Golden Anti-Inflammatory Drink

Thursday, March 05, 2020

After wasting my money on Starbucks' new "Iced Golden Ginger Drink" yesterday, I knew what my next blog post would be. The beverage sounded like a refreshing break from my usual coffee, and something soothing for my poor stomach, which took a beating after a week of stress-eating. Coconut milk, pineapple, turmeric, and ginger are some of my favorite ingredients, so blending them together into a delightful golden drink should have been a slam dunk. Instead, what I got was chalky, poorly blended, and artificial tasting. A quick look at the ingredients also made clear that there were few if any, health benefits thanks to all the cane sugar and flavored syrup.

Truthfully you have so much more to gain by making your golden drink at home with fresh ingredients. Besides tasting better, you'll actually be drinking something that's good for you. Here's why:
  • Pineapple aids with digestion and bloating, and contains Vitamins C & D. (Mango would work here too for similar reasons!)
  • Ginger is also good for digestion and immunity.
  • Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin. 
  • Black pepper helps with turmeric absorption.
  • Raw honey is a good source of antioxidants and contains prebiotics that aid in digestion by feeding healthy gut bacteria.
  • Coconut milk is lactose-free, nut-free, nutrient-dense, and rich in electrolytes. MCT oil from coconut is thought to be a brain-booster, have anti-inflammatory effects, and helps you feel fuller longer.

Experts still disagree on how the saturated fats in coconut milk affect cholesterol and heart health, so it's wise to consume in moderation. (And also, listen to your body - if it works for your metabolism, don't be afraid to use it.) If the fat content in your drink is of greater concern to you, try light coconut milk or substitute any other dairy-free milk. If you don't mind a drink that is more slushy than creamy, you can use chilled coconut water instead. Just be sure to use pure coconut water, and not a sweetened beverage. 

One more thing. Fresh turmeric is best, and you can find it in stores like Whole Foods - it looks a lot like ginger root, but smaller and yellowish. Ground turmeric is fine too if that's more readily available to you, just try to use organic turmeric, which hasn't been treated with chemicals. As with any spice, make sure it smells fresh, as you won't get any benefits from the stuff that's been hiding out in your pantry for a couple years! The same goes for the black pepper, so try to use freshly ground peppercorns here.

Golden Anti-Inflammatory Drink

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks*
1 can organic coconut milk
2" knob fresh turmeric, peeled (or 2 tsp organic ground turmeric)
2" knob fresh ginger, peeled
2 tbsp raw honey (optional)
Pinch of cracked black pepper
Pinch of sea salt
Ice, for serving

Note: Use frozen pineapple for smoothies vs. serving over ice

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 (8 oz servings)
Special Equipment: High-powered blender

You can peel both ginger and turmeric root using a spoon or vegetable peeler. If your blender is powerful, breaking the peeled roots into small chunks is fine. Minced or thin slices will be easier on less robust blenders. A word of caution: turmeric will stain your fingers and nails yellow, so it's best to wear gloves when working with it. Otherwise, read here for some easy ways to scrub those stains off.

Combine all ingredients except the ice in the base of your blender. Blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth and no bits of ginger or turmeric remain. 

You can adjust the flavors to your liking, using more or less ginger, or even a different ratio of pineapple to coconut milk. As written, the beverage will be creamy but pourable over ice. If it is too thick, you can add water or coconut water to thin it out. If you want this to be a smoothie instead, freeze your pineapple before blending and skip the ice.

Drink immediately, serving over ice if desired. Leftovers can be frozen or refrigerated for up to a few days. If refrigerated, it will separate, but can be shaken or blended again before drinking.

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  1. The golden drink sounds just what I need! Get in!

  2. Will definitely be trying. Thanks!