Spiced Cinnamon Punch (Sujeonggwa)

There is this Korean after-meal drink called Sujeonggwa. It’s commonly served after dinner because ginger helps your digestion and improves the absorption of essential nutrients in the body. Cinnamon in this drink also helps to control your blood sugar and cholesterol level and kill the bad bacteria in your GI tract so that the gastric juices work normally. So instead of going for sweets or ice creams after dinner, have this drink and maybe one of those snacking power balls. Perfect dessert and so good for your digestion!

Traditionally it is made by brewing the cinnamon sticks and sliced ginger at a slow boil and then boiled again after adding either honey or brown sugar. It’s dark brown in colour and topped with pine nuts and slices of dried persimmons. I like its subtle sweetness with a kick of cinnamon and ginger, quite different to Indian chai tea, which has a lot of mixed spices in it. I like it served cold with a couple of ice cubes in summer days. Or a bit of sparkling water to make it fizzy. It is refreshing, cleansing and hydrating! You can definitely make a healthy cocktail or non-alcoholic one with it, too. Depending on your taste, feel free add more cinnamon, ginger or honey.

Cinnamon DrinkIngredients

1L of water
8 cinnamon sticks washed
1/2 cup of sliced ginger
2 star anise
1 cup of good quality honey (or any kind of sweetener such as cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup)

Put all ingredients except honey in a large pot and boil over medium heat for 30-40 minutes. Discard the ginger, cinnamon and star anise. They’ve done their job now. Add honey into the pot and boil for another 20 minutes. Cool it down before you serve. You can top with pine nuts, slices of dried persimmon or dates for garnish.

Tropical Morning Smoothie

Mango Smoothie
Quick delicious breakfast smoothie for Daniel this morning. I asked him “Do you know what the yellow things are on top?”. He responded “Ah…nutritional yeast flakes? (he saw my previous post on zucchini chips)”. Nope, it was bee pollen? What the heck is that?

Bee Pollen is made by honeybees, and is the food of the young bee. It is important to recognize that a one teaspoon dose of pollen takes one bee working eight hours a day for one month to gather. Each bee pollen pellet, contains over two million flower pollen grains and one teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. Aren’t we so cruel stealing these goodness from poor bees >.<

So what is good about these yellow granules? Bee pollen is a complete food and contains many elements that products of animal origin do not possess. Bee pollen is more rich in proteins than any animal source. It contains more amino acids than beef, eggs, or cheese of equal weight. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body. It’s good for your skin, energy level, immune system, skin and digestive system. It’s also thought that ingesting pollens will help the body to build resistance to these potential allergens and, in turn, reduce allergy symptoms. However, if you have a pollen allergy, you need to be cautious since it can lead to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Bee pollen has a sweet powdery, floral taste. Pollen stored in a cool dark place should keep for a year. I bought a little jar from Bee house in Swan Valley for the first time. Then I’ve ordered a big batch from on-line health shop, which last me for a while. You only take a teaspoon at a time over your breakfast cereal, yogurt, smoothie, or just by itself.

To make this smoothie, I blended a cheek of mango, 3 medjool dates, a cup of milk, a teaspoon of maca powder (another stamina enhancer! I will get to that next time) and a teaspoon of bee pollen. If you don’t like milk, replace with non-dairy drinks or coconut milk or coconut water. Beautiful tropical flavour!

Berry Chia Jam

Berry Chia JamChia is a species of flowering plant in the mint family native to central and Southern Mexico and Guatemala. These seeds are such an incredible power house because they are….

  • gluten free, vegan friendly
  • packed with omega 3 fatty acids good for the brain and heart. 8 times more omega 3 than salmon!
  • high in anti-oxidants. 4 times higher ORAC value than blueberries.
  • a complete protein with all 8 essential amino acids.
  • 5 times more calcium than milk
  • 7 times more vitamins than oranges
  • 3 times more iron than spinach
  • twice the potassium content than banana
  • twice the fibre than oatmeal
  • stabilise blood sugar levels

These little seeds are so amazing! Then how much do you need daily? A teaspoon (15g) with heaps of water because it is high in fibre and has a gelatinous nature. You can sprinkle on your breakfast cereal/ granola/ porridge, used when baking (great egg replacement), mix with water or smoothie and make a jam like me.

