Turmeric: Love It or Leave It?

Photo from Dietitiandebbie.com. Click for recipe.

Turmeric (the orange spice in curry) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is believed to help fight infections, prevent certain types of cancer, aid memory, reduce inflammation, relieve stomach pain, and help indigestion. Although it has been used for many years, there are relatively few human trials proving its efficacy. Recently, turmeric supplement sales have been booming in the states. I have even heard turmeric is the new Tyenol (thanks Sara). Let’s examine the facts and see if it really works.

Curcumin is the main active component of turmeric. It has anti-inflammatory properties and it is an antioxidant. In one study it was found to be just as effective as ibuprofen at relieving pain from osteoarthritis. According to the National Institutes of health, curcumin may also be effective for preventing colon cancer, stomach upset, and diabetes, however, more human research is needed. Early research shows that it is not beneficial for Alzhemiers disease.

Turmeric is on the GRAS list (generally recognized as safe) and has few side effects. The effective dose is anywhere from 500 mg 2-4 times per day. If you are not interested in taking a supplement but would still like to enjoy the health benefits of curcumin try cooking with the spice. Here are some fabulous dishes to get you started!

The final verdict on turmeric: Love it!

Dishes with Eggsturmeric egg salad sandwichTurmeric Egg Salad Sandwich by Season With Spice

Summer Sunshine Bowls by Pantry Doctor

Shakshuka by Nutritiolicious

Mini Breakfast Quiches by RDN Mommy

Vegan and Vegetariancauliflowr riceMorrocan Tomato Sauce over Cauliflower Rice by Dishing Out Health

Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Chickpeas by MJ and HungryMan

Easy Cauli Mac N Cheese by No Nonsense Nutritionist

Farro Salad with Roasted Turmeric Beets by Abby Langer Nutrition

Indian Chili Tofu by Carrots & Cake

Savory Spiced Pumpkin Hummus by E.A. Stewart

Snacks and Smoothiesginger pear turmeric muffin

Ginger Pear and Turmeric Muffins by May I Have That Recipe?

Mango Cardamom Kefir Lassi by Food Pleasure and Health

Mango Turmeric Smoothie by Dietitian Debbie

Crunchy Turmeric Banana Chips by Spright.com

Turmeric is most commonly used in curry, but if you are not a curry lover, try some of these unique recipes! What is your favorite way to use turmeric?



Waist Trainers: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

To the girl at the gym, wearing that horribly uncomfortable neoprene band around your stomach. WHY???
Not sure if it’s just me, or the fact that I’m in Central America, but I have been noticing an abundance of women at the gym wearing a “waist trainer” while working out. If you are not familiar with a waist trainer or “trimmer,” it is a band that can be worn around your midsection which supposedly melts fat and tricks your waist into thinking you are Barbie. They are ridiculous.
First, the good. Oopsy, this part was just a joke. There is nothing good about waist trainers, they are an abomination. In my opinion they take women back to the times of foot binding and rib bruising from wearing tight corsets. If you want to wear a waist trainer just for a special day or night, kind of like spanx, that’s one thing, but to wear one 24/7 in hopes of a smaller waist, bad idea folks!
The bad. The bad part is they do not work and they are (I imagine?) uncomfortable. Personally I can not wear tight jeans without getting a stomachache. Why anyone wants to have something tight around their waist for fun is beyond me. if you are thinking, “I am not doing this for fun, I’m doing this for results” think again. A waist trainer may cause you to sweat more while working out or doing daily tasks, but in the end, excessive sweating does not result in greater weight loss. Excessive sweating results in 1) consuming more fluids or 2) dehydration (very bad).

The ugly. Not only are waist trainers ineffective, they can be downright harmful.If worn too tightly they can cause acid reflux, shallow breathing, and potentially cause rib damage. Also, back acne. No one wants backne.

Now that we know what doesn’t work, what does work? High intensity interval training, lifting weights, plank variations, eating healthy. All of those things actually work to make you stronger and slimmer, but none of them change your physical bone structure.

Tell me, have you ever worn a waist trainer? What was your experience? Are there any other weight loss or body shaping gadgets/supplements you would like me to blog about?

*Please note, if you were advised by your physician to wear a “waist trainer” or other device postpartum that is a different situation and may be advisable.

Y ahora, algunas fotos de NicaraguaNicaragua12039195_464374037077251_4438631148371924810_n Nicaragua

Sometimes, holding your ice coffee in your shirt is the only way you can survive the heat without air conditioning. This also allows you to type with two hands and drink at the same time.
Sometimes, holding your ice coffee in your shirt is the only way you can survive the heat without air conditioning. This also allows you to type with two hands and drink at the same time.

What I’m Loving (and Not Loving) About Nicaragua

Cascada Blanca, one of the many beautiful waterfalls in Nicaragua

¡Hola amigos! Estoy en Nicaragua. Yo se hace mucho tiempo desde he escrito un blog. Pero, ahora me siento como escribir y es una oportunidad buena para practicar mi español. He estado en tres ciudades en Nicaragua, y todos son diferentes. No tengo tiempo para hablar cada ciudad, en vez de escribiré lo que me gusta mas de Nicaragua, y que no me gusta. Pero, para mis amigos Nicaraguense, no se ofendo por lo que no me gusta. Para mi, es diferente, pero no es “malo.” Y por favor, dime cuando yo utilizo la palabra incorrecta o cuando hago un error gramática.

For my English speaking friends, I’m pretty sure most of you know that I’m in Nicaragua already. Feel free to google translate the above. I know that it has been a long time since I’ve blogged, but sometimes, when inspiration hits you, you just gotta go with it. Other times, your brain is like an empty dark hole and you have no ideas and feel completely uninspired. Currently, my brain is the former.This is going to be a personal blog post about what I’m enjoying in Nicaragua. However, I have a few nutrition posts coming up, so please keep reading (my future posts) even if you really don’t care about my life, but like my nutrition advice. Gracias.

