Friday, January 31, 2014

Nourish Yourself with Hot Chocolate

It has been a bit cold here in the midwest. And that means that it is perfect weather for hot chocolate!
Cold weather has an effect on the body by leaving it cold, dry, light, creaky and stiff. We can start to balance out those reducing qualities, by adding things into our daily routine and lifestyle that is rich, sweet, nurturing and grounding. One of these things is hot chocolate. Here is my favorite recipe that I have been playing around with this winter. Enjoy a guilt free cup with those that you love (young and old) and feel the love rush in!

Hot Chocolate Recipe
Serves 2

2 cup milk (coconut, almond, cow)
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 TBL almond butter
2 Medjool dates
4 TBL organic 100% pure cacao (cacao powder is high in anti-oxidants)
1 teaspoon *Ashwagandha powder
Optional: if you love coconut you can also add 2 teaspoons of coconut butter

Instructions: Measure and stir all ingredients into a pot, heat until it starts to simmer. Pour into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes. Pour and sip hot with someone you love!

*Ashwagandha is an herb that is highly used in ayurvedic medicine:

  • Increases energy and vitality
  • General adaptogen for combating stress
  • Assists in calming the mind and promotes restful sleep
  • Supports proper function of the adrenals
  • Helps calm anxiety and soothes the nervous system
  • Will adapt to helping with rest in the evening or giving energy in the morning/mid-day
  • Purchase here:
Obviously you can make the hot chocolate without this herb, but I highly suggest you order it and give it a try. 

Addition by a reader (that I fully appreciate): When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from its "antioxidant" power. Chocolate being an antioxidant, is believed to help the body's cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. Awesome right?

Cheers to a cozy night in!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ginger - eat it, drink it, smell it

Ginger is becoming very popular these days and the tea isles are brimming with ginger tea claiming to help digestion, bloating and even the common cold. I am happy to say that the hype about this root is true and that if you have not incorporated this herb into your diet, now is as good of time as any!

Ginger is a medicinal plant that has many positive effects on the body. Here are a few ways that you can start to incorporate it into your daily life.
  • Drinking ginger tea after a meal can help with digestion.
  • Chew the root to help sooth a sore throat.
  • Breath in ginger essential oils when you feel a headache coming on. 
  • Apply the fresh root as a rouge, as it stimulates circulation.
  • Grate ginger root into stews, sauces, oatmeal, and teas in order to help with the digestive process. When added to the cooking process of beans, mung beans or lentils it will help with flatulence (add turmeric and black pepper as well as grated or powdered ginger to help with bloating that may come from these foods). 
  • Bake with ground ginger root for a warming spice. Great for cold weather foods to help the body feel warm.
  • Ginger is great for nausea, so bring some with you when you travel if you are one who gets motion sickness easily.
  • Ginger helps with spasms or cramps, so those of you who have painful cramps during your menstrual cycle should try to consume ginger at least 1-2 times a day, 2 weeks leading up to your period. 
  • Eating a coin size piece of raw ginger before you eat a meal, squeeze some fresh lemon juice and add a dash of salt to the ginger and chew mindfully. Once you swallow you will feel your stomach start to warm up, this is your digestive fire burning at a higher level so that it can metabolize what you are about to feed it.
  • Ginger essential oil will help relieve and clear out a head cold. Breath in a combination of 3 drops of each: basil, eucalyptus and ginger essential oils. Add these to a pot of steaming hot water and cover your head with a towel as you bend over the pot and breath deeply.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREATH IN TOO HOT OF STEAM. Wait for the water to cool slightly so that you can breath in the steam comfortably.

IMPORTANT: Ginger is heating and for some, may cause stomach distress. If you experience diarrhea or stomach pain after using ginger for a few days, back off. Not all herbs work for every-body, so it is important to make note and use your best judgement. There is always an alternative, although trying powdered ginger over fresh is also a good experiment, as fresh vs dry ginger is used differently by the body and might make a difference for those people who cannot handle fresh ginger.