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BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2010-01-01

This month’s featured ingredient: Ginger

Recently, I’ve been exploring the thrills and joys of partnerships–in my personal life, my professional journey, and, of course, with flavors in the kitchen. The kitchen pairing I’ll present to you here includes two of my favorites: ginger and tahini. However this recipe isn’t from the results of my own culinary explorations, but instead from the kitchen of another Andrea. . . Andrea Caplan Livingston of Phytofoods.  She was kind enough to share this recipe, which will be included in the cleanse protocol.

Ginger Tahini Dressing

This recipe is light & creamy & so incredibly simple. It’s great on a raw green salad, which is how I’ll feature it here. It would also be delicious atop a seed grain like quinoa or millet, tossed with some buckwheat or kelp noodles, or mixed into a stir-fry. Try it and explore it’s versatility while experiencing the flavors & health benefits of the ingredients!

  • 1 cup raw tahini

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1-2 tablespoons raw honey or 2 dates

  • 1/4 cup tamari

  • 2 garlic cloves minced

  • 2 cups purified water


Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Store in a glass jar in refrigerator for up to one week.

Yields 3 1/2 cups

Ginger is actually best peeled with the edge of a spoon!

The Wonders of Ginger

My late husband, perhaps because he was half Asian, had an affinity for ginger. When he had a cold, I’d find him sipping concoctions of fresh ginger, lemon, honey, and cayenne pepper in hot water. When one of us got a burn in the kitchen, he’d quickly slice some ginger and slab the exposed center of the root on the throbbing skin. He could eat crystallized ginger by the handfuls; it was a treat I would buy him for his late nights of work. And little did either of us expect that our son would arrive with hair that in many cultures is calledginger!

Ginger has been savored and revered for centuries as a culinary and medicinal gem. It’s used to expel cold, induce sweating, and therefore help release toxins from the body. It’s great for digestion, coughs, and nausea–even during pregnancy. In food it stimulates the salivary glands and taste buds. And it’s a potent anti-inflammatory, even helping with arthritic pain.

Gingery Home-Remedies

  • For muscle strains:

    Mix powdered ginger and turmeric with water to make a paste; apply to injured area twice a day. 

    (note: turmeric may temporarily stain the skin)

  • For a sore throat:

    Bring some water to a boil, add about 1/2-inch knob of ginger per cup of water. You can then add lemon, honey, and cinnamon or cayenne pepper to taste. Drink throughout the day.

  • For a persistent cough or cold:

    Try same as above and add a few cloves and extra ginger.

  • Try a ginger compress to stimulate blood and body fluid circulation:

    Place about a handful of coarsely grated ginger into a cheese cloth or a nut bag. Squeeze the juice from the ginger into a pot containing hot but not boiled water. Gently dip a towel into the ginger water and wring it out. Apply to the affected area. Great for cold hands & feet!

  • To relieve of nausea:

    Ginger tea can be consumed or ginger pills can be taken in doses of 200mg every 4 hours.

How to “sweat” a salad:

While I’ve been writing about the way in which ginger can induce sweating in the body, I’d now like to share my favorite way to eat hearty green salads–especially in winter. Sweat it!

In the winter months the body needs warming foods. Yet it’s also great to enjoy hearty raw salads with nutrition packed greens like collards and kale. Over the years that I’ve been incorporating more raw foods into my diet, I’ve found that unless the heartier greens are sweated, I not only have difficulties digesting, but also find myself left with an undesirable inner chill. The sweating helps to break down the insoluble fibers in the greens, much like sauteeing would. Yet sweating retains the most potent benefits of eating the greens uncooked. It makes the greens easy to digest and infinitely more appealing.

  1. Chop your greens into bite-sized pieces (collards and purple kale shown here).

  2. Sprinkle with high quality sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan, or Hawaiian Red)

  3. Squeeze lemon atop.

  4. Take your clean hands and work them right into the greens, kneading the salt and lemon through the salad for a full minute.

  5. Let the greens sit while you prepare your dressing, other ingredients, or even for several hours at room temp.

  6. Add dressing and, again, work your clean hands into the greens, massaging the dressing right into each bite-sized piece.

  7. Enjoy immediately or continue to let sit at room temp until ready to eat.

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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