Golden Peppered Milk – The Art of Detoxification

The Auto immune disease series


Agnes Gällhagen, Cashew Kitchen

In my last post I talked about ways in which your body can become overloaded with toxicity.  I also suggested how best to avoid such insidious chemicals.  In this next post I will talk about a very simple recipe that will help your liver to detoxify your blood and help your body to carry out the poisons that may be lodged in your tissues.

So, as the winter months approach this Golden Peppered Milk will bring comfort, sustenance and yet, with its golden trio of ingredients; turmeric, black pepper and oil, it will sock your immune system an almighty punch (for the better!).

Turmeric works to promote healthy mucus membranes and can be a key component in relieving digestive issues.  It is also used to reduce symptoms of joint and muscle pain.  It lowers inflammation, fights cancer and cleanses the liver.

In the old days, milk would have been used to make this sumptuous ‘tea’.  However, with my understanding of dairy as a culprit in  autoimmune disorders, I have duly substituted it for a vegan alternative.

With no more ado, other than an apology for the delay in this post (due to an almighty and gorgeous summer) I present to you:

Golden Peppered Milk – serves 1

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 cardamom pods, split and seeds removed (use the seeds and discard the pods)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 -6 dates (depending on how sweet your tooth is)
  • optional sprinkling ground cinnamon


  • Ideally soak everything in a saucepan overnight and then continue with the next step.
  • Otherwise, heat all ingredients in a small saucepan very gently to achieve a muggy  aromatic and very yellow infusion (watch your clothing).  Don’t let it boil.
  • Remove from the heat and place into a food processor, liquidiser etc.
  • Give it a whizz for about a minute.
  • Pour into a mug or glass and add a sprinkling of ground cinnamon if you wish.

You can of course substitute your own nut milks or oat milk and play around with the spice infusion. Almond milk would be a great substitute for the coconut milk and water providing all essential magnesium that will help to soothe and relax you in addition to stabilizing your blood sugar levels.

However I would urge you to please keep the potent trio:  Turmeric for all of its immune promoting benefits is not well absorbed.  So always take with some fat or oil (as turmeric is fat soluble and will be far better absorbed if taken this way).  Finally, black pepper, don’t skip this as piperine, the active component in black pepper will magnify the effects of the curcumin in the turmeric (by increasing it’s bioavailabilty, a thousand fold), such is the synergy of these crucial ingredients.

Please note:  In order to avoid BPA toxicity from canned coconut milk try this cheaper, make at home variety:

So for those of you who want still more information on how this Golden Peppered Milk works, read on:

Curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound that is active in turmeric has a long and widespread history in Chinese and Ayuvedic medicine.

Some key benefits from this mighty root include:

An anti inflammatory

Curcumin has been shown to be a powerful suppressor of chronic inflammation-mediated disease processes…With a high enough dosage, this has the ability to pull the body out of a strong inflammatory cascade and reset anti-inflammatory behavior at the cellular level.

Dr. David Jockers for Natural News

It balances blood sugars

It helps by improving insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance in the body can present a huge health burden by triggering inflammation in the body, damaging cell membranes and crucial enzymes.  Studies have shown a positive impact on conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Elevated blood sugar creates hazardous glucose cross-links with proteins, causing Advanced Glycolytic Enzymes (AGEs) to form. These AGEs damage cell membranes, vital enzyme systems and perpetuate inflammatory conditions throughout the body.

Curcumin  offers a modulatory effect on liver enzymes; slowing the release of sugar into the bloodstream, while promoting the activation of those enzymes that cause the liver to store sugar as glycogen, in effect balancing and smoothing glucose levels in the blood.

It helps your body to detoxify

Turmeric is steeped with antioxidants, helping to detoxify the body and neutralise oxidative stress.

It reduces high blood pressure

Another property that curcumin has is that it helps to dilate your arteries. It achieves this by inhibiting the transportation of calcium into your cells, calcium acts as a chemical messenger that causes cells to contract, so instead cells relax and arteries dilate, reducing your blood pressure.

It is a potent cancer killer

Research done by the Life Extension Foundation found that curcuminoids target ten factors involved in cancer development. This includes chronic inflammation, DNA damage and disruption of cell signaling pathways.

Curcumin regulates tumor suppressor pathways and triggers mitochondria-mediated death in the cancer tissue. Curcumin is anti-angiogenic, which means that it shuts down the ability of cancer cells to form new blood vessels for blood supply and fuel. This effect makes cancer cells more vulnerable to pharmacological treatments such as chemotherapy and other cancer-control drugs.



Turmeric seems to have a generally agreed daily dosage of between 1 and 3g per day, though no official figures have been agreed upon.  It is often used daily in Asian Cultures and is considered very safe.  However as always I would advise finding an organic source.  I use a Waitrose of the shelf product.

Black pepper must not be consumed in excess of 1 tsp a day when certain medications like digoxin or phenytoin are being taken.

The rate at which these medications are cleared by the liver could slow down when black pepper is consumed in excess

So a warm, cosy armchair and a great book is all that you need now.

