Don’t laugh – it feels lovely. Here’s the “recipe”:
1 baking potato (about 400g)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp iodized salt
56g roasted or canned chicken
7g lightly salted butter
1 serrano pepper (Okay, this is totally optional – hot peppers are a stress buster and oh, so tasty, but you do you!)
1 T. capers (optional)
Preheat oven to 420 degrees F.
Wash and dry the potato. Put olive oil and salt together in one hand, then massage into the potato. Set potato aside, and gently massage remaining oil and salt into your hands. Be especially gentle on the backs of your hands, and a bit firmer on the palms – the salt will exfoliate (but may also cause itching if you’re not gentle – do not rub your hands raw!). Massage your wrists and knuckles. Rinse off under warm (not hot) water – get off all the salt, but don’t soap up your hands and get rid of the olive oil! Blot on a paper towel, gently, to remove the water and excess oil from your palms.
Now, go back and poke holes in the potato. You only need about six, but you can stab it with a pointy knife or poke it with toothpicks like it’s a voodoo doll; depending on circumstances, this, too, can be a therapeutic activity for about ten seconds.
Nuke the potato in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes (go long if it’s really big!). When the oven’s hot, stick the potato in it – right on the rack – and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
Remove it, cut it open, weigh it, and jot down the number (remember my blog about whether to weigh before or after cooking? Potatoes are full of water content, so they shrink in cooking – a LOT – and you’ll steam off another couple of grams within a minute of cutting it open)
Warm the chicken for about 15-30 seconds in the microwave.
Add butter, chicken, and the optional serrano pepper (or some grated cheese, but weigh and track this carefully – cheese is good, but high in calories, too!).
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pain relief? Really?
Turns out there may be a bit of science to this, but most of the articles on the Internet are pure hype and nonsense. This one doesn’t seem to oversell it, and explains (maybe) why this might work on sore joints: http://everydayroots.com/arthritis-remedies
I figured it out purely by accident, and Googled later to see if I’d stumbled on something that was already common knowledge. Sure enough, extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which is an anti-inflammatory and COX inhibitor. The actual science behind the health benefits of olive oil is promising, but I wouldn’t recommend you start drinking extra virgin olive oil straight from the bottle, or bathing in it once a week. My hands were aching, one day, from typing, so while waiting for my lunch to bake, I just massaged them with the excess oil and salt before washing them. It felt good, so I made a habit of it.
The ingredients are cheap, plentiful, and you probably already have them in your kitchen. Do note that the cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil is needed, if you hope for any effect beyond simple lubrication and the exfoliating effect of the salt! Heat destroys the oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil, so while ingesting it may be more effective than applying it topically, it won’t help just to cook with it.
I’m not sure the effect of olive oil rubbed into joints is all that dramatic – Ibuprofen or Celebrex do still seem to work better. I suspect any pain relief is due to a combination of oil, salt, and the stimulation of a good hand massage – but it can’t hurt, can it?
I’m going to call this the “Hand Massage Diet.” Maybe Oprah or Ellen will invite me on their shows. Oh, by the way, here’s the nutrition info for the lunch you just made: