The Gingerbread Man: A Story of Pain

Good afternoon! I’m enjoying my second cup of green-ginger tea for the day, and it is “yum.” 😉 I had a haircut this morning, and as I was flipping through “Self” magazine, I noticed a short blurb on the benefits of ginger tea, which include alleviating post-workout soreness. I read this tidbit on a medical news website last spring and thought I’d give it a try. It really does work! (Maybe his main ingredient is why the Gingerbread Man was able to run so fast and far, eh?)

I think I must be easily fascinated, but I find it amazing that things that grow in the ground are among the healthiest for our bodies. Spices – like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic – contain tons (to use the scientific term) of antioxidants and phytochemicals in very small packages. A lotta bang for very few bucks!

Back to soreness. I wrote yesterday that I had a great leg workout, and I don’t think I was exaggerating when I said I’ll be feeling its effects in 2011. (“Great” often equals “imminent soreness” in the fitness game…hence the second cup of ginger tea beside me!) I’d be willing to bet that most people don’t think to themselves, Gotta find some ginger! as the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) kick in. I sure didn’t before I became somewhat enlightened…

A few years ago, during my “Splenda days,” I only drank tea to cool down in the summers, or, on rare occasions, when I pretended to be English ;-). I wasn’t sure they even sold green tea outside of sushi restaurants. When I was sore, I turned to the medicine cabinet, not the produce section. More specifically, I took ibuprofen, a well-known anti-inflammatory. There’s a good reason people take that stuff: it works! But while I was enjoying being sans soreness, my efforts in the gym were being wasted!

Without trying to play doctor, I’ll cut to the chase: NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen do more than we’d wish them to. While they’re lessening pain and inflammation, they’re also counteracting our workouts by reducing muscle synthesis. This means our muscles are being stopped from regenerating and growing!

I know this may sound strange, and even slightly masochistic, but I’m typically content being sore. The pain I’m feeling in my glutes, my quads, and my hamstrings are sure signs that progress toward better shape, strength, and muscle tone is being made. But, sometimes by “butt” is literally too big of a pain in my…neck. Solution? Ginger!

Ginger is a natural, God-made anti-inflammatory. Its gingerols (an apt name, don’t you think?) are chemicals that not only help with muscle pain, but also treat arthritis sufferers. And the best part is, no side effects!

If you’re not a British subject or just don’t care for tea, enjoy ginger in soups, stir-fries, with tender, flaky fish, or in curries! Just don’t try it in the Gingerbread Man. You’ll never catch him anyway…

I should note that ginger needs time to build up in your body before you can expect to feel its benefits. So, if you’re planning to do a challenging weight routine next Wednesday, start sippin’ now!

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

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