By Nadee Bandaranayake, Owner and Chief Spice Lady at Cinnamon Tree Organics
The dog days of summer may still not be over, but it has been cooling down at night and into the mornings. Soon, temperatures will drop and we will be in the middle of pumpkin spice season before we know it. This year, for obvious reasons, has been so weirdly different for everyone, and we could all use a reminder to slow down and pay attention to ourselves.
The following two recipes incorporate the goodness of spices to achieve an equilibrium in the body. Combined with the tantalizing aromas and warming effects of the spices, these two beverages are my go-to’s on cooler mornings (but let’s be honest: I like a steaming beverage in my hands at all hours of the day). It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare each drink and once you discover your own balance of spice, it will be quicker and perhaps you will not need to measure.
There is something soothing about standing over a simmering pot of spiced milk, stirring rhythmically, inhaling the aromas wafting up, that gets me in a state of flow in the mornings. This is the ritual that grounds me and sets my mood for the day.
The spices we use to make the beverages have immense health benefits. Here is a list scientists, doctors, and nutritionists agree on. Further research is being done on each spice.
Black pepper: High in antioxidants, helps reduce inflammation, helps with digestion, helps “activate” the curcumin in turmeric to make it easier to absorb. Pro tip: always add a dash of black pepper wherever you add turmeric.
Ceylon cinnamon: Immune-boosting, very high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-diabetic.
Clove: Has more than 30 times the antioxidant concentration of blueberries.
Ginger: Improves digestion and helps the body better absorb all nutrients, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving, especially headaches and menstrual cramps.
Green cardamom: Antibacterial, boosts appetite, helps digestion, and relieves stomach pain, nausea, and bloating.
Nutmeg: Reduces pain and inflammation, boosts brain health, supports better sleep, promotes digestion, and improves heart health.
Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory, lowers glucose levels, is a natural pain reliever, has been shown to reduce depression at high doses.
Note on sweetening with honey: Honey is an excellent natural sweetener for any beverage. Local honey produced in your community has immune-boosting powers for allergens in your neighborhood because the bees would have sourced pollen locally. However, heating up honey has the potential to turn it toxic. Add honey after removing any beverage from heat. Pour beverages into mugs, perhaps let them stand for a minute or two, and stir in honey to dissolve.
Golden Milk (Variation: Turmeric Latte)