Monday, February 4, 2013

Eat: Turmeric Milk, the perfect night time relaxant

Oh, turmeric, you and your majestic golden hues, how you warm my nights and allow me to fall peacefully asleep, dreaming of warm humid summer nights, candles, and sequinned baldaquins... too much detail?

I discovered turmeric milk thanks to my friend Kristen, who has been using it as a pre-bedtime sedative for quite some time. As someone who often has trouble sleeping, I was skeptical. As much as I love chamomile, lavender, and all the usual tricks, they haven't always worked for me. I've heard of the whole "drink a glass of warm milk before bed" idea but never tried it myself, thinking such a thing would be too heavy before bed. Yet, this new concoction won its way to my heart. Clever, turmeric, you.

Turmeric, the beautiful orange spice from India, is from the ginger family. (Go figure, I love ginger.) Ayuverda and TCM boast that turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and helps deal with internal and external infections. Doctors have more recently found that it might block enzymes that promote certain cancers. 

On a more traditional/spiritual plane, turmeric is said to increase ojas. Ojas loosely translates as "heartiness" or resilience, referring specifically to physical health. Ojas is one of the three key aspects of vitality in Ayurveda, along with tejas (the emotional level) and prana (the energetic level). Ojas is usually indicated by strong digestion and a healthy metabolism. Interestingly, I just learned that fertility is a very good sign of ojas because reproductive organs are nourished only after other tissues have been taken care of. As such, turmeric milk is often drunk to replenish ojas after sexual intercourse.

In short, drink turmeric for all your healthy body and bed-related needs, be it sleep or otherwise. 

Bedtime Turmeric 
This drink is truly wonderful and warming. The turmeric and spices are pleasantly spicy and rich (and flu fighting!). The honey is soothing and sweet. The milk of your choice is smooth and calming. Try having it about an hour before bed, to give yourself proper digestion time.

Yield: 1 serving
Prep time: 5-10 minutes

1/4-1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
1 C of you milk of choice (I use organic soy or almond)
1 tsp of raw honey (optional, or vegan-friendly sweetener)
1/4 tsp each of cinnamon and cardamom

1. Over-medium heat, warm up milk with turmeric powder and spices until warm. (Try to avoid bringing it to a boil to prevent damaging the spices.)
2. Pour into your favourite mug.
3. Add in a teaspoon of honey or less and enjoy!

(Alternatively, if you're lucky like me and you received a Breville milk frother for Christmas or have an equivalent device... you can just follow the machine's instructions and make the same recipe!)

Sweet dreams!