It's been a while since I've had the chance to sit down and write a proper blog post. August was a crazy month, but crazy in a good way. I was really busy with HappinessHabits613, working with nutrition clients, teaching cooking lessons at the CAG kid's summer camps, helping plan EPIC Fitness' 3 year anniversary party, and also preparing and menu planning for the Body and Balance yoga retreat in Ireland.
I'm now back in Ottawa, I arrived on Monday night, and I'm just starting to get back in to the swing of things after a few busy weeks in West Cork. Even though I came home absolutely spent, I'm so thankful that Andrea, the owner of Body and Balance, asked me to be part of this experience again this year. Since it was the second time around, I was ready for the hard work and planning, as well as the physical and mental stamina required to cook for a week strait in a very remote location. I'll admit that I was sleep deprived, on my feet for many hours a day, and often preoccupied with the next meal -- but I had such a fantastic time! The hard work paid off and all of the dishes turned out well. Everybody was happy with the food and I love that I was able to introduce people to an extremely healthy way of eating, without compromising taste.
Despite the busyness, I was much more relaxed this year. It was less stressful since I was more prepared. I also had a lot of help from my two amazing sous chefs, Aoife and Kristen. They were so helpful in the kitchen and, with our combined efforts, I was able to participate in some of the yoga and all of the outings with the participants.
The retreat HQ was the beautiful Linden House in Glengarrif. However, we spent many days exploring picturesque West Cork by coach, foot and by bike. Our exploits included a 20 km bike ride along the coast to Sheep's Head Way with a blustery trek to the lighthouse at tip of the peninsula; a hike to the historic Three Castles; a warm and sunny beach day at Barleycove; a quick stop at the Mizen Head signal station; a visit to the Dzogchen Beara Tibetan Buddhist Centre, at which we discovered a donkey sanctuary (definitely a personal highlight); and day trips to Glengarriff Village and Bantry, both of which are lovely costal villages with quaint shops and pubs. In fact, Bantry is home to one of my favourite shops of all time, Organico. It's a health food store, plus cafe, bakery and eatery, with really awesome (mostly) vegetarian and vegan fare. If you're ever in the area, please do yourself a favour and try their seaweed salad. It's amazing!
Before and after the retreat, I also spent time in Cork City. I stayed with Aoife and really enjoyed exploring the city, checking out the pubs, coffee shops, and all of the farmers' markets and health food shops. Rather than elaborate too much, I'll spare you the 1000 words, and share some photos. See below.
Now that you've had a glimpse into my Ireland adventure, let's talk about the turmeric elixir I alluded to in the blog title. As I mentioned above, I was very busy when I was away. I was run down and I wasn't taking great care of myself. That said, I drank a turmeric elixir almost every day and so did all the participants, and none of us got sick.
Every single ingredient in the turmeric elixir comes with one or many health benefits. If you're curious to know more, just ask google. This drink is basically a glowing yellow mug of healthy goodness, and even with all its healing powers, it's actually very palatable. In fact, all of the participants really looked forward to their daily turmeric drink. See below for the recipe and prepare yourself for a taste explosion! Try it out and let me know what you think.
HEALING TURMERIC ELIXIR
Makes approximate two large mugs of zingy goodness
3 cups, water
1/4 teaspoon, turmeric powder or 1 inch fresh turmeric, chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 lemon, skin removed, and roughly chopped (no need to remove pith or seeds)
1/2 clove of garlic, peeled, optional
1/2 cup, raw apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon, raw local honey or maple syrup
2 big pinches of cinnamon
A pinch of black pepper
In a kettle or pot, bring water to a boil. Remove pot or kettle from heat and prepare the remaining ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a blender (including the hot water) and blend until a smooth consistency is reached (approximately 1 to 2 minutes). Be sure to hold the top of your blender with a dry dish cloth to protect your hand from the steam. Carefully pour the liquid through a fine metal strainer in to your mug(s). Enjoy immediately and brace yourself for the zing! Option to add a bit more honey or maple syrup, if desired.
Notes from the kitchen: the turmeric will stain your blender. The best way to remove the yellow stain is to give your blender a quick scrub, then leave it sitting out in the sunlight for a few hours. I usually leave mine on the windowsill and the stain is gone by the end of the day. I don't know why or how this work, but in my experience sunlight is the only tried, tested and true method for removing turmeric stains.