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Turmeric Tea

15 Jun

You know me… always trying to find a natural way to relieve whatever ails me.

I have not been feeling well from my Cronh’s Disease.  I could tell by how my abdomen was bloated from the inflammation to certain foods and certain stresses.  But then the Universe, or Big Brother who’s always watching, started sending me messages – a few posts on Facebook and even a few emails claiming the benefits of turmeric tea for inflammation –  I had to go with the flow and decided to try it.

Turmeric is a spice used for centuries in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as a powerful anti-inflammatory and to treat a variety of conditions such as flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.  There are also new developments that turmeric is also helpful in patients with IBS, Crohn’s Disease, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and even can have cancer prevention benefits.  It’s also what gives mustards and curry its yellow color.

How to Make Turmeric Tea

Turmeric can be found in fresh form in most supermarkets nowadays.  I have bought it at The Boys Farmer’s Market, in Freshmart and even in Econo Altamira, here in Puerto Rico.  Most people confuse it with ginger, but the bright yellow interior gives it away.   Turmeric is also be readily found in supplements at health food stores.  Here is a picture of a recent trip to Whole Foods in Florida.

Supplements at Whole Foods made from turmeric

WFoods Turmeric 1

I have been drinking turmeric tea for a few months now… and as with any natural remedy, consistency and persistence is key to see results.   After 2 weeks of consistent drinking, I noticed I do not get as bloated as I used to, I have seen a reduction of the inflammation inside my lids from my eye allergies,  and I have also noticed reduction of hemorrhoid tissue (sorry for the TMI)…   Let’s try to erase that mental picture and check out how I make turmeric tea…

Turmeric Tea for Inflammation


1-2 medium sized pieces of fresh turmeric

4 cups of water

  1. Grate the pieces of turmeric into a large pot with 4 cups of water.
  2. Boil turmeric in water for about 20 minutes.
  3. Let rest and drink warm.  Sweeten with brown sugar, agave nectar, coconut sugar or honey  if you prefer.


The amount of tea you can make with 4 cups of water will give you about three 12oz servings of tea.


Some tips on working with turmeric:

  • Turmeric STAINS like crazy…  so I use mostly paper towels when handling it and anything related to it.  If a little stains your countertops, just clean with Fantastik or Bar Keeper’s Friend as quickly as possible to avoid the stains to set.

KarmaFree Cooking - Turmeric Tea

  • When you grate it, your grater and fingers will get stained yellow.   The key is to immediately wash them with dishwashing liquid.  I use Dawn and a Scotch scouring pad to avoid the stains to penetrate.  Most of the yellow in my nails goes away after washing a few times, but if you want to save a very expensive manicure, wear gloves.

Turmeric Stains Yellow

  • If it stains your fingers, it probably also stains your teeth when you’re drinking it.  I try to brush my teeth immediately after drinking the tea.  My mom suggested drinking it with a straw, but I have not been able to try that technique yet.  I forget…
  • Store the fresh rhizones in the fridge.  I have also freezed them.  Freezing them makes them a bit harder to grate and the color of the finished tea will not be as intense.  I feel, and this is just a hunch, that the benefits are also less potent.
  • When boiling turmeric in a pot, the turmeric will bubble – very similar to the way pasta water or even potato water create starch bubbles when they boil.  I place a wooden spoon over the pot to prevent the bubbles to bubble over the pot and make a mess of turmeric all over my stove.  It has happened a few more times than I would care to admit.  I try to watch the pot a bit to lower the heat to medium to prevent any boil-overs before they happen.

Turmeric Tea from KarmaFree Cooking

  • To avoid staining my ceramic mugs, I drink turmeric tea out of stainless steel insulated cups.  These do not get stained yellow and are easy to clean with a scouring pad.  My stainless steel pots get cleaned as soon as I finish my last serving of tea with a sprinkling of Bar Keeper’s Friend.  I don’t think you would be able to tell which is the pot I use to boil my turmeric tea.

Have you ever had turmeric?  Or turmeric tea?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section…

Are we eating Chia Seeds the right way???

