I am so feeling it. The cold is creeping in.
My windows are closed most of the time now, providing less fresh air and more stuffiness. The heater is on as low as possible, just enough to suppress the bite of frost, while trying to avoid the total dry-out of my skin and hair. Muscles and bones are aching a bit more than usual from the shivering and contraction every time I go outside. And then there’s the slump. That heavy, collapsing flump. Where the hell did my energy go? My motivation? My…SOUL…?
Ah, the inevitable cold weather blahs. Do you experience it too? I know I feel like a completely different person in the winter than I do in the summer. The summer is all unicorns and sunshine, bare feet in the grass, boho dresses, paddle boards and gorgeous thunder storms that finish with beautiful rainbows, reflecting the colours of my vibrant, activated chakras. (Too far?) Aaah, yes. But when the sun retreats to have its vacation in the south and the weather turns colder, I too retreat inside myself. I need to reach for every resource to maintain a level of happy humanness. Nutrients play a huge part in this. Warm, soothing, superfood drinks are a delicious, healthy and helpful step toward keeping a steady mind, an open heart and a nourished body during the cold months. Feeding our bodies, minds and souls, these tonics provide cozy, healing comfort.
Below are recipes for Golden Turmeric Latte, Superfood Hot Chocolate and Green Matcha Spiru-Vanilla Latte.
Golden Turmeric Latte
The Turmeric Latte or ‘Golden Milk’ has been held in high esteem for its healing powers for thousands of years. This recipe is like a magic potion, as the combination of spices, fats and heat enhance nutrient absorption and immune boosting properties.
Key Ingredients & How They Help The Blahs
Studies show that turmeric works just as well as Prozac to combat depression, but without the crumby side effects like imbalanced brain chemistry, dependency, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, skin conditions, reduced appetite, anxiety, spontaneous combustion (kidding), etc, etc.
Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory food, which means that when we consume it, aches and pains may be reduced. We feel cozier, more relaxed and will sleep better. It is also a brain protectant which enhances our memory and mood.
This pungent spice is used in Ayurveda to treat cognitive issues, elevating the mood and bringing about clear thinking. It also helps to enhance the absorption of curcumin, a major healing component in turmeric, helping you get the maximum benefits.
Ginger is great for circulation, ensuring that sufficient blood and oxygen is getting to our brains, promoting optimum function. When our brains are functioning properly, we can think more clearly and feel more centred. Proper blood circulation will also keep our fingers and toes nice and warm.
Ginger helps with digestion, which also improves our mood, as over 90% of our happy hormone, serotonin, is produced in our guts!
Cinnamon is a great anti-inflammatory. Depression symptoms can be caused by inflammation of the brain, so keeping inflammation down is key for a good mood. Cinnamon also boosts brain function by being rich in antioxidants, and It’s great for stabilizing blood sugar, in turn reducing feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
Almond milk contains the magic anti-stress mineral, magnesium, which helps us to relax and sleep. It also contains the essential amino acid, tryptophan, which acts as a mood enhancer by producing and balancing hormones, creating a sense of calm, reducing anxiety and inducing sleep. Tryptophan can also curb our cravings for carbs, which can help reduce our chances of eating our feelings during these chilly times.
5-HTP, a byproduct of tryptophan, helps to produce serotonin in the body, which is one of our major ‘feel good’ hormones. This potion of amino acids and hormones works with the brain and nervous system to enhance feelings of comfort, security and wellbeing.
Our brains need fat to function and a well functioning brain allows clearer, focused thinking and a better mood. Coconut oil is a fat that is especially beneficial in helping to feed our brains, as It contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCT). MCT fats are special because they are easily absorbed into the body without having to go through the digestive system. The brain can convert these to ketones for fuel, providing energy that we can feel and use more quickly. Coconut oil’s blood sugar balancing properties also help stabilize our spirits, lowering the instances of anxiety, mood swings and poor focus. Look for raw, organic coconut oil. Avoid anything refined or hydrogenated.
This sweet, sticky substance is really magical. It’s full of minerals like magnesium, which promotes relaxed muscles and a calm mood. Studies show that maple syrup has neuro-protective properties, shielding brain cells from damage.
