Summer Readiness – Here We Come.

Summer is the season for sunshine!  With beaches, dining al fresco, summer fridays (read: buh-bye office walls!), and generally being outdoors, you can easily be more prepared than you realize! You’ve heard repeatedly to never leave the house without sunblock, reapply several times a day (as its effectiveness reduces with light exposure, or just from coming off from sweat/daily activities), but there’s a few extra tricks up our sleeve to keep your skin summer fresh and healthy. Being inspired by Indonesia, a tropical country with sun all year round, JUARA knows what a doozy rays near the equator, eternal sun and humidity can do, so here’s our faves to tackle common sun related skin situations!

SUNBURN RESCUE:

Oops. Didn’t we say slather up the SPF? Well, it happens to the best of us… the sunburn. Sunburns are caused when skin is overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays and can happen in as little as 15 minutes, but can take 2-6 hours for the symptoms to appear. Some symptoms of mild sunburn include redness and tenderness, and for that, our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is a great skin soothing treatment. It contains rice bran extract, which specifically reduces redness and irritation, hyaluronic acid and tamarind see extract to moisturize and cool – without oil or alcohol, and triple tea extracts packed with anti0xidants. It really is instant relief. (For serious symptoms including blistering, fever, chills and nausea, we suggest going to the doctor!)

toner

GREASE BE GONE:

Does summer weather and humidity put your skin into a tizzy? Does your skin range from “well, it’s rather shiny” to “a greasy mess?” Our Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer is oil-free, yet contains Kombucha, our anti-aging fermented black tea complex, plus ginger and cinnamon that reduces sebum production. This means the moisturizer does not only reduce oil-induced shine at the moment, but it also means that the more time you use it over, the less “shiny” your skin will naturally become!

Sweet Black Tea & Ginger Mattefying Moisturizer

Another anti-shine darling? Our Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum. Also with our Turmeric infused Radiance Complex, this oil-free serum serves as excellent hydration with seaweed, while containing skin firming ingredients including palm peptides, clove flower, and goji berries. Like an exotic fruit cocktail for your face – just less messy, and way more immediate in its firming, skin-smoothing results!

JUARA Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum

POST-SUN RESET AND REFRESH:

Once you’ve been exposed to a day of rays, it’s always good to refresh and rejuvinate your skin! Counter sun, travel, or pollution exposure with our Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask, which contains our potent Turmeric extract which neutralizes free radicals and brightens for a healthy “I am so HEALTHY!” glow. And we like to get our sexy natural radiance on – ready for the next day. This mask also contains Kaolin Clay is blended with Candlenut Oil to purify skin, absorbing impurities, while also keeping it moist and not overdried. Great for all skin types, just make sure you take it off when you leave the house because it just feels THAT GOOD on after 10 minutes! (Or just do what we do for a super treatment – apply a thin layer and leave on overnight. Wake up to the morning glow. Literally.)

 

And of course, we remind you to stay hydrated, make sure your sunglasses have a UV filter on them, try out a sun parasol if you’re feeling particularly stylish like some do in Asia, and keep smiling! Got any sun tips to share? We’d love to hear it!

Simple and Inexpensive Ideas to Make Mom Feel Extra Special

As the daughter of a mother who has always put the needs of others above her own, I am always in search of gifts that would show the love and appreciation I feel for my mom.  Wellness and self-care are high on my list, but I also know that spending time together is a big thing for my mom.  Interestingly, as a mother of 3 little kids, I crave me-time and catching up on sleep.  My mother, on the other hand, as I know a lot of mothers of grown kids do, values few things more than spending QT with her kids.  Here are some simple, inexpensive ideas to combine a beauty gift with time together.

 

1)  Give Mom a Hand Treatment

Who doesn’t love a great hand cream!  Hand Creams are amongst the most popular Mother’s Day gift ideas, but you can turn a simple hand cream into a super relaxing experience for Mom.  Next time you see her in person, sit down with her and give her a 5-minute massage.  There are a ton of how-to’s online, including this one on Wiki:  Want to take it even further?  Prep your mother’s hands and lower arm with a gentle cream scrub you can just wipe off before following with a hand cream.

Suggested Products:

Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm ($20, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)

Candlenut Body Crème ($35, 7.5 oz/ 213 g)

Candlenut Body Polish ($35, 7.5 oz/ 213 g)  

 

2)  Found a Great Mask? Mask & Relax Together!

There is something incredibly relaxing about putting on a mask, maybe because it forces us to slow down a bit.  Why not take a 10 minute break with you Mom, apply the mask and sit down with her with a cup of soothing herbal tea!

Suggested Products:

Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)

Java Plum Avocado Nourishing Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)

Rose Willowbark Purifying Mask ($38, 2.5 oz/ 73 mL)

 

3)  Enjoy a Home Made Jamu with Mom

What’s good for health and wellness is also good for outer beauty.  Jamu, the ancient Indonesian herbal tradition goes back centuries, but you can easily re-create a simplified Jamu drink at home and enjoy with your Mom.  Pour boiling water over a few slices of fresh turmeric and/ or ginger.  Add lemon, honey and a dash of black pepper – voila!  If fresh turmeric is hard to come by, just mix some turmeric powder with honey to create a paste and drop into a cup of hot water.

Check out this detailed recipe for a quick-and-easy Jamu!

 

4)  Try Some Beginner Yoga Moves Together (or Tai Chi, Pilates, Stretches, etc.)

Perhaps your Mom already does Yoga.  Maybe Tai Chi is more up her ally – It does not really matter, as long as it is simple for both of you and creates a shared experience that allows you to be present in the moment without any of the usual distractions.

Check out these beginner poses from Health Magazine.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Turmeric in Sweets? Try these Delicious Blueberry Peach Turmeric Muffins!

We all know Turmeric from Indian, Thai and Indonesian food.  It gives curry its yellow color and adds a slightly bitter, mustardy flavor. Turmeric is also one of the most important Indonesian Jamu ingredients with all kinds of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  But sweets?  Absolutely!  After playing around with various amounts of Turmeric and fruit combinations, I went bold – voila, curry colored muffins that are fluffy and aromatic with beautiful pops of purple color and juicy peach.

What’s key?  Use whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat flour to get a more delicate texture.  Buttermilk or Kefir ups the fluffiness factor.  Cinnamon and brown sugar adds depth while also balancing the assertiveness of Turmeric.  And lots of real butter….butter makes everything in life better… Enjoy for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1/4 Oat Bran

1/4 Flax Seeds

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1 tbs+1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tbs Cinnamon

1/2 cup+1 tbs Brown Sugar

1/2 cup+ 1 tbs Butter, melted

2/3 cup Kefir or Buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Banana, ripe and mashed

1 cup Peaches, chopped (canned peaches ok)

1 cup Fresh Blueberries (frozen Blueberries seep too much juice and alter the curry color)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tray with muffin liners.

With a hand mixer, combine brown sugar, butter, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add eggs and mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, spices and salt.  Add the dry combination to the wet mixture while continuing to blend with hand mixer.  Once the mixture is smooth and fluffy, add mashed banana and mix well.  Put away hand mixer and carefully fold in chopped peaches and blueberries.  Fill muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.  Insert a toothpick into a muffin.  If there is no dough stuck to it when you pull it out, the muffins are done.

ENJOY!

Cleanse & Tone Correctly!

CLEANSING & TONING CORRECTLY: WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT & WHAT DO I LOOK FOR?

With all the focus on powerful serums, eye creams and masks, you may be putting little thought into your cleanser and toner – if you even use a toner at all.  The truth is, your skin depends on them to look and feel its best.  Everything else in your skincare regimen – serums, creams, masks – will work BETTER if Step 1 and 2 is done right.  So what to look for?

CLEANSING: KEEPING IT GENTLE IS KEY

Freeing your skin of dirt, pollutants and make-up is crucial because they can irritate skin and block other treatment products from being absorbed properly. At the same time, keeping it gentle is key because stripping can trigger irritation as well and make your skin overly sensitive to active treatment products.  Our ever-so-lightly foaming, sulfate-free Rice Facial Cleanser leaves skin feeling clean, ready for the next step, but also soft and supple thanks to a touch of nourishing Candlenut Oil.

Try the Rice Facial Cleanser – 4.5 oz, $29, All Skin Types

EXPECT MORE FROM YOUR TONER!

