Turmeric & Self-Care for Warriors

Hi Warriors!

I wanted to share a few thoughts on recovering from injury. A few summers ago, I tweaked my shoulder while stretching out a client. At first I thought my biceps, back and shoulders were just a “good sore” – and in fact I even texted my client and thanked him for the great workout (his legs are bigger and more powerful than the average 😉 But… by the next day, I literally couldn’t even move my right arm. Ugh.

I have to be really desparate to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds these days (mostly because I took more than my share in my 30’s dealing with migraines and chronic pain after Lyme and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). I destroyed my liver and stomach lining and was told I had high liver enzymes and also prescribed Prevacid (but that’s a WHOLE other story)… but since then, I only take ibuprofen or naproxen if I’m desperate for relief.

If I only knew then what I knew now…

Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot over the last 20 years about how to take better care of myself. I’m all about self-care, prevention and treating naturally when possible!

When this shoulder thing happened, my first thought was “practice what you preach” and I took an Epsom salt bath, iced up several times a day, rested, dialed in my anti-inflammatory superfood diet, slathered myself every hour with either Deep Blue rub or my magnesium oil concoction with a blend of essential oils (peppermint, lavendar, lemongrass and frankinsense) …plus I started eating and drinking LOTS of turmeric.

The injury happened Monday. By Tuesday evening I knew I was in trouble. The pain was excrutiating, my mobility was very limited and I didn’t sleep at all that night.

Wednesday morning my husband made me a sling with an old pillow case (I was amazed how much it helped to stabilize my arm and take the pressure off). I was desperate enough to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (naproxen) and I made an appointment to see the best sports medicine doc I know (Dr Andy Tucker at Medstar who is amazing).

In the meantime, I kept on my self-care routine, adding in extra essential oils, gentle movement and self-massage to keep the blood flow and turmeric… lots of turmeric (recipes below).

Thursday I was still very stiff and sore, but I decided to go without the sling and OTC anti-inflammatories but upped my turmeric and essential oils. The doc evaluated me and felt very confident that it wasn’t a torn rotator cuff but rather a strained bicep tendon. Phew.

I continued on my self-care routine, By Friday I felt 50% better (which to me seemed crazy since two days earlier I couldn’t move and had to do everything with my left arm).

By Saturday I was 75% better and could once again put my hair in a ponytail (instead of having my hubby do it 🙂 )… And by Sunday I was 80% better and could even put on a sports bra (and every athletic woman knows that’s a challenge even with healthy shoulders!)

SO… the point of this blog is this… THIS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY Superfood diet, essential oils and self-care thing WORKS!!!

Now, we’ll never know what would have happened had I eaten the standard American “inflammatory diet” (SAD) full of sugar, gluten, dairy, fried and processed junk food, pumped my body with OTC meds, not rested, not practiced self-care and used Icy Hot instead of Deep Blue and magnesium oil… ???

My guess is my healing would have been pushed back days if not an entire extra week. But, of course there’s no way to prove that or know for sure.

I do know the body WANTS to heal. Sometimes the best thing we can do is nourish and rest it, and let it do it’s thing! So often the temptation is to pop pain killers and ignore the messages the body is sending.

I’m also a big believer in circulation for healing too. Ice, heat, sauna, massage, acupunture, self-massage…

Here’s a 10 Minute Self-Massage Myofascial Release & Recovery Stretch…

After a Facebook Live segment I did on the topic of “Turmeric for Wounded Warriors”  a few viewers asked for a list of products I personally used to help speed my recovery along with my turmeric recipes. So this blog post in in response to all the questions I got 😉

List of products / techniques I used…

  • Rest (chillpower people 🙂
  • Ice (in a good ol ziploc bag or ice pack)
  • Epsom Salt (bath – super cheap and very effective)
  • Magnesium Oil (I add a few drops of lavendar or frankinsence essential oil)
  • Self-Massage (with myofascial release balls to keep the rest of my body limber and circulation flowing during recovery)
  • Essential Oils (Frankinsense, peppermint and lemongrass mixed with magnesium oil in a roller bottle – I use doTerra and am happy to do a free 30 minute consult with you if you’re interested to learn more about the healing power of essential oils).
  • Deep Blue Rub (also a doTerra product I LOVE LOVE LOVE)
  • doTerra Deep Blue supplement with Turmeric and Frankincense (or try this Turmeric Force)
  • Kevita Turmeric Tonic (available at grocery stores and evenstores like Target these days)

Have you tried turmeric yet?