Put it together and whaddya got?
Golden Turmeric Latte
- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup to taste
- pinch ground black pepper
In a small pot, whisk all of the ingredients together over medium heat until hot, but not boiling.
OR For a more ‘latte’ like experience:
Carefully pour your warm drink into blender or magic bullet and whizz until frothy.
Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy.
Superfood Hot Chocolate
You know how sometimes it feels like chocolate will make it all better? Well, there’s actually a lot of truth to that. Raw cacao (pronounced cuh-cow) is a superfood that contains high amounts of antioxidants, important minerals (iron, magnesium, calcium) and essential, feel-good amino acids like tryptophan.
Why am I saying ‘Cuh-cow’ instead of ‘Co-co’? Am I just weird? Well, yes I am. But there is also a difference between cacao and your old fashioned dutch processed cocoa that we enjoyed in marshmallow brownies as kids.
Cacao refers to the tree that it, and cocoa, are derived from, called the Theobroma Cacao tree. The term ‘cacao’ refers to the unprocessed version of the cacao bean that provides amazing health benefits.
Cocoa has been roasted and chemically processed, destroying most of the antioxidants and nutrients that make eating it worthwhile. Unless it is certified organic, a lot of cocoa contains traces of pesticides and may also be genetically modified (GMO).
Raw cacoa floods our bodies with bliss-inducing chemicals and neurotransmitters like serotonin, phenylethylamine, tryptophan, anandamide and tyrosine. These elements are all associated with providing a euphoric happy buzz. Besides that, raw cacao is high in magnesium, which calms nerves and alleviates muscle aches and pains. Cacao is an amazing mood enhancer and produces the same chemistry in the brain that happens when we fall in love, but without all the insecurity and self doubt. Cacao = cozy.
This recipe for Superfood Hot Chocolate uses many of the same ingredients as listed above for the Turmeric Tea and adds the mood improving, brain boosting properties of raw cacao.
Superfood Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 - 2 tsp maple syrup to taste
In a small pot, whisk all of the ingredients together over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Pour into a mug and enjoy. For added luxury, top with little coconut cream or coconut whip!
*Tip: You can replace 1/2 tsp of the cacao with turmeric and add a pinch of black pepper to make this a Hella Superfood Hot TurmeriCacao with added benefits.
Green Matcha Spiru-Vanilla Latte
This hot super drink combines the ancient healing powers of both matcha tea and the Aztec-endorsed algae, Spirulina. It also gives us a nice, heart opening dose of the colour green on these grey days.
Matcha is a type of green tea that contains the whole leaf ground into a powder (rather than a steeped teabag), which gives us 100% of the nutrients of the leaf. One cup of matcha contains the nutrients equivalent to ten cups of regular green tea!
Matcha does contain caffeine, but it also contains an amino acid called L-theanine which promotes a state of relaxation and prevents us from feeling negative side effects from caffeine such as the jitters or anxiety. L-theanine creates alpha-waves, which promote relaxed wakefulness, focused concentration and clear thinking. Alpha waves also boost creativity and reduce depression! Matcha tea can increase brain levels of dopamine and serotonin, also helping to reduce stress and improve our mood.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is found in alkaline lakes. It was consumed by the ancient Aztecs and became popularized again more recently when NASA proposed it as a potential food for space travel.
Spirulina is a complete protein that contains B vitamins, providing a blast of energy to lift our spirits. It is also rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which boost brain health. Spirulina’s ability to normalize blood sugar levels reduces anxiety and irritability, and promotes a balanced, easy breezy mindset.
Green Matcha Spiru-Vanilla Latte
- 1 cup almond milk Or your fave milk
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp tsp spirulina
- 1 - 2 tsp maple syrup To taste
Combine the milk and coconut oil in a small pot over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Pour the milk combination into a blender (or leave in the pot if you are using an immersion blender). Add the remaining ingredients and blend for about 30 seconds, ensuring all of the powders are well integrated.
OR if you prefer less froth…
You can just whisk it all together in a pot until it’s hot.
Pour into a mug and enjoy!