13 Nov

I have mentioned to you how I boost my morning smoothies adding a bunch of super powerful foods, like chia.  But I must admit I usually just add the dry chia seeds right into the smoothie when I make it in the mornings.  However, this method of adding chia seeds to my morning smoothie might not be the best way to work the goodness of chia into my daily routine.

Are u eating chia seeds the right way

My friend Cristina, who trains for marathons alongside me, lost a lot of weight training for the Chicago Marathon.  I haven’t seen her in while and when I complimented her on her new figure she credited chia seeds.  I told her I also had chia seeds in my smoothies, but I could not credit any weight loss to it.

Actually, one of my main complaints of adding chia seeds to my morning  smoothies was that they got stuck on my teeth sometimes and if I didn’t brush my teeth right away, in a matter of hours I could feel little pieces of gelatinous seeds stuck to my teeth (thank goodness I mostly work from home!!!!!!).  Not fun or pretty at all!!!!

She told me her secret was to soak chia seeds overnight in some water and then in the morning, add the juice of ¼ lemon and eat those chia seeds on an empty stomach.    Really???

Chia seeds with Lemon Juice

I have been doing it for a few weeks now and I must say that I really like it…  before I go to bed I place 1 tbs of chia seeds in a small bowl with some water.  I never measure the water…  but I swirl it a bit to make sure all the seeds are wet.  I leave the bowl on the kitchen counter until the morning, when I just squirt the juice of ¼ lemon and I eat the gelatinized chia seeds with a spoon.  I do this especially before I run in the mornings.  I then, after I return from running,  have a full breakfast and I add other stuff to my morning smoothie – like maca, goji powder, ground flaxseeds, etc. 

I have not noticed that much weight loss…  but in other trainings for ½ marathons I have gained some weight, and this time around I haven’t and my skinny jeans fit the same way.  Before, when I was training, my skinny jeans would not go over my hips, for some reason…  so something is indeed working.

Have you been also eating chia the wrong way?

Natural Remedies – Coconut Oil to soften skin and other beauty purposes

24 Apr

I am a fan of natural remedies. I have not used a Tylenol or any other analgesic to take care of a headache in over 15 years. I have shared already some of the natural remedies I use to treat a cold, coughs, sleepless nights and even nausea.

We were discussing over on FaceBook some of our experiences with natural remedies and my friend Robin shared her new found appreciation for coconut oil. To her, it’s a miracle on a jar.


I asked her to please share her experience and this is what she wrote for me and you all:

“I’ve used coconut oil in the past, but I’ve never been regular with it. Skin super dry, slather it on, forget about it until the next major emergency. A couple of weeks ago I decided to be regular, vigilant. It goes on my lips instead of lip balm, it gets rubbed in after the shower, still dripping wet, patting, not rubbing skin dry.

Oh my God, it is amazing. I am a 55 year old woman. My skin is as soft and smooth as a 20 year old. I have a patch of psoriasis on my calf. No, I don’t, not anymore. It’s gone, smooth, silky skin in its place. Also, my upper arms were bumpy. Kind of like teeny, tiny pimples, but not pimples. I’ve had them since my early 30’s. Gone.

And this, okay, it’s going to sound weird, but I have allergies. I rub a little of the oil inside my nose. The sneezing is down by half. Apparently, the oil traps the particles. Way less marauders get by to torture me.

I’m using organic, cold pressed, cooking grade coconut oil. It’s not cheap, but a little goes a long way. I really wish I’d done this earlier. I smell great all the time now. I find myself at work, sniffing my forearms.

I think I shall make a lip balm, using coco butter, coconut oil, and maybe a dash of peppermint (which I understand does not have the drying effects that camphor or menthol). My lips are the only part that haven’t reverted to youth. They’re still dry, but they’re not still crackly. I’m hopeful the oil will have the same effect it did on my skin, just that it will be a slower process. It’s helped a great deal, just not as much as it’s done on my skin, at least this far.

Today, it’s cold and dry out. I rubbed a tiny bit of oil on my palms, rubbed it into my hair. Shiny, not staticky hair resulted. Let me stress – tiny bit. I have thin, fine hair. If I’d used more, it have been weighted down like a helmet. The tiny bit though, it did good things.”