Turmeric is a bright yellow plant in the ginger family and is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant with lots of healing properties. I believe wholeheartedly that food is medicine and turmeric has helped me immensely with my aches and pains.

In addition to the self-care products and techniques listed above,  I stuck strickly to my anti-inflammatory superfood diet talk about in my book and I add in extra turmeric throughout the day when I have flare-ups of body aches, injuries or even a headache.

Here are a few of my turmeric recipes…

Warning! Turmeric will stain your clothes, your kitchen towel, etc. When you brush your teeth after drinking it, your tooth brush will be yellow (don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)) but the benefits are  worth it!

Turmeric Ginger Peach Smoothie 

  • 1 peach (or 1/2 cup pineapple, mango or an orange. Use what is local.organic and in season when possible.
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (lately I use Turmeric Essential Oil – no yellow staining  or chalky taste 🙂
  • ginger (I used a drop of ginger essential oil but you could use a thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger or a teaspoon of powdered ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond or hemp – plain, unsweetened)
  • 1 scoop vanilla plant-based protein power or collagen powder

Blend all ingredients. Add ice or if you like!

Turmeric Lemonade

  • 1 cup Filtered Water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or raw organic honey (or 1 drop stevia)
  • pinch black pepper

Hydrating Turmeric Tonic

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 drop ginger essential oil (or 1 teaspooon ginger powder)
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or coconut sugar (or 1 drop stevia)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Golden Milk (heat milk and add other ingredients)

  • 1 cup nut milk (almond, coconut or hemp)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar, raw organic honey (or 1 drop stevia)

Cherry Turmeric Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh cherries (organic if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 drops ginger essential oil (optional)
  • Superfruit powder (optional but great booster to add extra vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory properties)

Turmeric Spice Superfood Bites

  • 1 cup oat flour (make flour with gluten free oats in high speed blender)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 5 dates
  • 1 T turmeric
  • 1 t cinnamon or all spice
  • 1 t ginger powder (or 3 – 4 drops Essential Oil)
  • 1-2 drops cardamom essential oil (optional but awesome)
  • pinch fresh ground pepper
  • pinch Himalayan salt
  • 1 T raw honey
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, softened
  • 1 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend oats on high speed until flour-like texture. Add in walnuts and dates and blend again until fine. Add in spices (turmeric, cinnamon, all spice, ginger, cardamom, salt and pepper). In separate bowl mix together almond butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Roll into bite-sized balls and refrigerate.


Bottom line… you have an important choice… Choose products, foods, activites and thoughts that will speed your healing and support your recovery… or choose crap that will slow your healing and hold you back from being your best.

Again, I have no way of knowing what would have happened if I had chosen to eat crap, not rest, load up on pain killers and not listen to my body. But, I do know that I was in a sling and a lot of pain with no mobility on Wednesday and by Saturday I was 80% better! I still need to be super careful for another week or so until I’m fully healed (that’s the hard part!!!)

I always say, as a warrior, we need to honor and protect ourselves first – otherwise we can’t be 100% there for others when they need us. Remember, injuries while frustrating, can be our greatest teachers. Our bodies want to heal and they know how to repair themselves. Sometimes the best thing we can do is support the healing process and let the body do it’s thing.

OK warriors, that’s a wrap 🙂

Practice self-care and… STAY FLEXIBLE, WARRIORS!

 Lots more self-care tips for recovery and healing in my book “Find Your Flexible Warrior: think, stretch & eat for balance & resilience”

PS to order Deep Blue or essential oils CLICK HERE or email me to set up an essential oil consult or to open a wholesale account. 

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XO & Namaste

Karen Dubs