Golden Milk: Sunshine in a Cup

Turmeric Root

Remember Mary Poppins? Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

There have been a lot of recipes for Turmeric Tea swirling around lately. It’s great to see Ayurvedic wisdom going mainstream, and to see people getting relief from various kinds of aches and pains, as well as colds, congestion, sore throats, skin problems, not to mention turmeric’s reputation for reducing tumors, diabetes, inflammation and Alzheimer’s.

Golden Milk made with fresh Turmeric root

Ayurveda is brilliant for its herbal wisdom, such as the benefits of turmeric – but even more so, for its genius in combining. Making dishes, tonics or formulas to create a balanced, whole, all-six-tastes intelligence that super charges healing is a unique forte in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s one of the many reasons I love it, because it is a science of relationships!

That is why this ancient and popular Ayurvedic recipe for Golden Milk is so effective – Ayurveda knows that turmeric’s potency is enhanced when its bitter taste is balanced by the sweet taste. Bitters help the body detoxify, while sweet increases the bio-availability to carry the medicinal qualities of bitters well into your deeper tissues.

gold milk

Can you hear the song? Mary Poppins was right – sweet does help the medicine go down, and be optimally effective.

Only when Ayurveda speaks of the sweet taste, it means foods that are naturally sweet, sometimes almost bland – like rice, wheat, potatoes, parsnips, milk, butter, but also delicious like bananas, berries, almonds, coconut.

Because it is so healthy, I add turmeric to ghee whenever I cook, and stir it into milk whenever making a tea or smoothie. In winter, on any given day, you will find in our kitchen a teapot full of steaming hot water colored deep yellow by generous slices of turmeric and ginger. But I would never have the tea on its own. There’s always some type of milk, usually coconut, and often a spoonful of ghee. For me, turmeric is just too light and drying without the heavy, unctuous, hydrating benefits of the sweet taste.

turmeric milk

If you look at traditional India, you see this medicinal relationship embedded in the cuisine: curries, yellow rice and golden milk are common in Indian kitchens, where golden milk was made fresh and served piping hot the minute anyone complained of a sore, an ache or an illness.

Last week I served it with goat’s milk to a friend, but I personally prefer it with homemade almond or coconut milk. What is it about Ayurveda and milk? You can read about Ayurveda’s love of dairy here, which is perhaps not what you think… Anyway, I give you both ways to make it – and hope you enjoy it, for goodness’ sake!

golden milk-turmeric and boiled full fat milk

Golden Milk
Serves 2

2 c fresh Milk
2 t Turmeric powder, or a 2-inch coin of fresh Turmeric root, peeled
A dusting of fresh cracked Pepper, or a small pinch of ground Cardamom, or both

Put the ingredients in saucepan. Whisk the milk gently while bringing to a gentle boil. Serve and drink warm.

Warning: Wear an apron. Turmeric stains! 

Dairy Free Golden Milk
Serves 2

2 t Turmeric powder or a 2-inch coin of fresh turmeric root, peeled
2 c fresh Almond milk* or Coconut Milk
2 t raw Honey, optional
1 t Ghee or Coconut oil, optional

Add the ingredients to a blender on high speed and mix for a few minutes to heat the drink. Enjoy it warm.

For Vata: Blend in a date and skip the honey. Add a shake of ginger and a dash of cardamom 
For Pitta: Replace the honey with maple syrup
For Kapha: Add generous shakes of ginger, black pepper and cinnamon

*How to Make Almond Milk
Makes about 2 cups

1 c raw Almonds
4 c Water
2-3 Medjool dates, chopped
1 t Vanilla Extract
1 pinch Himalayan Pink Salt

In two cups of water, soak the almonds overnight, for a minimum of 8 hours or up to 2 days. Drain and rinse. Pour your almonds in a high speed blender and cover with two cups of water. Slowly turn your blender from low to the highest speed and blend for two minutes. By the time you are done, it should be foamy and very well blended, with the almonds broken up into a fine meal. Pulse a bit longer if needed to get it completely smooth.

