Mix 1 cup of Concord grape juice with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.

Pinks and reds:
Simmer 2 chopped beets with ¼ cup vinegar and 3 cups water. Strain before using.

Cranberries can also be used instead, to create another red hue.

Yellow:

Mix 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons of turmeric. Allow it to steep for at least 10 minutes before using.

Green:

Mix the yellow dye and the blue dye together to create a new color.

Orange:

Mix 2 tablespoons of paprika with 3 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of vinegar and allowing it to steep before using.

Alternatively, mix the red and yellow dyes together to obtain the perfect color.

Allow the dyes to cool before using. The longer the dyes are allowed to steep, the deeper the hue will be. The dye should look darker than the desired shade before using. The longer the eggs are soaked, the deeper the color. Experiment with other colorful foods to create beautiful, edible eggs.

Happy Spring!

photos: Glasshouse Images


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