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While not everyone will agree with me,

I really believe that the “western diet” is one that requires supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and other healing / health encouraging foods. It’s pretty rare that we get ALL the nutrition our bodies require from our food alone; I know I certainly don’t! I try – but I don’t succeed at eating exactly the way I should.

My supplements spending is pretty high – my health is a top priority for me, and I know I feel so much better when I treat my body well. I figure if I feel good, I enjoy life more and therefore the spending is pretty well justified! BUT I don’t actually have a money tree, so I’m always after ways to trim my costs (who isn’t?).

How I first came across turmeric

Recently I read about curcumen, which you’ve likely heard of, a natural anti-inflammatory with a host of possible other benefits. I was researching natural pain-killers / arthritis / sore muscle helpers. (This year, for the first time, I’ve begun to understand what it means to… age. My body FEELS more than it used to. My back is constantly tight between my shoulder blades, old injuries are on my mind, my favorite treadmill workout leaves my calves sore and my ankles a little swollen. I don’t feel 18 anymore. Only fair; I’m not 18 anymore!) My down-hill slide is not due to neglect. I work at a chiropractic clinic, so I get regular adjustments. I also stretch after I exercise, take magnesium supplements and soak in Epsom salts often. I’m just getting older.

I reallllllllly wanted to try the curcumen (perhaps in an effort to re-capture my pain free youth!) but it seemed like the good quality supplements are 50 bucks a bottle, and that’s pricey for an experiment. (Because honestly, that’s what it is. Until you’ve tried it, you don’t know if any of this stuff actually works for you. I’m a big believer in natural health, but I’m also a realist.) Enter turmeric.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is the spice that curcumen is derived from. It’s available in your grocery store, online, and anywhere else you can buy spices! I paid about 5 bucks for a bag that has lasted me for over two months. Seriously, 5 bucks. Next time I’ll probably go for the organic Turmeric, because apparently, that exists.

I’ve been adding it (about a tablespoon, which may be too much according to some articles I’ve read) to my morning shake. My shake is really more of a morning health resolution. It’s not like, yummy. The turmeric probably makes it even less yummy, but I couldn’t add it to my diet anywhere else. My husband has some stomach issues, and even though turmeric is supposed to be good for IBS, colitis, chrons ect, it gave him a stomach ache. So in the shake it is.

(I feel like I need to reference my disclaimer here. I don’t know anything. I’m not a doctor, and I’m not suggesting that you should do the things that I do. In fact I’m likely wrong about a lot of stuff. So if you’re looking for a super informed article, see this one by Dr. Axe. He seems to be a doctor. Unlike me.)

Anyhow. Turmeric. Here’s what I’ve found over the past two months of turmeric use:

My observations

My number one most exciting observation is that the tightness in my back and shoulders has improved SO much. I feel… 25. At least. It’s freaking fantastic. My legs also don’t seem to mind running as much. Perhaps this is turmeric, perhaps they are just getting stronger. But I believe the improvement in my back is 100% turmeric related.

I’ve noticed that my wrist, which was damaged in a car accident in 2008, and can no longer support my body weight, feels a heck of a lot better. Not so great that I’d try and do a push-up, but I almost never think about during every-day activities like cooking or typing. Which is pretty exciting, because even a small constant pain can be a pretty big bummer.

I also found an awesome bonus benefit – one that surprises me because it hasn’t been referenced in any of the research I read. Less period cramps! It makes sense really, as it’s an anti-inflammatory. Dr Axe does mention a possible side effect of heavier menstrual bleeding (I haven’t experienced this), giving me the impression that it could some how interact with all our lady hormones. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it!

I’m going to continue with the turmeric for a while, even if I don’t see any other benefits from it. I’m impressed with the ones I’ve already experienced, particularly because it’s affordable (see it here on amazon!). I could buy turmeric for years and the costs would never add up to THAT much. Yay! Dr Axe and others who have written about turmeric and curcumen have suggested that it could be great for mental health. My mental health is something I have worked on for years – I’m prone to severe anxiety and all the fun depressive and obsessive disorders that come with it. I’m pretty happy with where I am now, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still be excited if turmeric proved to be a support for a healthier mind!

Have you ever tried turmeric or curcumin? Have you read about it before? Is there anything that you’ve experienced in the negative side-effect arena that I should be aware of?

What is turmeric and why is it on my shopping list?