This is your chance to soothe, refresh, hydrate and balance skin’s pH.  Not all toners are created equal, though.  Avoid harsh ingredients like alcohol, and instead look for hydrating and antioxidant-rich, soothing ingredients.  Our Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner, while oil-free and alcohol-free, quenches thirsty skin, soothes and smoothes with a combination of Hyaluronic Acid, Green, White & Black Teas, Rice Bran, and Tamarind Seed.  The result: Skin is saturated with vital hydration and stays soft, supple throughout the day.  You will notice the difference!

Try the Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner – 4.5 fl oz, $32, All Skin Types

 

CLEANSING TIP!
 Match Made In Cleansing Heaven:
Pair Our Rice Facial Cleanser With Your Favorite Cleansing Brush

Do you love the deep clean and face massage you get from your favorite electric cleansing brush?  Next time, pair it with our Rice Facial Cleanser! Since cleansing brushes provide a deeper and more thorough cleanse (including makeup removal,) it’s all the more important that you pair it with a gentle cleanser that won’t strip skin.  Refrain from using a scrub together with your brush and stick to no more than 2-3 times per week.

 

Turmeric? Tumeric? Turmer-what?

Turmeric.

We’ve been hearing about this super food for months, but what is it? A powder? A root? A magical health elixir?

Thankfully, the JUARA Turmeric Benefits Guide is here to answer all of your questions!

So, let’s start with the basics. What is turmeric?

Part of the ginger family, turmeric is a native plant to southeast India. Turmeric is most popularly used in two forms: raw and dried. Turmeric has been used for almost 1000 years in cuisine, medicine, makeup, skin care, and clothes dying.

What are the health benefits of turmeric?

When ingested, turmeric has historically been used to heal stomach and liver ailments. Turmeric powder concoctions have been used to bring down fevers. It can also be used as an anti-bacterial salve on open wounds. Those who consume turmeric on a regular basis report a reduction in arthritis pain, heartburn, sensitive stomachs, headaches, colds, and menstrual cramps. It may also help those with diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. How? New research showed that daily turmeric ingestion decreased DNA damage by half in a test of blood cells exposed to oxidation. (Percival SS et al. Bioavailability of herbs and spices in humans as determined by ex vivo inflammatory suppression and DNA strand breaks. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012; 31(4):288-94 in Greger M, Stone G. How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York 2015, p352.)

What can turmeric do for my skin?

Turmeric, with its anti-inflammatory and redness reducing properties, can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions including eczema, allergic hives, and even chicken pox! Turmeric is also a great treatment for acne, as it is both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory (not to mention anti-oxidant and anti-neoplastic) (Vaugh AR. et al. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systemic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 Aug;30(8):1243-64).

Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence.

. The JUARA Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask maximizes the healing properties of turmeric by combining it with kaolin clay!

Are there any side effects of ingesting or topically applying turmeric?

There are no known side effects for applying turmeric directly onto the skin. When ingesting turmeric, however, it is important to remember that turmeric is a blood thinner. Consuming turmeric daily makes it more difficult for your blood to clot, so lessen your turmeric intake if you take medicine that thins your blood, or speak to your doctor.

 

Do you still have questions about Turmeric and its uses? Leave a comment on our Facebook page!

5 Principles of an Effective Core Skincare Regimen

“Regimen” may sound restrictive and boring, but a consistent daily regimen is in fact your skin’s best friend.  Like with anything in life, a consistent regimen tells you over time what’s working and what needs change because it gives you a solid benchmark to start from.  In that way, it not only helps your skin, but it also helps you to get to know your skin better.  How to get started?

Select 4-5 products for daily use that provide a solid framework for your skin type and address your top concerns.  You can add extra treatment products, like masks or special items, once you feel comfortable with your core and confident that you will stick to it AM and PM.  Here are the key elements and principles in a great core:

1. Cleanse:  Gentle is King

A good cleanser removes dirt and make-up without stripping skin.  Feeling refreshed is good.  Feeling “squeaky clean” is overkill.  When you strip your skin of its own natural lipid barrier, it’s hard to add it back through product. With a good cleanser, your skin should still feel comfortable and not taught for a whole minute or so after cleansing and before applying a moisturizer.

2.  Tone: Focus on Hydration and Skin-Friendly Ingredients

All skin types, including oily skin, can get dehydrated.  Dehydration means that your skin is lacking water and can result in fine dry lines, irritation and redness.  Look for a toner with water-binding ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid or Tamarind Seed Extract.  It will plump skin and keep it soft and supple while also making your moisturizer more productive.  Avoid irritating and drying ingredients like alcohol.