Warmest wishes

Gemma x


Braised Kale, Butternut squash and coconut curry.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

I have another recipe for you today.  It is born from my trying to find interesting, non triggering, nourishing foods.  As such I bring to you: Braised kale, butternut squash and coconut curry.


This recipe is a winner in so many ways:

  • It contains the super food turmeric, which itself contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant that gives turmeric its rich golden colour.  Turmeric is exploding in popularity in health circles as it is being credited with many cures.  It is helping people to lower pain and inflammation, fight cancer, relieve liver and gallbladder issues, heal the gut and delay the onset of diabetes.  Some have even gone so far as to say that it may have been the gold that was given to Jesus!  If you are suffering from an autoimmune or chronic disease eat this daily, or take a supplement.
  • This recipe  contains the healing trio of fat, turmeric and black pepper.  Being fat soluble, you will increase your absorption of the health boosting curcumin (in the turmeric) by cooking it with fat.  The fat will help the curcumin navigate the stomach to the small intestines and then the blood where you will gain the most benefit from it’s miraculous properties.  Taking curcumin with black pepper will increase its bio availability by 1,000 times.  So get grinding.
  • It contains the super food kale which is rammed with antioxidants.  As a green leafy vegetable it also plays host to lots of relaxing magnesium, which will help with tension and muscle aches along with promoting heart health and bone health.  Kale has beta carotene in abundance which among other benefits is known to promote a health lining of the urinary tracts, boosting urinary health.
  • Butternut squash increases the phytonutrient  whammy and something else that I haven’t mentioned yet is the significant amount of fibre, that will aid digestion, promote bile release and enhance good gut flora.
  • I use coconut oil to fry with as it has a high smoke point, avoiding the toxicity produced by damaged heated oils.  Coconut has loads of benefits too; anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral.  It also contains a unique blend of medium chain fatty acids which can be really easily absorbed into your cells.  This can make coconut oil a really useful product for diabetics.
  • I have made a recipe that leaves out the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, chili powders, aubergines and peppers), which appear to aggravate symptoms of autoimmune disease particularly inflammation of joints.  It is also grain free and vegan.


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 squeeze lemon or lime juice
  • A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
  2. Add onion and squash with ginger, turmeric, mustard seeds, coriander and cumin.
  3. Fry gently, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened, about 10 minutes.  If the spices start to burn add a little water to the pan and keep stirring.
  4. Add the kale and garlic, stir for a minute or two and then add the coconut milk, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.
  5. Serve into bowls.
  6. Add a good grind of black pepper, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and zing it up with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

There are more ingredients in this than I would like.  I am trying to keep things simple for you.  Many of you, I know, will struggle to look at the page, let alone spend ages chopping and stirring.  I hope that my throw together method will ease things a bit.  By all means half the recipe if you wish, to cut down on chopping time (those butternut squashes can take their toll).  That said I wouldn’t recommend buying pre-chopped butternut squash, or anything else for that matter – I am trying to nourish and sustain you and the pre-packs will leave you with far less nutrients, let alone toxic compounds from anything that may have leached from the plastic packaging.

But that is a conversation for another day.


Gemma x

Sexual Healing; Heat up your kitchen with this Black Bean Salsa.

The Autoimmune Disease Series

I have taken this recipe from:  Intercourses:  An Aphrodisiac Cookbook, by Martha Hopkins

Have you been feeling like you have been falling apart  for too long now?  Feeling all fifty shades of grey? The heat in this recipe should put some voom into your life!

There are some great benefits to this salad:

  • Black turtle beans have come out on top of the other beans in a recent test for antioxidant properties and are fantastic for your colon.
  • Anti inflammatory properties of coriander – particularly for skin disorders.
  • The ‘Love fruit’ mango, is known for its aphrodisiac properties, high in vitamin E it helps to regulate sex hormones and is also packed with antioxidants and helps to alkalise the body.
  • Massive amounts of vitamin C in the peppers, will also help you to absorb iron.  Taking iron supplements can be quite toxic for the body so improving absorption through increasing vitamin c intake may be a better way to boost your levels.

Black bean salsa bowl

Recipe: Black Bean Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 115g canned black beans (or pre-cooked dried beans)
  • 75ml (3 fl oz) pineapple juice
  • 1 small bunch coriander
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbls finely chopped green chilli
  • salt and pepper
  1. Soak the black beans and cook for 1 1/2 hours if using dried beans.
  2. Combine the mango, peppers, onion, black beans, pineapple juice and lime juice, coriander, cumin and chilli in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Chill.


Keep an eye on your symptoms for a couple of days after this salad.  If you find that any of your conditions worsen, particularly inflammation of the joints; then you may need to consider taking out the nightshade family from your diet for a while, to see if they are triggering your symptoms.

The nightshade family consists of Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, aubergines, chillies and paprika, watch out too for curries and curry sauces, pastes and powders.   Use black pepper instead to add heat to your food.  Black pepper also aids digestion.

Also if you are having a time of flare ups there may already be too much heat in your system so don’t add fuel to the fire, concentrate instead on some cooling foods such as cucumber or melon.  Alternatively you can help to balance the heat by serving this black bean salad with some chilled non dairy coconut yoghurt – my latest find in Waitrose and health food shops.

Eat, pray, love.

Gemma x