3 Awesome Uses for Turmeric

The other day I was riding home from a basketball game with a car-full of teachers and for some reason paprika came up. Clearly we are exceedingly interesting human beings and you should be jealous. After discussing how smoked paprika is amazing and plain paprika is lame, someone said “well, nothing is as bad as turmeric, it doesn’t taste like anything and it turns everything yellow.”

WHAT.

Turmeric is easily one of my favorite spices, for so many reasons. Personally, I’m in love with it’s anti-inflammatory properties that save me from IBS and angry old person joints again and again.

Don’t you worry, I set him straight, by telling him about three of my favorite ways to use turmeric:

1. Calming Golden Milk

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Golden Milk is a fantastic for tummy trouble, joint pain, or just a soothing hot drink. There are many different recipes to make this lovely elixir, but I tend to use the following:

  • 1-2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 cups milk alternative (almond, soy, coconut, cashew, etc)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of black pepper

Warm the milk over the stove and stir in the other ingredients. The black pepper seems a little strange, but don’t leave it out as it helps with absorption (and you really can’t taste it). Feel free to add in any natural sweeteners as well.

2. Face Mask

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I was hesitant at first to put a substance that’s know for staining this yellow on or near my face. This face mask however, did not stain my skin and, even better, it really helps keep it clear. I’ve noticed that the morning after I’ve put this on my skin, any blemishes I have are greatly reduced and my face in general is smooth and glow-y.

Again, there are many variations, but the mask I tend to use contains:

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tsp coconut oil

It’s messy so beware, and wear something black for sure. Rub the mixture on your face lightly until entire area is covered. Leave for 10-20 minutes. I also typically carry a tissue around with me while it’s on, to blot any possible drips.

3. Turmeric Seasoned Rice

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I love me some seasoned rice. I also love me some cauliflower rice because rice is not my stomach’s BFF. No matter what type of rice you’re eating, mixing in turmeric, (smoked) paprika, and salt and pepper make it so tasty. Put a fried egg (or three) on top and I’m in heaven.

Not only is it a solid meal though, the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric work through this dish too. I find myself eating “yellow rice” (or yellowish, reddish rice)  when I’m feeling crumby and feeling better quickly.

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The Negative Nancy Myth

Sometimes a little positivity sprinkled on top of a pile of human excrement can cover up the bad for a while. And sometimes it just makes the poop harder to see and easier to step directly in.

While I am trying to be more positive in my day to day existence, I’m having a hard time believing that I can be all positivity all the time. You know that friend that gives you a big speech about how strong you are when you just need to cry on their shoulder or shoot some cans? Sure the speech is nice but it’s the crying or shooting that would have helped.

I have been called a great many things in my 28 years on this planet; words meant in jest and cruelty, from strangers and my closest friends, in a variety of places, times and languages. I’ve actually been surprised and a little proud of some of the insults hurled my way.

There is one word, however, that really gets to me: negative.

As noted above, I’m not a shimmering ray of positivity all the time; I’m definitely the cynical type, I’m sarcastic and my judgment meter leans toward pessimistic.

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For the record, these are all things I like about myself. I don’t find them to be flaws. I have the ability to turn BS situations into humor. I care really deeply about the things happening around me. I also have a temper and have been known to spiral, but these are not things that I would alter my personality to change.

Last weekend, I saw an acquaintance who mentioned that he loves my Facebook posts because “they’re so negative.” He explained that while everyone else is posting photos of beautiful scenery and candids with friends at bars, my posts were so honest.

He meant it as a compliment, I know he did, but it stuck with me. When I arrived home I couldn’t get it out of my head, so like any mature adult, I sent a series of angry and confused snaps to my lovely friend Francis.*

Like a boss, Francis understood my frustration and broke it down. She explained something that I couldn’t agree with more: negative, in our society is never a word used kindly or respectfully. The only kindness that word serves is that it helps people not say “that person’s a downer/dick/pain in the ass.” It’s a good way to insult someone without insulting them.

When you call someone negative, no matter what your intentions are, you are not complimenting them. Yeah, I say what’s on my mind, but calling me negative because of the way I choose to see and communicate my world isn’t fair, it’s not something I can argue against because it’s based on your small view of me.

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We live in an inspirational quote over nature background kind of world and that’s ok with me, I actually like positivity around me, it inspires. But in a world where positivity rules and negative people are cast as these sad little, angry badgers living in a cave of resentment, how could it be fair to call me negative?

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

I suppose the moral is this: words hurt. That’s stick and stones thing is bullshit. If you must be unkind at least do so openly, don’t mask it in some false compliment. Think about the words you choose. And for Pete’s sake, stop calling people negative.

That was too many morals, but you understand.

Best of luck.

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*Remember Francis, my friend from that terrible job I was fired from? Remember that job? Oh man, that place sucked. Good news though, they just went out of business. So.

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Monday Motivation: There’s Nobody Like You

I always say to young women to know their power, whatever is it that you have done, be it at home or at work or in the academic world or wherever it is...understand that it has made you uniquely qualified. There's nobody like you.

Yesterday I watched the PBS special American Masters: The Women’s List.* It was basically just a bunch of strong, successful women telling stories and talking about life. So, fantastic and wonderful.

