Variety is the SPICE of Life!

As our readers know, Jenny and I have been embarking on a 21-day Whole Detox with @DrDeannaMinich #WholeDetox. This experience has provided each of us with the opportunity for many learnings and the space for many reflections. One of the greatest takeaways I will carry forward is the importance of a spice cupboard (or cabinet to our American readers!) I have always enjoyed cooking, but only really approached my spice cupboard when a recipe called for a bit of this or a pinch of that — often using a spice only once for any given recipe and never again! I didn’t truly see its value before this detox experience. 

Dr. Minich, among others, talks about the spice cupboard as the “medicine cabinet in the kitchen.” That notion struck a cord with me. I have always been a believer that health is controlled, in part, in the kitchen, but I had envisioned the powerful and tough stainless steel doors to my refrigerator as my quite literal “bodyguard”, shielding me from harm is it chilled the fresh organic produce within!!! We started to focus on spices throughout the detox that I had never before paid any mind to — spices such as: turmeric, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon…save for pumpkin carving season, I rarely incorporated any of these flavors into my cooking. I was shocked to find out that we would be adding turmeric to our morning shakes, ginger to our chicken breast strips, and cardamom to our kale! It was a new adventure for my plate and palate and the more I started playing around with the power of the powder; I was hooked! 

I began to notice that my intention and focus of cooking shifted from the steel-doored chilling beast to the cobwebbed, dark, and pokey little cupboard above the oven. I was going in and out of this cupboard several times a day, and I was loving the results it produced. Cooking became an almost Hogwarts like experience - a dash of this, a smidgen of that, stir it all up and wait for the magic! And, to top it all off, I started to feel better. Turmeric is known as the “queen of spices” and as anti-inflammatory properties; cinnamon helps reduce blood glucose and triglycerides; ginger helped soothe an upset stomach; and cardamom is known to help freshen breath! The list of benefits that can come from this often under-appreciated piece of kitchen real estate is astounding. 

As a result of our learnings, I decided to give my spice cabinet the make-over it so deserved! I went to my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond and found a nifty little spice rack - particularly useful to those who are tight on space in the kitchen. (Bed Bath and Beyond Stackable Spice Rack). It’s affordable, stackable, and reliable. I took the time to check all the expiration dates on my spices and got rid of those (unfortunately a good few) that were well past their prime. I invested in glass spice containers (also at BB&B) and took stock of what key spices I was missing. (Bed Bath and Beyond Spice Jar). Lastly, I made a date to meet up with a girlfriend of mine in a town where I knew there was a Spice House and I had a great time smelling and sampling their fantastic offering. For twenty five dollars, I came out of the Spice House with an entirely replenished inventory — everything from cayenne to cumin, cloves to chai, and I was delighted with myself. 

I urge anyone reading this to make the intention right here right now to invest some time in your spice cupboard. Check for sell by dates, replenish, organize… have fun with it! This sensory project will pay dividends for many months to come - both for your taste buds and your health and well-being.