It’s been quite some time since my last post. I was focusing heavily on marathon training (and ran a Boston Qualifying time with a margin of 5:55 BETTER than my goal time at the Shamrock Marathon in VA Beach). After that I began to focus on work and part of work was getting out and doing a lot of after work functions (which was great for me professionally). When I wasn’t doing functions and networking, I was at home enjoying my time with my family and frankly not doing anything. I found that I actually needed that time of doing nothing. Not training, not working out, not blogging, just being lazy (I know—the shock and horror of that phrase!) And even now, I’ve found that my focus has shifted. I realized that I missed being creative. Art and design is in my blood and I’ve turned my attention back towards the area that I neglected. Art and being creative is my peace and my outlet. I have begun doing a lot of furniture refinishing and painting and it’s just been great for me. Where has my running been? Nowhere to be exact. The hot North Carolina summers zap me. And since I have no race on the immediate horizon I’ve decided to let running take a back seat and instead focus on cross training and building my strength. I love it. As for blogging? I have all these posts in my head and just wish that I could make them appear in a blog post without having to steel time away at the computer to put them down (because in all honesty after a full day at the computer at work the last place I want to be is at a computer making sure that what I really want to say is coming out properly…or that my pictures look the way I want them to). That being said, I’m looking at my life and I’m trying to be more organized and give myself time blocks to do the things that I NEED to as well as the things that I WANT to do.
With all that in mind, I wanted to share with you a post that I have had ready since January. Yes, I said January knowing full well it is July right now. Pam has done a number of posts on the blog about recovery and fueling your body for recovery from workouts and I wanted to add one more that has worked for me while I was marathon training and continues to work for me now as I strength train. Due to the level of physical stress I was putting on my body (running up to about 55-miles a week at the peak of my marathon training and hitting some pretty aggressive paces while doing so) I knew that I needed to pay a lot of attention to my nutrition and my recovery between runs. As an example, I was using Great Lakes collagen in my morning coffee and my evening Yogi Muscle recovery tea. Collagen is the primary element in our skin, bones, and joints; it is a natural anti-inflammatory. By drinking a beverage that contains this nutrient, I was in essence helping my body to recovery quicker. Knowing how much I was taxing my body each day of the week, I wanted to ensure that in addition to utilizing collagen, I was doing whatever else I could to assist in that recovery.
As mentioned above, one of my favorite teas is the Yogi brand Green Muscle Recovery Tea. When looking at the ingredients I noticed that turmeric root was on the list. With this in mind I began to do some research on the health benefits of turmeric to see how I could be utilizing it to the best of its properties.
What exactly is turmeric? Turmeric is a member of the ginger root family. It is native to the Himalayan Mountains and produces a beautiful flower when left to its own devices and not used for culinary or medicinal purposes. However the root, or more correctly the rhizome of turmeric has long been utilized for its epicurean and medicinal properties. Most people may be used to seeing turmeric powder in the spice section of your supermarket—a rich golden yellow powder that is often used in many Indian dishes that are imparted with the same rich color. However, whole turmeric can be found in the supermarket just like ginger and can be used in much the same way as ginger is as an ingredient in dishes. While ginger is large and about the size of a quarter when sliced into medallions, turmeric is much smaller. Most often, when sliced, about no larger than the size of a dime. At the heart of turmeric’s medicinal properties is the compound curcumin—a valuable aid as an anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory. As noted by Dr. Andrew Weil (1), there is research currently ongoing that may even show the benefits of utilizing turmeric in Alzheimer’s patients as well as in cancer patients with positive results. Dr. Weil notes that while supplements are available (which I do take), the whole plant may be more beneficial when it comes to its healing properties. One of the benefits of turmeric is its aid in inflammation reduction. As you have read here on the blog more than once, systemic inflammation is detrimental to our health. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties will aid in the reduction of inflammation for arthritis patients. I began to postulate that if it will help arthritis patients, then it should help in muscle and joint recovery from my marathon training.
While at the Farmer’s Market, I happened upon a stall that was selling the most beautiful fresh turmeric and ginger. Many of our farmers will put a placard next to the produce item being sold with suggestions on how to prepare the fruit or veg in question—next to the turmeric and ginger? Tea! It was meant to be—I had been recently doing research on turmeric and here it was, fresh at my Farmer’s Market stand! I bought some with the intent of brewing some tea later that day. I knew I’d be using ginger and turmeric, but I wanted a larger depth of flavor. I decided to add lemon to the tea, as I typically use lemon and ginger together—I find they balance each other nicely. Both are bright in flavor but the acidity of the lemon cuts the bite of the raw ginger. After brewing the tea I decided that it was far too “ripe” for my personal likes and decided to add some mint at the last minute. Fresh mint is delicious when steeped and it has the added benefit of helping to sooth the stomach if you happen to have an off belly. Whether or not this was purely placebo effect or not, I can say that I found my recovery after long runs to be much faster on days when I drank some of my fresh-brewed turmeric tea. I personally enjoyed this tea warm instead of chilled. After it chilled I felt it needed a small amount of unfiltered honey.
Do you have a post-workout recovery drink/fuel or routine? If so let’s hear about it!
- Water—I didn’t measure mine. I used enough to fill my teakettle.
- 3” long knob fresh ginger root, sliced into medallions
- 2” long knob fresh turmeric root, sliced into medallions
- ½ lemon sliced
- ¼-cup loosely packed mint leaves
- Place all ingredients into a vessel, and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat upon boil and allow to steep for approximately 10-minutes. At this point I begin to taste test my tea for potency it isn’t quite strong enough for me I let it steep for an additional 5-minutes. I continue with this until it has reached the level of taste that I am looking for. Strain and serve warm or chilled.
- There are no medical claims made with this recipe. This is something that I have found to work for me personally. I find this to be a better option than many of the commercial products on the market that are not sourced from trusted, organic sources.
The above post contains links to third party products–I am not paid nor compensated by either of these manufacturers to advertise or endorse for them. I am linking to their site for informational purposes only.