Place a nut bag or a generous strip of cheese cloth into a strainer and put the strainer over a large bowl, or a 1 quart Pyrex. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer. Lift the nut bag or cheese cloth and twist to squeeze all the liquid into the bowl.

Pour this liquid back into your blender and add the dates, vanilla and salt. Blend again on high speed until no bits of dates remain. Drink immediately, or store in an airtight jar up to two days in your refrigerator.

golden dreams - turmeric and almond milk

 

Turmeric is said to balance all doshas, be cleansing to the blood and lymph, helping to dissolve tumors and blood clots, improving circulation, promoting healthy menstruation, strengthening muscles, healing soft tissue injury, decongesting the liver, aiding in the digestion of sugar, fats, and oils, and supporting those with diabetes and hypoglycemia. (NCBI: Potential Therapeutic Effects of Curcumin)

Since turmeric is such a hard worker, I leave you with a little food for thought ~

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.
Find the fun… and snap, the job’s a game!

And every task you undertake
becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree,
It’s very clear to see!”

~ Mary Poppins

cuppa gold

May all your days be golden ~
Namaste! 

Toasted Turmeric Tofu Salad

Coronado_Beach

Summer is beautiful here: the beach, the clear but not too hot weather, the charm of a small town that, to some degree, resembles America as Betty Crocker might have lived it. It has an unspeakable draw.

Coronado Beach at Sunset

This week, that draw is stronger than ever. We watch as people pour in, like waves flowing to meet the ocean. They come from every place on the globe, coming this week for one thing above all: the 4th of July.

coronado fourth parade

coronado parade

Coronado 4th Parade

Yesterday, I was invited to be one of the Parade’s announcers/dj’s. It’s a surprise. But it’s also something more. I’ve lived here “under the radar,” so to speak, for 11 years. So it feels like a kind of coming out party.

No more feeling like the outsider. I belong. You belong. We all belong. We belong to our communities, to our world, to nature, to life. We belong to this breath, this moment, this 4th of July and this dream of unity.

coronado parade

coronado parade

In that spirit, I’ve been going through my days, my work and all the beautiful things one gets to love and do each day, filled with inspiration for a playlist: music across the generations, music that celebrates American ingenuity, music that makes us want to get up and dance.

A few high schoolers with exceptional musical talent quickly promised to stop by and perform. Favorite locals like Root 75, Cafe 1134, Seaside Papery, and Leroy’s Kitchen & Lounge have loaded me up with prizes so we can run trivia contests. Of course, there are floats and bands, military brass and everyday heroes to announce, but there are often gaps… long gaps… between floats, so I am abuzz with ideas – and eager for more. If you have input for music, historical trivia, or engaging ways to entertain kids in a crowd (without losing the plot), I’d love to hear! 4thparade

coro parade

Meanwhile, in this time of such fullness, I am grateful for very simple, easy foods that provide energy and substance. This one in particular, is my go-to lately. I’ve been tossing it into salads, but you could put it with anything ~ from soup to saag, tacos and burritos to pasta. Put it in a bowl with a light dust of truffle salt or nutritional yeast, and it is a great snack all by itself.

roasted turmeric tofu salad

summer salad with roasted turmeric tofu

Roasted Turmeric Tofu is inspired by Lindsay who helped me make this Creamy Mollee last winter, and who, left to her own devices, did something I’d never have done – and made something unexpected, and uncommonly divine! Tossed with this sweet/bitter salad, you get the six tastes you need in a pitta-reducing, summer-balancing, savory symphony. Perfect for parties and picnics, and for everyone looking for something hearty and healthy.

You can thank Lindsay.

tofu turmeric

turmeric tofu

Summer Salad + Roasted Turmeric Tofu

Turmeric Tofu
Tofu, firm, but not extra firm
1 /2 t Turmeric
1/4 t Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil

Salad
1 head Butter Lettuce, medium
1 head Radicchio, small
1 stalk Fennel
1 large or 2-3 small Beets, roasted or boiled
1/2 an Avocado
1/2 c Pumpkin seeds, raw

Dressing
1 t Tahini
1/2 t Lime juice
2-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
pinch dried Mint
optional: Salt, Pepper to taste

To make the Turmeric Tofu ~

Roasted
Set your oven to broil. Transfer tofu to a baking pan and pour 1 teaspoon of its liquid over it. Discard the rest. Cut the tofu into bite-size cubes. Shower the tofu with turmeric, then sprinkle with salt. Marinate the tofu for 10 minutes.

