I love coffee. The deep, rich smell of it satisfying your senses before you even take a sip, the scent infusing the whole house with its magic. The ritual of making it, the unctuous, bitter yet creamy taste rolling on your tongue. The buzzy vibration infusing your morning. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with coffee almost my whole life. I always had trouble waking up early and my mom would let me have some in the morning (italian blood, I guess) to get going. When I visited Italy at 16 I saw everyone drinking coffee, like a love story, having a tiny espresso with their cornetto, business men and children alike. It was romantic and I fell in love with the ritual.
As I’ve cleaned up my diet and lifestyle over time, I’ve become more sensitive to stimulating substances like coffee and alcohol. Or, more likely, I always was, but I wasn’t aware enough to see them since I was tuning out my body signals (I didn’t even realize I was pregnant with Carmela until 3 months in- that’s how out of touch my body and I had become, like perfect strangers, so close but so far away). Subsisting on mostly processed and animal foods, plus not cultivating my self awareness and growth, dulled my intuition here. Spurred on by illness, I went down a rabbit hole of refining my diet and diving deep into wellness. The buzz of coffee turned into a rollercoaster of moods, anxiety, irritability, stress, blood sugar, and inflammation. I literally felt inflammation in my joints soon after drinking it. I do indulge in it on occasion, but every time I do, I wonder why I did- the crash and unevenness is just not worth it for me. I know lots of people enjoy coffee with no problems though…and I am jealous 🙂
I’ve experimented with so many herbal replacements for coffee, my favorites being chicory or reishi mushroom based brews, matcha (although it makes me feel nauseated sometimes! not sure why) and tea (similar ritual and a gentler, creative buzz). Then I fell in love with turmeric, deeply. The golden color is sunshine in a cup. Especially on early or cloudy or gloomy mornings, a cup of turmeric latte is the best medicine to me.
Turmeric has a host of benefits: superb at reducing inflammation, anti-cancer (helps prevent initial DNA mutation, keeps tumors from growing, AND can even reprogram cancer cells to self destruct naturally. magic, right? read more HERE.) This rhizome is a daily staple for me. Living with rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric has been my best friend for years. If you live in a mild climate, you can probably grow your own turmeric if you have a little space for a larger pot or box planter.
I’ve never tried this with powdered turmeric, as the fresh root is plentifully available here and it tastes amazing. If you do use powdered, I recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more as you see fit, up to 1 teaspoon. Adjust the other ingredients to your liking to make your perfect brew.
2 tablespoons coconut butter (not oil!*) OR 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 inch piece, more or less, of fresh turmeric, sliced
2 soft, pitted Medjool dates OR 1 tbsp maple syrup OR 1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (don’t skip this! it works synergistically with the turmeric for best absorption)
optional add ins: pinch of cardamom, pinch of salt, slice of ginger, vanilla
Add all ingredients to a blender (if you don’t have a high speed blender it may be trickier to get it to blend totally smooth so be patient). Pour boiling water (or sometimes I do hot ginger tea in lieu of water) into your mug to measure how much water you’ll need. Fill it up, leaving about an inch of space to the rim. Pour hot water into blender and blend at high speed until very smooth and frothy. Pour into your mug and wash your blender right away and set in sun to eliminate any turmeric stains (thanks to all who told me to do this! works like a charm). mmmm enjoy and have an amazing morning (or afternoon!).
*coconut butter is dried coconut flesh, pureed into a butter, intact in all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber goodness of the whole food. coconut oil is purely the fat and has no nutritive value. Think of it like tahini vs sesame oil- both made from sesame, but totally different and the tahini is packed with nutrients which the oil has none of. See a tutorial for DIY coconut butter HERE.