This post was originally published in December 2017.
Several years ago, I participated in an intensive yoga course, which required attending classes at a local studio almost daily and first thing in the morning. This was before my diagnosis, but just after I experienced my first flare-up, so fatigue was an issue for me at the time.
I was complaining to another student while we were waiting to step into the studio about how tired I was. We were doing a strict detox diet, and coffee was not on the approved list. She pulled this small bottle* out of her bag and handed it to me.
Her: “It’s a turmeric shot. These things are great natural energy boosts.”
Me: “Turmeric? As in the spice?”
Her: “Yeah, have you heard about it? It’s got all these great ayurvedic properties, but it’s been found to boost your energy naturally. It’s more potent than caffeine.”
Me: “And it’s safe?”
Her: “Absolutely. It’s all-natural. Just try half of it and let me know what you think after class.”
I tried it, and she was correct. I felt extremely energized. I was almost shaking to get the class started, that’s how powerful it was for me. I will add this note: it was the first of any sort of energy drink I had in weeks. We couldn’t even drink green tea, so the results might have been slightly skewed due to my body just going into overload.
I didn’t get a chance to follow up with the turmeric as an energy booster after that experience. But it stayed in the back of my mind. When I read about the benefits of turmeric in the diet for brain health and as an anti-inflammatory, I decided to look back into it. It might be worth trying to help manage my MS.
The Health Benefits of Turmeric
What makes turmeric the wonder spice is the curcumin. Curcumin is believed to be a beneficial supplement to fight Alzheimer’s due to its anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting properties. It also is found to have cognitive-boosting abilities, though this needs to be researched further. It can also help prevent certain forms of cancer.
These two things alone: inflammation and cognition are issues a person with MS deals with daily. I am not advocating forsaking all other forms of MS therapy. I am adding it to my daily diet to supplement traditional forms of MS therapy. And as a runner, the anti-inflammatory benefits are beneficial to recovery.
But the energy/metabolism and the immune benefits? This becomes a universal appeal for daily consumption of turmeric. Even if you don’t have MS, having a natural way to get more energy and boost the immune system will be beneficial to your health. It may not cure a cold or prevent getting one, but it will give you that extra boost your body might need.
Making My Own Turmeric Drink
Before removing sugar from my diet, I found it harder to stomach turmeric even in a drink form. The taste was too weird, and I needed something sweet to help cover it up. It’s how I handled flavors I didn’t care for in the past: add sugar to make it more palatable.
A few weeks after quitting sugar, I bought several shots of turmeric for an early morning road trip I was making to Tennessee. I took some sips and found that I actually enjoyed the flavor and felt quite the energy boost. Sugar struck again as a ruiner of flavors. Now that it was out of my system, I was able to enjoy something I previously disliked.
But what took my breath away was the price per bottle. I could drink one bottle per day for the health benefits, but my wallet wasn’t going to be fond of the ~$6.00 per 3 fl oz. I knew I could make it even cheaper.
I found a couple of recipes online. However, they didn’t adhere to the vegan diet. They used honey or some other animal-based additive. I decided to create my own recipe. Below the break, you will find my recipe and some ideas for modifications.
Ginger-Turmeric Booster Shots
1″ fresh Turmeric, skinned and roughly chopped (or 2 teaspoons of dry Turmeric)
1″ fresh Ginger, skinned and roughly chopped (or 2 teaspoons of dry Ginger)
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Cups Coconut Water
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Pinch of Black Pepper
Because the Turmeric stains, make sure to protect your work surface or use tools you don’t mind getting yellow/orange. If you don’t want to walk around with orange hands for a few days, use powdered Turmeric or gloves. If you use a nut bag to strain the Turmeric, make sure to use one that can be dedicated to the Turmeric shots because this will also get stained.
- Combine all the ingredients, except the black pepper and 1 cup of coconut water, in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until the solid ingredients are pulpy.
- Using a nut milk bag or fine cheesecloth, strain the ingredients into a bowl. You’ll want to squeeze all the liquid out. Add in the 2nd cup of coconut water and a pinch of black pepper.
- Transfer liquid into a bottle that you can store in the fridge. The recipe makes 18 fl oz.
When you want a shot, make sure to shake the bottle up before pouring out your desired amount (3 oz. or shot glass equivalent). You want to make sure to get some of the black pepper in your shot because it will help your body absorb the curcumin and maximize the benefits of the shot.
It’s recommended that you leave the drink no longer than 4 days in the fridge, but I found it to be fine 7 days later. I wouldn’t let it sit for more than a week.
- To make a less sweet drink, remove the maple syrup or reduce to 1 Tablespoon
- Maple syrup makes the drink vegan, but if you would prefer honey for allergy reasons (local honey can help with seasonal allergies), feel free to substitute honey
- This is a fantastic way to consume apple cider vinegar, so if you already include that in your health regimen, you can add more into your drink when you pour your “shot”
- Apple cider vinegar adds a nice tangy flavor but coupled with the lemon and ginger it might be too tart for some. Feel free to remove the apple cider vinegar if that doesn’t appeal to you
- If you don’t like coconut water, you can substitute filtered water
Reasons for Each Ingredient
We’ve already established the health benefits of turmeric, so here’s some information for each of the other ingredients.
- Ginger: helps with indigestion, reduces muscle pain and soreness, anti-inflammatory, lower blood sugar, and cholesterol, improves brain function, and helps fight infections
- Maple Syrup: antioxidants that help with inflammation, the low-glycemic index for those watching their sugar intake
- Apple Cider Vinegar: lowers blood sugar levels and cholesterol, helps with weight loss, may help prevent cancer, helps with indigestion, helps boost energy,
- Coconut Water: Contains basic and important nutrients, lowers blood sugar, may help prevent kidney stones, may help reduce heart disease, may reduce blood pressure, and is helpful with basic hydration/athlete recovery
- Lemon: helps with indigestion, helps with weight loss and controls blood pressure
- Black Pepper: helps absorb the curcumin in the drink
Consider making this drink as a means to fortify your immune system during the cold & flu season, but also a way to help naturally boost your energy for all those holiday parties.
Please comment with your experiences making the drink or your personal modification ideas. I am always looking to try different flavors if I can.
*I was not compensated to link to this product.
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