Drizzle with melted ghee or olive oil, or a bit of both, and put in the oven. Roast for ten minutes until it browns. Remove from oven, turn cubes over and roast until this side browns. You don’t need to cook the tofu. You are only trying to roast the outer layers.

Pan-fried Alternatively, put the ghee/olive oil in a sauce pan and sauté the marinated tofu on a medium high flame a few minutes each side, until both sides are browned. You might need a bit more ghee/oil, but it is tastier this way, and quicker if you can get the heat right up, without burning the tofu or the oil.

Once it is browned, transfer tofu to a paper towel covered plate to absorb the excess oil. Allow to cool. At this point you have a delicious snack or “meaty” addition to vegetables and mains.

To make the Salad ~ 

Wash, pat dry and tear the butter lettuce into bite-size pieces. Do the same with the radicchio.  Slice the fennel bulb thin, and tear its fronds into bits.  Slice the beet/s and avocado into cubes.  Layer the vegetables in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the raw pumpkin seeds.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a small jar. Cap the lid and shake well. Pour over salad, toss. Add Turmeric Tofu and enjoy!

summer salad with turmeric tofu5

Happy 4th!
May your holiday be safe.
May we all celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of true and enduring happiness
with the nourishing knowing that in our heart of hearts, we are one.

coronado4thofjuly

Namaste! 

Healing Foods: Keeping Cancer at Bay & Warrior Pose Giveaway

Bhava_0211Did I ever tell you that my husband had cancer?

You will already know that, of course, if you follow his Sacred Practices blog, if you take Yoga with us, or if you’ve read his new book, Warrior Pose.

I didn’t know Bhava when he had the cancer. We met one year after his recovery. When we met, I fell head over heels, swoosh, in love.

Every day since, that love is affirmed, strengthened, deepened. I am grateful for a decade now of oceanic bliss, and a vibrant aliveness that grows and expands, even with another birthday just celebrated and time flowing by.

It could be said that this entire site is something of a paean to that love, exemplifying one aspect of a shared life: the foods we love, and the way we love them. Everything that shows up here was made first, lovingly, for him, and sometimes by him, or with him.

So I thought, in honor of his book, his recent birthday, his vibrant aliveness, and the healing that is in Mother Nature’s foods, I’d write a little about our food habits and what we do, as often as we can, to keep the cancer far, far away. It’s a good practice for all of us. I invite you to share it with anyone who could use the guidance and Bhava’s inspiration.

8 Healthy Food Habits to Keep Cancer Away

#foods that fight cancer

1. Eat Fresh

You want high energy? Eat high energy foods. Eat foods that “eat the sun,” foods that are locally grown, recently picked, farm to table, lightly cooked or raw.

Bhava and I eat something raw daily. How much depends on the season. But in every season, the food you eat should be as alive as possible. Simply put, make it fresh.

2. Eat Organic

If you have cancer, EVERYTHING YOU EAT has to be organic. No toxins. No microwave. No exceptions.

3. Eat Vegetables

Artichokes Fight CancerIf Mother Earth loves you and food is her way of showing you, vegetables are her super heroes. They have the power to save you, even from your worst habits!

Did you know, as an example, that apart from being startlingly beautiful, artichokes have three unique cancer-dissolving molecules? Try adding a handful of artichoke hearts to your meals, or enjoy this vegan spinach artichoke dip for a healthy snack.

We eat vegetables of every color, shape and size every day, and we eat them chopped, juiced, blended, raw, steamed, lightly sautéed, or baked. We are not shy when it comes to vegetables, nor should you be. Be bold. Try every kind, every which way. Let it be an adventure. Ask your local grower for tips on preparing vegetables you are not familiar with. Allow a relationship to blossom.