3.  Treat: Commit to an Antioxidant-Rich Serum

Antioxidants help prevent premature skin-aging and can even reverse existing signs of aging, such as dullness, lines and wrinkles, large pores and loss of firmness.  They also improve redness and other signs of stress.  Serums, which are highly concentrated formulations, are great ways to provide skin directly with an extra dose of antioxidants and nutrients.  What specific ingredients to look for?  Botanicals rich in antioxidants include Turmeric, Clove Flower, Indian Gooseberry, Tea Extracts, Goji Berry and Kombucha.

4.  Moisturize:  Enhance and Balance 

Whether you have dry or oily skin, the point is to help your skin reach and maintain a healthy balance.  If you are dry, choose a moisturizer that enhances and helps rebuild your skin’s own lipid barrier with ingredient that are rich in essential fatty acids, phyto-sterols and/ or ceramide (e.g. Candlenut Oil and Rice Bran Oil).  If you are oily, look for ingredients that help purify pores, reduce shine and balance sebum-production (e.g. Ginger, Cinnamon).

5.  Protect Daily

Whether you prefer a straight sun screen, a moisturizer or foundation with built-in protection, or a protective powder, consistency is key.  Look for a minimum of SPF15 for daily use and make sure it provides broad-spectrum (meaning UVB + UBA) protection.

Recipe Spotlight: Turmeric Eggs & Tamarind with Brussels Slaw

One of my favorite jamu (herbal tonics) from Indonesia is the Kunir Asem. It is a combination of Turmeric and Tamarind blended in a superjuice (as I like to call it) with water, lime, a pinch of salt and palm sugar (or agave/honey.) Together, turmeric and tamarind together have a positive effect on your digestive system and helps fight inflammation in your system. But sometimes I don’t feel like making up a beverage – it’s not so convenient, but I know what is – breakfast. And brunch. We all enjoy it so why not combine that Indonesian grassy spice of turmeric and the tangy sweet flavor of tamarind fruit in our everyday routine? Make the exotic accessible in this easy to make recipe I created this weekend on my own leisurely brunch – and for sure I’ll be making it again!

And for all things JUARA Skincare that contain Turmeric, click HERE to see and learn about how Turmeric can benefit your skin! (I, for one, made the recipe below after applying the Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask for a full experience and inspiration!)

Scrambled Turmeric Eggs with Tamarind Sauce – Serves 1.

Ingredients:

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or garlic powder as a shortcut)

2 big pinches or 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

pinch of sea salt

generous crack/shakes of black pepper (helps turmeric be more bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body)

coconut oil (to heat in the pan, plus it’s good for you and turmeric is also more effective when mixed with a fat/oil)

Optional: Add a 1/2 teaspoon of Garam Masala or Everyday Spice mix (from Trader Joe’s or of your choice)

1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) Tamarind Sauce/Tamarind Chutney found in the Asian/Indian section of supermarkets. Often the sauces are pre-made, great for dips, sauces or condiments.

Scramble the eggs, milk, garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper (and optional spices) together. Heat coconut oil in a pan to medium, and scramble the eggs until fluffy and cooked. (You can always vary by making it into an omelette and adding spinach too).

Brussels Slaw – Serves 1:

3-4 Brussel Sprouts, raw, finely chopped

1 tsbp pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tbsp Olive Oil

Juice of 1/4 Lemon

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional: Add baby kale or chopped cucumber for additional greens or crunch

Blend all ingredients together and serve. Add more lemon juice, or any other ingredient to flavor the brussel sprouts to taste. This is supposed to be a clean, light and fresh salad to complement the richer flavor and softer texture of the scrambled eggs.

How to serve: Plate the scrambled eggs on a plate, and top with tamarind sauce. Surround the eggs with a ring of brussels slaw. Enjoy the delicious texture combination and healthy flavors together!

