Restoratives to Help Us through the Holidays | Natural Gourmet Institute

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Restoratives to Help Us through the Holidays

Posted December 22, 2018

It’s the season of indulgence. For those of us here in the United States, Labor Day in September marks the end of summer, the imminent arrival of fall, our children going back to school, and the start of the holidays. Halloween, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and myriad other holidays and celebrations come in rapid succession, almost always accompanied by special holiday dishes. Who can resist, and who wants to? It’s the season of indulgence. After all, New Year’s Day is just around the corner, and that’s when we resurrect our resolutions from 12 months ago; but this year, we’re going to do better. Or at least, that’s my annual struggle.

But that’s for next year. Right now, we have holiday parties to go to, friends and family to treasure, and children and loved ones to spoil. And in our pursuit to enjoy the holidays, we may eat and drink a little too much, get too little sleep, and end up with upset stomachs. Below are two of my favorite restorative beverages culled from NGI’s recipe archives and instructors that have helped me through the year.

The first is savory, the second sweet. Both are magical.


Chef Elliott Prag prepared this concoction for me one afternoon. A warm, soothing, umami-rich gravy it worked wonders on my upset stomach and rejuvenated me. Using kuzu and umeboshi paste from his Pantry Top Five: Powered by Macro, it delivers all the benefits promised

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon kuzu
  • ½ teaspoon umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 teaspoon shoyu

In small pot, stir water and kuzu together. Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Add umeboshi paste and allow to simmer 1 – 2 minutes more. Season with shoyu at end.


Chef Ann Nunziata prepared this delightful beverage for me one morning as we were filming a tutorial to supplement an article on the benefits of kuzu. Relaxing and soothing, it also settles the stomach. Great for tension headaches, helps relax the nervous system and can treat insomnia.


  • 1 cup mango juice
  • 2 ½ tablespoons kuzu
  • Pinch ground ginger (or ginger juice)


In small pot, combine mango and kuzu. Stir to combine well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until mixture thickens. Serve hot or cold.

*Note: Kuzu has a chalky consistency. Always dissolve it in a small amount of COLD fluid before adding it to the simmering liquid.