After this testimonial, I am giving coconut oil a try too. I was reading on the internet from trusted sources like WebMD, Dr. Oz and Body & Soul Magazine that coconut oil does have a positive anti-oxidant action on the body as it contains Vitamin E, which helps to reduce the effects of oxidation on the body. And even though it’s a saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation, it’s from a vegetable source.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, the higher the fruit/crop grows from the ground, the better it is for us… and coconuts grow real high atop palm trees. So don’t be discouraged to try coconut oil either for cosmetic uses like Robin has or for consumption. I’ve had great experience using coconut water to hydrate myself while training for marathons, to aid in constipation and I have also used coconut oil in cooking. Coconut oil has a high smoking point so it’s great for sautéing and cooking at high temperatures. I have even used it in place of melted butter in a vegan version of my bread budín recipe and a vegan version of crepes. Just be careful, always cut down a bit when using coconut oil to replace melted butter. If a recipe calls for X amount of melted butter, use about ¼ less coconut oil than what the recipe calls for butter. I do not know the logic for it, but it is a rule of thumb that has worked well for me.

I want to thank Robin for candidly sharing her experience with coconut oil with us… and to encourage you to always strive to go as natural as possible. It’s good for your body and spirit.


Coca Tea to avoid altitude sickness…

18 Jul

It’s tradition… it’s what people tell you immediately after you say you’re traveling to see Machu Picchu… so, will you be having coca tea??

As the word says… coca leaves are the raw material to make cocaine. Yep… cocaine, the drug. But coca leaves are also the natural remedy of choice to acclimate to the 11,000 feet above sea level altitude where Cusco resides. For centuries, Peruvians have chewed on coca leaves to help them deal with the side-effects of being so high up in the sky, no pun intended.

Altitude sickness can be very debilitating – headaches, difficulty breathing, disorientation, dizziness, among others. For perspective, you only reach 10,000 when traveling on an airplane. When you’re traveling to Cusco, you need to incorporate some down and easy time to get used to the altitude and not allow it to get the best of you and your trip.

I was not sure if I would have coca tea or not… I’ve never been in the presence of the drug and have no interest in ever trying it. But because of the novelty, and because I did not want to bring down my group my feeling sick on a trip, I gave it a try. This will be the closest I’ll ever be to getting a hit in my life… so let’s enjoy the experience, no??

Coca Tea 2 Collage


Coca tea tastes very similar to linden tea. I sweetened it with brown sugar and it was a very enjoyable experience… one that I could certainly get somewhat addicted to. ;) I only had it twice… as our Guruji told us it really has a substance that hinders your spiritual growth. After we had the experience and acclimated well to the altitude there was really no real need for it anymore.

Coca remedies for altitude sickness come in various presentations – the raw leaves, in traditional tea bags and even in candy form. These are only to be enjoyed in Peru. I do not believe any of these are permitted to bring into the US, for obvious reasons. So this is something that can only be experienced when you visit these parts of the world.



After a few days, we also learned there is yet another remedy for altitude sickness which is sometimes even more effective, but not as notorious as coca tea… it’s Muña Tea. Muña is an Andean mint leave, very pretty and very fragrant. Cusqueños offer muña tea as a welcome drink to visitors. I had the chance to taste muña tea a few times and it’s a delicious, caffeine-free way to deal with altitude sickness and the cold up in the Cusco mountains.

Te de muña Collage

Have you ever visited Cusco? Have you ever had coca tea? What was your experience?


Sugar-Coated Fennel Seeds

5 Jul

I do enjoy something sweet after dinner… not necessarily dessert, but something sweet to freshen my breath and possibly, help me with digestion.

I am used to a little minty something after a restaurant dinner… but in India, you get served sugar-coated fennel seeds.


In paper, if I read fennel seeds coated in sugar I would probably say, PASS!! But without knowing what they were, I popped a few of these sugary treats in my mouth and they’re delicious!!

I have learned they are great to help you digest your dinner and they help simmer down the effects of spicy foods.

So if you have an Indian market nearby, seek out these delicious treats – sugar-coated fennel seeds.



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