Mental Anti-Aging Practices

As the co-founder of JUARA, I’m often told “You don’t look your age.” To which I say jokingly, but not really, “Well of course… I use JUARA. You’re looking at the original guinea pig!” But in addition, they also say “Well, it’s also because you don’t ACT your age.” Now that’s a different thing. Judgment aside, I think they mean “You have more energy, always on the go, excited about something, and therefore look younger!” I did some thinking – against what standard am I supposed to act? I don’t feel ANY age – only my arthritic hip reminds me I’m not in my 20’s. But I do feel alive – and I think it shows.

There is an Indonesian philosophy about beauty called Rupasampat Wahyabiantara, which focuses on harmony between inner and outer beauty. With time, outer beauty may gracefully age, but inner beauty, knowledge and a youthful attitude can still blossom through time. I have a few, what I call, mental anti-aging practices I’ve found helpful over the years, which has not only kept me energized, but has also emanated youthfulness on the face. Speaking from my own experiences, here are a few I’d love to share, and plan on taking well into the new year!

Always learn something new, or improve something

Whether it’s another skill, another language, sport or just learning a different perspective of how others think, having an orientation of learning not only triggers neurons in the brain to create more new brain cells (you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!), but it also keeps the mind fresh, youthful and curious – not to mention current since the world is changing so quickly! The beauty of watching little children, as I watch my young nephews grow form babies through toddlerhood, is the wonder they have at everything. The positive sense that there is something out there that we can learn is beautiful, and feeling that way does brighten the eyes encourage the smile – both awesome and natural beauty enhancers, au naturale!

Practice gratitude to reduce stress

We know stress is a part of our everyday lives. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, from work, family, or just life! And stress doesn’t only bring on the frownies including furrowed brows and a frown (hello wrinkles!) but it also triggers an inflammation in the body which can also have negative effects on the skin including aging. A little exercise I like to do when I’m feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed is to stop and just breathe for a minute, then think of 3 things that I am truly grateful for at that moment. It can be simple – like my Clove Flower & Turmeric Anti-Aging Serum that I can apply and it’s like an instant feel-good pick-me-up (this is not a plug from a brand owner, it is genuinely true…), friends who make sure I’m ok since I travel so much, and a bed at home which supports me well when I need to collapse at the end of a long, long weary day – we’ve all had those! Simple pleasures, really. And it does reduce stress. And Turmeric – adding Turmeric to your diet also helps your body better manage stress.

Do something that you believe in

There’s nothing that radiates youthful, positive energy like someone who is absolutely passionate about something they are doing, large or small. 2016, to say the least, has been hard on a lot of us for many reasons. 2017 is a time for not just reflection but change. We’ve had to think about what is important to us, now it’s time to act. Dedicating mindspace and time to support a cause that you feel strongly about can give you energy (vs imagine doing chores or tasks you abhore… how draining is that?). For me, supporting education has been important since Indonesia is a country where many children and young adults don’t have access to a good education – which means limited life/career opportunities – so I volunteer in organizations to help. It’s fulfilling, and I always feel energized after – and yes, in general, it does show on my skin when it’s been a good day, vs a bad.

I can’t understate the importance of a healthy skin maintenance routine. I view it as a form of self care, respecting our bodies and how we treat it. The time we spend on our skin is time spent nourishing ourselves! We formulate JUARA products using clean ingredients in the Indonesian heritage combined with safe technology that makes the products work, leaving us feeling really good after – because that’s how we should feel. I still remind myself why we named our skincare line JUARA, which means winner/champion, because to be champions of our destiny, mind and body, a good inside-out mental + physical practice is an important part of the journey!

Let’s Drink in the New Year!

And no, I’m not referring to the  “would you like that shaken or stirred?” drink variety. I’m talking more of the post holiday Jamu inspired easy-to-make herbal drinks that specifically address digestion and cleansing because, well, the holidays. Maybe your new year comes filled with resolutions, new goals, and aspirations. Perhaps we tell ourselves “I promise to eat better and exercise more.” Every. Single. Year. But to help get into that mode, let’s reset our bodies and give our systems an encouraging boost from all the holiday feasting with this easy to make, delicious and natural tea from Indonesia!

Wedang Jahe

This gingery spicy drink can be drunk hot or cold, and is easy to make. Ginger, a root in the same family as turmeric, cardammon, and galangal, is used heavily in Jamu tradition to aid with overfull or upset tummies and nausea. It is warming and great for circulation. Lemongrass contains vitamins A and C, folate, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese – plus a delightfully pungent and flowery citrus aroma. BOTH are also known to be anti-inflammatory (great for our digestive tract overworked from indulgence), anti-bacterial (great for upset tummies), and contain anti-oxidant properties. Prepared together, it’s like a match made in heaven, or at least that’s what your body will think. This traditional drink’s recipe is loose and simple – play with the ingredient amounts to taste, the way people in Indonesia make their own versions.