4. Eat Brassicas

There is a saying that “Cancer hates cabbage.” In fact, cancer hates the entire cabbage family, called the Brassicas, whose kin include broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts, mustard greens, and watercress.

Numerous scientific studies are finding that Brassicas help fight cancer due to their relatively high content of glucosinolates, which have shown anticarcinogenic properties. In our house, our daily cornucopia of vegetables will always include broccoli, cauliflower, kale or collards. We also enjoy watercress and mustard greens in the Spring.

5. Eat (Blue) Green

#GreenSmoothie

Power up your vegetable nutrition by treating yourself to a daily dose of algae. My favorite is spirulina, a fresh water, blue-green algae similar in makeup to the sea vegetables of Japanese cuisine: dulse, kelp, nori, kombu, arame, wakame, and chlorella.

We make a morning fresh pressed Juice or Smoothie four to five days a week, always with a heaping spoonful of spirulina, sometimes with chlorella too, or with the VitaMineralGreens blend of land and sea greens because they give us sample jars every time we go to BhaktiFest, and because it is true quality.

Detoxifying, rejuvenating, immune supporting and liver loving, blue green algaes are a must. Be sure to source well : clean, non-toxic, organically cultivated.

6. Eat Berries

The antioxidants in berries help fight cancers. Bhava has blueberries and strawberries with every breakfast, and I always toss a handful into our Smoothies. Lately, my favorite berry for a Smoothie is the Himalayan Goji. For a sweet treat, add blueberries, raspberries and Goji berries to a Fig Smoothie.

NaturalNews.com
NaturalNews.com

 7.  Eat Turmeric

Oh Turmeric, how do I love thee? Let me count thy ways….

The most researched spice in the world today, turmeric is revered for its cancer-fighting, tumor-reducing potency.

I believe so fervently in turmeric that once, a few years ago, when there was a false suspicion that Bhava’s cancer had returned, a voice inside me silently shouted, “But that’s impossible. Not with all the turmeric he takes!” Turns out that voice was right.

Again, don’t be shy. Add it to everything ~ smoothies, sautés, home-made ghee, almond milk. If you are overly generous, its astringent aftertaste will overpower. But with measure, it goes with anything.

8. Eat, Don’t Eat

Occasional Fasting is good for you. It gives your digestive system a rest, promoting proper metabolism, deep tissue cleanse and proper elimination.  It’s a bit like tidying up your room weekly, or taking the garbage out. Once in a while, we just need to do it. My husband called this his Organic Chemotherapy: Regular 24-hour fasts were central to his healing.

Start by skipping dinner on Mondays. Once you feel comfortable with that, consider skipping breakfast on Tuesday. By lunchtime you will have completed a 24-hour fast. Or, simply reduce your portions. Eat less. Give your body a chance to catch up, a pause to heal.

allium-bulbs
In the vegetable family, Alliums – onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives – are also widely known for their anti-carcinogenic properties.

I like to focus on the positive. When you choose to eat as nature intended, you enjoy rich flavors, colors, aromas, textures, and an aliveness that excites. But since we are talking about cancer, a life-threatening disease, it is important not to mince words. Here is what not to eat: red meat, pork and poultry, dairy, sugar, processed foods. We know they feed cancer. Best to avoid altogether.

Forever? Maybe not. But until you are recovered, absolutely. A whole food, plant-based diet is essential if you want to reverse chronic disease.

yellow1

If you need convincing, read the science… Or dive into Warrior Pose, my husband’s true story of overcoming the worst odds: a broken back, a broken spirit, and suddenly “terminal” cancer. I have three copies of this highly acclaimed book to giveaway. Just comment below and you will be added to the drawing. We draw randomly and anonymously, and will pick names from the proverbial hat on Tuesday. Please leave an email address or a way to contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be made public. We love and respect you too much for that.

Bhava Ram Heals #Cancer

Wishing you golden health, vibrant aliveness, deep love, and the
clarity to remember: You matter. Live accordingly.

Namaste ! 

~

Congratulation to Warrior Pose book winners Chris, Emma and Anne. We wish all of you could have won, but it is available at Amazon for a bit less than retail, and at libraries across the country.

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