Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

An After Meal Digestive Treat: A Fennel and Candied Ginger Recipe

When considering what to write about for the week of Thanksgiving I had initially thought I would come up with some fabulous holiday food recipe.

But when I really thought about it I realized that most people already have a long list of holiday recipes. In fact, many people have too many yummy foods to indulge in. What people don’t often have planned into their holiday meals is a way to counteract the sudden deluge of all those rich foods.

Now I don’t want to assume that anyone reading this article is going to overeat this holiday season. I mean, that rarely happens on Thanksgiving right? Who really wants seconds of mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing swimming in gravy?

So really this is for those of us who have “friends” and “family” who may overindulge at the holiday feasts.

Eating too much in one sitting may be initially rewarding to our taste buds but inevitably leads to fatigue, bloating and other gastric discomforts.

These common digestive complaints aren’t limited to overeating, however. Many people experience these symptoms daily due to improper diet and an unhealthy digestive system. The rich foods of the holidays can further exacerbate a person’s weak digestion.

Here we are going to look at some herbs that help promote digestion. Not only can these herbs help lessen common digestive complaints such as bloating or gas, they can be enjoyed regularly at meals to promote strong digestion and prevent these problems from happening.

Let’s take a closer look at the three herbs in our recipe.

Ginger

I probably don’t have to tell many of you that ginger is one of my most favorite herbs. Spicy and diffusive, it’s one of those herbs that is well suited to a myriad of woes, especially if the person has symptoms of stagnancy or coldness such as bloating, feeling colder than others in the room, and a white coating on the tongue.

Ginger is great as a digestive herb. One of its most well known uses is for nausea and for settling an upset stomach. Ginger is aromatic and diffusive, helping to nudge along stagnant digestion with symptoms of bloating, gas and bad breath. As a powerful anti-microbial herb it can address pathogens in the digestive system as well.

One reason I end up recommending ginger to a lot of people is that it is easy to find at the local grocery stores and most people enjoy the taste. For those people who aren’t herbalists and therefore not used to drinking and eating things most people would consider bizarre, ginger is an accessible and effective herb.

Sometimes ginger is too spicy for people with excess heat symptoms. If you avoid spicy Mexican food and wasabi sauce, then ginger probably isn’t the herb for you. For this recipe you can simply use less or omit it.

Fennel

As a medicinal herb, Fennel often gets its claim to fame by helping soothe infants with colic who are distressed due to gas and other digestive discomforts. Of course, what works for our littlest ones also works quite well for us. This carminative herb works to dispel gas and promote digestion.

Fennel is a strong anti-spasmodic herb. It is often formulated with laxative herbs like rhubarb and senna because it counteracts the griping or stomach cramps often caused by these strong cathartic plants.

Like ginger, fennel is also anti-microbial. It has even been shown to be effective in drug-resistant tuberculosis.

If you enjoy eating at Indian restaurants you’ve probably noticed the bowl of fennel on your way out the door. This recipe is fashioned after that idea.

Dried Orange Peel

Most of us eat the fruit of an orange and throw the rest away. In doing so we are throwing away the most nutritious part! Chinese medicine has used a variety of citrus peels for thousands of years. In Traditional Chinese Medicine dried orange peel is used to “transform” phlegm in the Lungs or the Spleen and to drain dampness. From a western perspective we can consider this herb when we want to ignite our metabolic fires and promote digestion.

After Meal Digestive Treat

For this candied ginger recipe you’ll need…

  • 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger (how to make candied ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel powder
  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds

After you’ve gone to all the trouble of making the candied ginger, this recipe is really quite simple.

First mince the candied ginger.

Measure out your fennel seeds.

Measure out the orange peel powder.

And then mix them all together.

We keep this delicious mixture on our dinner table in an airtight container. We eat about a teaspoon or more after meals.

You’ll notice that this is a small recipe. Feel free to make this in much larger batches!

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