  • Combine 2 parts fresh ginger (washed and sliced thin) with 1 part fresh lemongrass (chopped roughly is best) with several cups of water.
  • Bring to an easy boil for at least 20 minutes to bring out the flavor and nutrients out.
  • Optional: We add a Pandan Leaf towards the end to add a sweet, green fragrance to the tea, but in the US, you can substitute with a dash of vanilla extract after done boiling, for aroma.
  • Pour the tea (without the ginger and lemongrass bits) into mugs of choice. Sweeten with honey, agave, palm sugar, or brown sugar, or coconut sugar.

The great part is if you don’t drink all the tea at once, it’s easy to store the remaining unsweetened tea in the fridge, with the ginger/lemongrass bits still in it. The tea will just become more flavorful! Reheat whenever you want more.

Pro tip:

If you’re a ginger lover, before you slice it, crack or crush/slightly flatten the ginger so the surface breaks and you can see the inside (like how you crush garlic with a side of a knife.) Then pan sear (without oil) until the skin shows a light tan. The cooking heat brings out the ginger’s pungent flavor so when sliced and boiled packs an extra punch.

Presentation tip:

In Indonesia, wedang jahe is often served in clear mugs, with a thin but tall talk of lemongrass in the mug for decoration. You can also include a few slices of the ginger in the clear mug – it will look pretty – and your body will thank you!

For another good health drink that’s a little heavier but also great for the liver, check out the recipe of another Jamu staple, Kunir Asem here. It’s an oldie but a goodie – as these recipes are centuries old and timeless!

Don’t Knock the Eggnog! Spice it up.

Happy Holidays! Time for holiday cheer, or at least holiday drinks to keep the festive season going. One of my favorites is actually good ol’ eggnog with its creaminess. Sometimes I’ll add a little rum to it, but other times, I get a little more creative with my Indonesian inspirations.

Choosing Eggnog: If you’re not going to make your own and find yourself wandering down the aisle of Whole Foods (or your favorite grocery store) browsing eggnog varieties, one thing I like to look for is organic milk, and as few “thickeners” as possible, such as guar gum, carrageenan, etc. They are not necessarily bad or “dirty” ingredients per se, but if you can get eggnog with the shortest ingredient list with ingredients such as organic milk, cream, sugar and eggs, why not? If nothing else, it tastes better – to me at least.

Eggnog with Antioxidants? Yes!

I don’t usually associate Eggnog with a health drink, however you can sneak a little bit of spice in there to boost its health benefits without compromising taste – like a pinch of turmeric powder plus a crack of black pepper. Not only does turmeric have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits, it also becomes more easily absorbed by your body in the presence of oils/fats (and if there’s one thing eggnog has, it’s fat!) In small amounts, turmeric powder is fairly flavor-neutral, without the earthy flavor of its natural counterpart often used in Indonesian cuisines or health tonics like Indonesian jamu. The black pepper additionally aids in the absorption of turmeric’s benefits into the body, making it more bio-available, so go ahead – add a little spice to a holiday season!\

Cup o’ Holiday Java…

Coming from a tropical island of coffee and coconuts, I love mixing eggnog with coffee & coconut oil served warm. Coconut oil is great with coffee not only because of coconut oil’s great benefits, but in particular because it helps the caffeine release more slowly in your system so you get a more sustained energy boost vs the big jolt and crash. For festive cheer, I like a good amount of eggnog in it, making it quite yummy and comforting, whether in the office or at home. Add more excitement? Sprinkle with cinnamon, also a common ingredient used in Indonesian beverages to add warmth and sweetness without the sugar. The thick sweetness of the eggnog is cut by the deep, dark, bitter taste of coffee – it’s almost like a super rich, lightly sweetened café-au-lait with a hint of spices. Move over Pumpkin Latte, here comes something new.

Just typing this up got me in the mood for some eggnog – let’s see which one of the two I’m going to make now! Got any interesting holiday concoctions to share?