10 Sep 2018

ALMOND, CINNAMON + GINGER LATTE


I received a lot of interest in this recipe when I posted it on an Instagram story last week, so here ya go! The latte is delicious in its own right, but also works as aid to anxiety and PMS. This is a rich, grounding drink for slow mornings, cloudy afternoons, with a book, or a meditation. I find it to be a wonderful snack before or after yoga as well. You have tummy-friendly, blood sugar-lowering, heart-healthy spices including cinnamon and ginger, which are also both anti-fungal foods, and beneficial to brain health. Ginger helps with menstrual pains. Ashwagandha reduces anxiety with its adaptogenic power. There are cordyceps mushrooms in here too; don't worry though, the flavour is so mild you won't actually notice (in fact I think cordyceps is kind of sweet and caramel-y). More scientific research is needed for this fungus, but it's been utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries for promoting longevity, and helping with lung and kidney function. All these ingredients are anti-inflammatory and rich in anti-oxidants, which may help prevent or fight free radicals.

Content warning: I will now talk about my anxiety for a lil bit.

Anxiety has been showing up for me more intensely as summer winds down. (I love fall so it's not a weather thing. In fact, knowing a grey, cool season is coming lifts my mood more than dampens it.) In addition to heightened stress, my period is late (almost certainly because of stress; this happens several times a year) so I get to enjoy PMS that is lasting longer than I'd wish for. We all experience anxiety and stress to some degree, especially in these hectic, non-stop, work- and social media-filled lives many of us lead nowadays. However, since most things are spectrums and not binaries (ahem, lessons from your trans, genderfluid friend over here), some folks lean more towards being the proud owners of anxiety disorders, and not just good ole occasional anxiety. That's me.

My brain is baaasically in constant panic mode: a million nervous, irrational, worried thoughts racing through with no brakes to be found. Often the thoughts are so nagging that I become nearly delusional, genuinely believing stories I have invented in my mind about my relationships, work, future, past, identity, etc. I cannot enjoy being in public spaces because I cannot help but take note of every single person around me and ask a thousand questions to myself about who they are and if I am offending them or if they want to hurt me. I have trouble getting through a conversation without considering everything I might be saying or doing "wrong". Physically, my anxiety manifests in an upset stomach, tight throat, racing heart, headaches, loss of appetite (which is a real issue when you are trying to recover from disordered eating amiright), muscle soreness, shakiness, clenched jaw and tapping foot in my sleep, and last but not least: shingles (!?!)

Much of the time I can manage my anxiety with meditation, yoga, cycling, "forest bathing" (shinrin-yoku), spending time with friends, listening to music or podcasts, working, cooking and baking, journaling, drawing, and taking care of my plants. Unfortunately, these coping tools aren't working so hot these past few weeks, so I've resorted to watching The Office until the anxiety has diminished, then going to bed early and listening to podcasts with an eye mask on until I fall asleep. I still do my other coping techniques, however, since they do pass the time and make a difference. I have an entirely magical, privileged life surrounded with love, security, access, freedom and abundance. I could not imagine a more blessed situation for myself (except if my friends finally agreed to move to the woods with me). Yet, still, here I sit, exhausted by 5 PM because my body and brain have been in a steady, unending Race of Worry since I woke up this morning. (For folks who don't tend to experience long-term anxiety, please understand it is very tiring to the entire body, spirit and mind. Same goes for depression.) It's really overwhelming to Exist, period. In times like these, I just have to get through. Small tasks such as making a recipe like this, can help.

This drink is a sacred ceremony of bringing together ingredients that nourish and calm my body and mind, and sipping them into myself mindfully and thankfully. In the moments I create this drink, I can focus on a small and manageable objective, knowing it will help me feel [maybe a little] better. Sometimes a recipe like this doesn't do much, and sometimes it's the brightest part of my morning. I hope this blog post didn't sound like me complaining a bunch and then trying to solve my problems with a latte. But that's maybe a tiny bit what it is. Anyway. Love ya.

Xo,
em


ALMOND, CINNAMON + GINGER LATTE
Serves 1

1 cup warm water
1/4 cup almonds
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cordyceps mushroom powder
1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder, or more as desired
Pinch sea salt
Pinch nutmeg powder, as desired (optional)

Instructions: Blend all ingredients until very smooth. If you want, strain through a nut milk bag, or cheesecloth, or a fine sieve. Pour into your fave mug, sprinkle with extra cinnamon and enjoy!

Notes: You can make this in large batches and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Spice according to your own preferences. I like more ginger. If you'd like a lighter beverage, use more water.


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