Me gustan mucho…

  1. Cascadas y Volcanes. (Waterfalls and Volcanoes). This one you can find in a guide book. But it’s so true! Nicaragua is full of breath-taking active-ish volcanoes. And unlike other more conservative countries, you can hike up them, slide down them, board down them, whatever you please. I have also seen many beautiful waterfalls in this country, Cascada Blanca in Matagalpa was a winner for sure. What’s more, it’s not packed with tourists ruining the beauty and serenity.
  2. La gente. (The people). Specifically, my home stay family was awesome. Carolina (the Mom) cooked really great food and she was so warm and friendly. Always willing to talk with me, play games, take me to church (ha!). Most people at restaurants and cafes are super nice too. At cafe Nicarguense they are always offering to help me with everything, plug in my computer, bring me water, give me directions etc etc. I find myself thinking, “where did these people come from?”
  3. Mojitos!! I’m not much of a drinker, as many of you know, but if I have to drink, it would probably be a mojito! I love mint and lime. Yes, I really like the limes more than the alcohol, but it’s all good. Mojitos are super cheap and super tasty in Nicaragua. You can even get flavored mojitos -cherry, maracuya, any fruit you want pretty much. It’s awesome.
  4. Desfilas y feriados. (Parades and Holidays). It seems almost every day is a Holiday here. Nicaragua is always finding a reason to celebrate whether its the Virgin Mary, Independence Day, or a soccer win. Today there was a large parade with all of the school kids, I’m not really sure the reason, other than it is just a tradition. Kids play drums, dance, wear their fanciest outfit, it’s pretty cool.
  5. Bananos y fruta. (Bananas and fruit). Bananas here are so good, they taste 1000x better than they do in the states, and they only cost 5-10 cents. They put those 29 cent Trader Joe’s banana to shame! What’s also great, is that the bananas here don’t bruise like they do in the states, you can buy a banana with lots of black spots on the outside but the inside will still be perfect. Que bueno! In general, the fruit is really cheap, and really delicious! Except apples, 1 apple sets you back $1, because they are imported.
Volcan Cerro Negro
There’s always a parade in Nicaragua! and they love their tambores!(drums)

No me gustan…

  1. Bombas. (bombs?) There is not an exact translation for bombas, but basically they sound exactly like gun shots and they are terrifying to a gringita (like me). Bombas, are a little bit like a firework, but with out anything pretty to look at. Nicaraguans love to shoot off bombas for any reason, especially at 4 and 5 in the morning. The first night I heard them in Leon I really really thought they were gunshots and was debating sleeping on the ground so no stray bullets flew into my room. Now that I no what they are, I don’t hate them as much, but still, not a fan. I wish they could just blow a horn or something…
  2. Chikungunya. When I first arrived in Nicaragua, this was literally the only word I could hear people say. It’s an African word so it really stands out when Spanish speakers say it. Basically, chikungunya is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitos. It’s pretty gnarly, the symptoms are similar to the flu, you are really sick for about a week, but then you have residual body pains and arthritis which according to some people last 6 weeks up to the rest of your life. About half the teachers at my Spanish school had Chinkungunya and it is no joke! Matagalpa, the town that I was studying in, is actually where the first case of Chikungunya originated, but it’s all over Nicaragua now (and I think most of Central America?) No quiero Chikungunya!!! I’ve been using more bug spray than I ever have in my whole life.
  3. Ollas en la calle. Holes in the streets and sidewalks. I seriously can not walk around in this town without tripping. There are so many holes in the street, and some of them are pretty large too. I usually wear shoes instead of sandals,  but I still manage to stub my toes. It’s hard too because usually I’m trying to find something, so I want to look up, but no, no, not a good idea. I pretty much have to stare at the street in order not to trip.
  4. Cat calls. The whistles and “hello baby” I can tolerate. But why are you hissing at me? How do I respond to that? Really, I want to know. Look at the person, ignore them, give them a lecture on sexism?? What’s interesting is that I get a lot of “goodbyes” as I’m walking directly towards someone which can actually be kind of cute/funny depending who it’s coming from.
  5. Food safety.  I’m not usually anal about food being at the right temperature or washing your hands, and I totally believe in the 5 second rule, but soo much food is just left out at room temperature (very warm and humid- a perfect breeding ground for bacteria) that shouldn’t be! Cheese, jelly, prepared rice dishes and stews, almost never refrigerated. I know it’s just rice and beans, but there is a “cereus” bacteria that attacks grains when left in the temperature danger zone!!! My fellow RDs and food safety professionals, do you understand where I’m coming from? So this is a little concerning to me, but so far, I haven’t gotten too sick.

Overall, its been a really great experience and I finally feel like I can understand most people when they speak to me in Spanish! Yay! It takes so long, but I’m pretty sure by the end of this trip Spanish is going to be no problem.

Tell me, do you enjoy the personal posts or you want more nutrition info? It’s pretty hard for me to do recipes when I’m abroad but I have myth busting blogs coming up. If you have been to Nicaragua or anywhere in Central America what do you recommend I see/do/eat? I’m also planning on going to Costa Rica, Panama, and perhaps Guatemala if their political situation improves.


Chelita Heather

Kids marching in the parade.
Comida tipica Nicaraguense. Typical Nicaraguan food.
Mi familia Nica
Really old cathedral in Granada. Granada was the first European city in mainland America
Shane and Carina’s House (where I’m staying at the moment)
Cascada in Matagalpa