I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Well I can assure you this statement is as true as they come. Some foods really can do wonders for our well-being. Being someone who has battled with health issues, being able to use food for healing is just amazing. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and then later discovered after various additional tests I also suffered from a hiatal hernia, kidney stones, gallbladder polyps and a misdiagnosis of Barrett’s Esophogus (a pre-cancerous condition caused by acid reflux). To top it all off this was all less than six months from my wedding. To say that I was stressed out was an understatement. I relied on several different prescriptions and basically stopped eating almost everything just to avoid further discomfort. I was living in a constant state of fear that I would get sicker and/or never get better. It was agony. Little did I know that what I was doing, or not doing rather, was only making matters worse. I lacked energy and even started gaining weight because my body began to cling to the little food I ate. I avoided such a broad spectrum of foods my diet became pretty basic and lacked variety and nutients. What food I did consume was in such small amounts to avoid pain I was lucky to clear around 700 calories a day. About a year after my diagnosis I still never really felt that much better (no surprise). I continued to battle flare up after flare up of stomach and chest pains. It was around this time that I knew something had to change. I couldn’t imagine, at such a young age, to have to rely on medication for the rest of my life that didn’t even seem to make much of a difference. I knew there had to be another way. With my (new) doctor’s permission (nixed the one who gave me a false diagnosis) and after having follow-up testing, I was given the okay to lower my medication dose. My doctor agreed that my previous approach was not in my best interest and that with proper nutrition and exercise I could feel relief. It was certainly a change I was ready to make. It gave me hope that maybe I could actually be healthy again without having to rely on just hopes and dreams. I began to research GERD more thoroughly and reintroduce those scary foods back into my diet. I also began to better manage my stress with regular exercise like running, yoga and meditation. Now, over three years later, I’m proud to say I’m medication free and the best part is that I eat absolutely everything that used to terrify me. I can have tomatoes and not suffer, I can have a glass of wine and not regret it, I can even drink orange juice and enjoy it, and so on, all pain free. It’s amazing looking back at how far I’ve come to becoming healthy again. I know it’s not a forever cure but I am fortunate enough to be able to control it just by living a healthy lifestyle. Choosing to eat gluten-free and modified paleo have really helped to heal me from the inside out. Not to say it’s the best solution for everyone but for me it is what works. Though I’m constantly making adjustments and trying to find balance, I’m so grateful to be able to live a lifestyle that I choose.
The reason I mentioned a little about my health and healing with foods is because one food that I do rely on a lot for this purpose is turmeric. This plant is a member of the ginger family and for those of you who know how great ginger is on the digestive system you can only imagine the greatness that comes from turmeric. Usually found in powder form, it is used in many savory dishes for color and flavor as well as for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown it to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, boost brain function, help to prevent and treat conditions like gastrointestinal disease, certain cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and even cure various skin conditions. Though I use it whenever possible, my go to’s include adding it in smoothies (I’ll post a recipe for that soon), muffins (my favorite recipe can be found here) and when roasting vegetables. I’ve included a recipe to one of my favorite veggie dishes below so you can test the waters of this superfood if you haven’t already. I hope you love it as much as I do and reap all of the amazing things it has to offer!
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes
Cook time 35-40 minutes
- 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
- 6 shallots, peeled and left whole
- 2 c cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ c water
- ¼ c olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Place all of the vegetables and bay leaves in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine the water, oil, lemon juice and spices and whisk to combine.
- Pour mixture over the vegetables and toss to evenly coat.
- Pour vegetables into a large baking dish and cook for about 35-40 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender.
- Serve warm and enjoy!