There were plenty of meaningful quotes, but this one in particular spoke to me. So many times I have walked into an interview, an exam, or even just a room feeling like I’m not qualified. What a funny word, qualified. That word feels like a mean middle school girl staring down her nose at me, telling me my voice is too low, my hips are too wide, and nobody even likes me anyway.** That word is the worst, because, does anyone really ever feel qualified? To do anything?

But the thing is, we’re all capable, beautiful, and yeah qualified, people who can do amazing things. We’re all capable and beautiful in different ways. We all have stories and experiences to share that make us qualified.

So go kick ass.

Best of luck.

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*Go watch this, right now. It’s on Netflix.

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February Favorites

February was a month of stress and adventure. Most importantly though last month I figured out a number of little things that are making me feel better physically and emotionally. So I’m gonna call it a win.

In light of that I want to share some of my favorite things from February.

Neilmed Sinus Rinse

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I’ve been through the gambit with allergies. I had a few sensitivities as a kid which turned into severe allergies in high school which required four different prescriptions and manifested as uncontrollable hives that led me to believe I had bird flu. In college they mostly disappeared and have only shown up here and there as seasonal issues since.

Moving to New York threw my sinuses a new curveball. Like, I woke up most mornings feeling like someone hit me in the face with a curveball.

Desperate, I searched Amazon and found Neilmed Sinus Rinse. I’ve never tried a nasal rinse or a Nettie pot so I wasn’t totally sure but, damn guys, this stuff cleans out my sinuses and gives some serious relief when my sinuses wake up screaming “why did you move here?!”

Yoga Classes

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My block with yoga has always been the cost. Most studios are crazy and even within a gym membership it can be pricey. I know if I’m having trouble budgeting for weekly groceries, either option is out of the question.

Luckily my school offers some free classes (something I would encourage any student to look into) so once a week I’ve found an hour of calm followed by a few days of sore.

Superstore

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Someone told me about this show earlier in the month and upon finding the entire first season free on Hulu, I gave in. America Ferrera is fantastic, the characters have a lovable zaniness only found in shows like The Office, and it’s sometimes so real about retail that it hurts.

Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

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Another thing I’d heard a lot about but never bought in to, I decided for $8 I could try it out. Kinda of gross but I have better breath and generally a cleaner post dental hygiene regimen feel.

Susan Cain Podcast

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Susan Cain is an introvert goddess. I read her book a couple of years ago basically yelling “exactly” all the way. She talks about introverts and society, offering up some logical but rarely popular ideas. The podcast focuses mostly on children and education which is very interesting. Plus, they’re 30 minutes rather than the typical hour or more so it’s a good quick listen.

Returning to Therapy

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So lately I’ve been the preachy queen of self care while simultaneously failing to confront my own demons. Until last week when I finally went back to therapy.

It’s been almost five years so just making the appointment was rough. But damn. Therapist is excellent, empathetic but also willing to push me. I can’t describe the relief that I feel just starting the process. Therapy definitely isn’t for everyone but I’d recommend trying it out once.

Oh and I now look at frustrating situations as “Therpist will love this” so that’s a plus

Sunday Date Day Off

Take a day off.

I’m a busy human and I get that an entire day feels impossible but it’s worth it and doable. I’ve been putting in the extra hours every other day of the week just to fit my Sunday Date Day Off. It’s a day for sleeping in, hanging out with Boyfriend, and just not being a student, teacher or real person.

So far Boyfriend and I have walked around Central Park, gotten rainbow bagels in Williamsburg and gone to dinner and movie. Sometimes there are errands to be run as well and sometimes we lay around most of the day but just not feeling the pressure for a day sets up the next week for greatness.

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Best of Luck!

In Defense of Valentine’s Day

Facebook has taught me several things: your birthday will bring everyone out of the woodwork, when profile pictures uniformly change its time to check the news, and stalking your ex is a mixed bag so you should be prepared. More pertinent to today is that people have some feelings about Valentine’s Day.

So many feelings.

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In the last 24 hours I’ve seen some pretty combative hashtags, hoping that my #celebratelove friend wouldn’t go head to head with my #corporateholidaybullshit friend. It’s been tense.

I love Valentine’s Day. And I don’t care what you think. I love for the holiday it wants to be, and I love it for the holiday it almost is. I love it.

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When I was a kid I used to get up on Valentine’s Day and find a card from my mom. I shared candy and flowers with my friends all day. And when my dad got home from work he brought potted flowers for my mom and me. Valentine’s Day was about showing love for everyone.

Is it a corporate holiday? Sure, probably. I’m not going to yell at you about St. Valentine and the fact that this wasn’t a random greeting card holiday because Hallmark and Cartier makes billions so sure its corporate.

But you know what else has gotten pretty corporate? Everything. Welcome to capitalism. But whether or not there are bobble heads and chocolates* to celebrate a holiday doesn’t determine its significance.

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No matter what you do today; staying in or going out, single or not single, presents or no presents, just remember all the people you love and all the people who love you. That, my friends, is a long list of people and a lot of non-corporate love to consider.

Also, there’s discount chocolate everywhere.

Best of luck.

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*chocolate bobble heads? Mmmm…