To make a one big jar of berry chia jam, I used 300g frozen mixed berries, 100g maple syrup, 30g chia seeds and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Put all ingredients in a small pot and simmer for 20-30 minutes until it thickens. You can add more sweetener if you have a sweet tooth. Cool it down and transfer to a jar. Keep it refrigerated and consume within a week. Home-made jams are awesome. It is such an easy way of making a jam and so healthy since you don’t use preservatives and refined sugar. You can use any kind of seasonal fruits. Banana, mango, nectarines, plums, kiwi fruits, etc. It is beautiful over a slice of toast, pancakes, scone and muffins. I also put a teaspoon of this jam and maple syrup into a glass of soda water to make a refreshing summer drink.

Ginger Pomegranate Mint Tea

Ginger Pomegranate M

I am not a juice person. I find it totally wasteful stripping off all that good source of fibre away and drinking a simple form of sugar. So when I hear people on a juice diet or a liquid diet, I feel sorry for them and really want to tell them “just have a piece of fruit or a bowl of salads instead!!!”. Sorry I’m skeptical about it. Although I’m not a fan of juices, I crave for cool refreshing drinks in hot summer days. I do mix and experiment different ingredients to make summer beverages and this is by far one of the best. I think it would be nice having it warm in winter as well. Since I don’t measure things, you can adjust the strength of the tea and how sweet you want in your drink.

50 ml of ginger tonic (you can get it from local health shops. Alternatively, you can use a ginger beer or even freshly grated ginger)
a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses (add more if you want it sweet)
a cup of brewed and chilled green tea
mint leaves (when I buy a bag of mint leaves and don’t use them all for cooking, I blend it with water, lemon juice and rose water, and then freeze in an ice-cube tray. Easy to grab and use when needed)
a splash of rose water (optional, but I think a hint of rose water makes it more fragrant and yummy)
ice and fresh pomegranates for garnish

It is so simple right? It is so rehydrating and tastes heaps better than those sweet fruit juices x

Drink your painkiller

Tumeric Drink

Turmeric is one of the world’s most powerful natural healers. Its active ingredient called curcumin has been known for centuries to have potent medicinal properties. I discovered this anti-inflammatory turmeric tea not long ago when I was searching for home remedies for pain. I only knew turmeric as one of the ingredients of curry, but didn’t know about all these magical effects on your body. Yes, unfortunately I do suffer from frequent muscle/ joint pain and headaches. I used to take panadols, neurofens and even stronger painkillers for it – not good for my stomach. For some reason I’ve been getting night cramps and pain in my back recently (sorry for complaining in my blog >.<). I have to admit I do need more exercises to keep myself away from all pain, though I’ve been lazy not doing any weight training or Pilates, which usually works for me. Moving on…. more about turmeric!

Turmeric is an anti-microbial, which means it fights against bacterial and viral infection, especially effective in cold and flu. It’s a natural liver detoxifier. It has shown to prevent and stop some cancers and type 2 diabetes. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory painkiller. To make a turmeric drink you can use fresh turmeric root or turmeric powder. It can be also served cold or hot – both are really nice.

1 cup of mildly hot water ( not boiling hot, you don’t want to kill all the goodness in the ingredients )
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of grated ginger ( use ginger powder if you don’t have fresh ginger )
1 teaspoon of maple syrup ( honey or agave syrup if you want )
1 teaspoon of bee pollen (optional)
1 teaspoon of maca powder (optional)
1 teaspoon of goji berries
sprinkle of cinnamon powder (just because I like cinnamon on anything)
If it is hard for you to drink, try with squeezed orange juice or any kind of fruit juice for sweetness. You can also use herbal tea instead of hot water e.g. green tea, lemon& ginger tea, camomile tea.