Don’t Be Afraid of Turmeric… Spice it Up!

Turmeric has been across the news for several years. It is purported to be useful in cases of inflammation and heart disease and there are reports it is good for the brain and may fend off Alzheimer’s. I heard someone on the radio last weekend, touting its liver cleansing properties. I heard a report a couple of years ago that cultures who cook with turmeric (sometimes included in curry) have less incidence of Alzheimer’s. What’s not to like? I was already using curry powder but when I heard that not all curry powders include turmeric, I decided to add turmeric to my soups, stews and stir-fried vegetables. I was quite pleased. I buy the turmeric in bulk at a natural foods store. I use it sparingly but if I accidently use too much, I have found it is not offensive. If I make a pot of vegetable soup, suitable for four people, I would probably use no more than one teaspoon of turmeric powder. It has a wonderful bright yellow-orange color. Another idea is to sprinkle a pinch on brown rice, add some sweet red peppers for color, a spoonful of raw sunflower seeds and a dash of olive oil, maybe a sprig of parsley and you have yourself a dish that fulfills many of the day’s nutritional requirements.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

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Using Acorns to Teach Your Kids About Ecology

The earlier you teach your children to enjoy nature, the more likely they are to embrace and understand it. That is what I believe. One of the fun things about nature is that it is free, or should be. Take the time for nature walks with your children and make it clear to them how they fit into the ecosystem. Acorns are an excellent way to show kids how everything connects. The sun brings life to the oak tree and the rain brings water. The oak tree grows big enough to provide shade for animals and the acorns provide food. The large animals eat the acorns and the smaller animals eat the crumbs. The birds swoop in for crumbs too while larger birds, like woodpeckers, take the whole acorn and stuff it in the holes they’ve drilled into trees. Even worms get in on the act. Little tiny worms invade the acorn and when they do, birds swoop in again and eat the worms. The droppings left by the birds and animals nourish the tree. The rains return and the ecological cycle repeats. It’s a circle that goes round and round.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973