A few years ago I began to study the importance of including an array of herbs and spices in our diet. One of the things I learned firsthand, was the power they had in curbing inflammation in the body.
During my worst season of fibromyalgia and sciatica pain I found myself craving ginger. When I say ginger I mean the actual root, not the powder stuff. It was not unusual to see me nibbling on a little nub of ginger root. I was eating it like candy. I know how really bizarre this sounds. However, at the time I was constantly craving.
What I did not understand, was why I craved ginger to such a degree. After some research, I realized that it was my body’s way of trying to reduce pain, by relieving the inflammation. This was before I learned to eat low carb and found a more practical way to reduce inflammation.
I did however learn a valuable lesson from that ginger craving season. Today I understand the value of adding more herbs and spices to my diet. As my body began to heal , that deep craving began to recede. It’s incredible how our bodies can tell us what it needs, if we would just listen more attentively.
I am always looking for creative ways to add more spice to my meals. I love tasting the foods of the world and finding ways to use them in my cooking. Doing so can make our meals more enjoyable and add more nutrients that our bodies need.
I have added the spices of Goa in an effort to add more nutrients to my diet. I have to be honest and tell you that prior to reading the blog Goan Imports, I had no concept of this culture’s rich history and foods. The writer of this blog, Nandini Silveira does an amazing job creating awareness of all things Goa. In addition, she has a site that very reasonably allows us to experience its wonderful spices. Go check out Nandini’s site.
I may not ever get to visit this exotic place, but I can certainly enjoy their foods and in the comfort of my home. If you love the rich spices of India, then trust me you would love Goan food.
Goa is in West India, and it is India’s richest state with a GDP per capita two and a half times that of the country as a whole. I just purchased a couple of items from Nandini’s site. When I opened my package of Goan Xacuti I was blown away by the aroma in this mix, it is truly intoxicating.
So true to my personality, I went out of the box with it. I looked at the ingredients and realized that many of the spices that make up Goan Xacuti are what makes a good cup of Chai. Do understand that if you were to look up a recipe for Chai you would find hundreds of different variations. That was a green light to do a little experimenting in the kitchen, something I love to do.
I made some strong black tea and added ¼ tsp. of this beautiful mix. Because I eat a low carb plan, instead of adding milk I made mine with heavy whipping cream, a very delightful decision. I sweetened it with sugar substitute, you could use your sweetener of choice. I added an extra dash of cinnamon and found myself sipping one of the best chai I’ve ever tasted.
True it’s unconventional, but what’s more fun than trying new foods, and making them your own? This makes a spicy chai, but after understanding all the benefits spices I welcome this fact. So why not give it a whirl? Perhaps like me you will feel you traveled to another side of the world. Pick up your own Goa spices here
Below are some of the benefits to including more spices to your diet:
Can lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL. By just adding one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day you can reap the benefits.
Helps with motion sickness and nausea; may also relieve pain and help those with arthritis and inflammation. Studies have shown that a range from 500 to 2,000 mg of powdered ginger or a quarter-size piece of fresh root which contains about 1,000 mg are needed for benefits. It’s important to note that ginger can also hinder blood clotting, so if you’re about to have surgery or are taking blood thinners or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
Contains curcumin, a cancer-fighting compound. It’s known for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve joints. Curcumin is effective both in protecting against cancer and helping those that have it.
Is known to have many health benefits. It has been shown to increase circulation and reduce the risk of heart problems. Red pepper in all its forms enhances the metabolism, increasing satiety and potentially stimulating fat burning, too.
Has antimicrobial properties and is great for keeping your gut healthy.
Is great for calming an upset stomach and when you have a cold help with coughs and runny noses. It has estrogen-like properties, and may increase milk flow in breastfeeding mothers.
Can help with muscle pains and arthritis. Of all spices it has the highest amount of antioxidants. It contains eugenol, which has mild anesthetic benefit. Useful for toothaches, gum pain, and sore throats anise is just overall great for you. It can even help with respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis. Studies also show that can help eliminate intestinal parasites, fungi, and bacteria.
Contains many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to be anti-oxidant, and disease preventing. It has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-fungal, and anti-depressant properties.
Has been known to be antiseptic, antispasmodic. Has digestive properties and can act as a diuretic. It is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Best Cup of Spicy Chai
Goan Xacuti Mix (1/4 tsp)
Two bags of black tea
3 ½ cups of water
4 teaspoons of swerve or other sweetener
3 teaspoons of whipping cream
Cinnamon (a dash or two)
¼ teaspoon of vanilla
In a small sauce pan boil the water with the tea bags on simmer. Next add the Goan Xacuti mix, sweetener, cinnamon, vanilla, and whipping cream. Allow to simmer for at least 4 minutes to let the tea steep properly. Makes 3 ½ cups of Spicy Chai. It is also quite good over ice. Enjoy!