sunshine latte

turmeric latte sunshine inflammation

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 🙂

turmeric latte

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.

turmeric golden latte

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.

sunshine latte

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.


sickness + turmeric ginger latte

Turmeric ginger pepper immunity latte flu prevention

(For the turmeric latte recipe, scroll to the very end of the post 🙂 )

My daughter is sick for the 100th time since kindergarten started.  Kids are so germy when they are all together.

Happily, no one else has gotten sick + she has gotten a thousand times better just from herbs and natural remedies.  So, today, let’s talk about about my herbal medicine cabinet.

I don’t use conventional medicines for kids, they are most often unnecessary + very harsh to a little body who is not equipped to process such toxins.  Remember when they recalled cough and cold medicines for kids because they are dangerous and don’t even work?!  I go the herbal route and it has worked for us almost every time, excluding a MRSA infection (antibiotics do have their place).

For fevers, I don’t give fever reducing meds like ibuprofen unless the fever is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Children can safely have higher fevers than adults.  Fever is a natural defense your body utilizes to get rid of the virus/bacteria.

If you lower the fever, you are lowering the body’s ability to heal itself!  Lukewarm baths and cool washcloths for the head can help to comfort a child with a fever.  I’m not a doctor obviously, but my pediatrician agrees with me 100% on this.

Do not give cold liquids!  This is jolting for the body and it has to struggle to bring it back up to equilibrium.  Warm liquids encourage the removal and dislodging of mucus and congestion and are soothing for a sore throat.

Especially beneficial are herbal teas like chamomile, elderberry, slippery elm, and echinacea.  Traditional Medicinals brand teas has a great blend just for kids.  Stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil to coat a sore throat.  Also great: warm water with lemon juice added, and diluted warmed citrus or apple juices.

Support the body’s natural ability to heal with herbs!  I love the herbs for kids brand of tinctures, they have lots of different blends for different ailments.  The two I use the most are the echinacea +astralagus for deep immune support and the cherry bark blend for respiratory support.

If there is mucus, I always give marshmallow root.  It has mucilaginous qualities which help to remove mucus and break up congestion.  I buy it in capsules + empty 2  into hot liquid + stir it up.

For coughs and colds, I find Umcka syrup to be amazing.  It is a homeopathic syrup that is widely used in Europe to shorten the duration and severity of colds and it really works well.

Elderberry syrup is also wonderful for supporting the immune system and reducing the severity of illness.

As far as homeopathic medicines, I always keep belladonna (for high fevers, infections and inflammations) and pulsatilla (runny nose, mucus, clinging child) around.

Ear infections respond really well to warmed oil with garlic and mullein.  You can buy a ear oil blend in a little dropper bottle.  Just warm up the whole bottle by submerging it in hot water.  Test some oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.  Then have your child lay on their side and drop 5 drops of the warmed oil in each ear.  Sing or tell a story while you do this so that they will stay at least a minute on their side.  Do the other ear the same way too even if it doesn’t hurt.  HOWEVER if the ear is leaking pus/blood/liquid do NOT put anything in it, this means the eardrum has perforated.

If your child doesn’t want to eat, it’s OK!  Sick animals do not eat.  This is because digestion takes LOTS of energy.  Energy going towards digestion=energy taken away from healing and fighting sickness.  Give foods that are easy to digest with high water content, like juicy fruits (citrus, pineapple, grapes, mango) white rice, warmed broth and steamed broccoli.  Absolutely do not give your child dairy or wheat when they are sick.  These foods produce mucus in the body, adding to the mucus that is already there when they are sick, and are generally hard to digest and irritating to the digestive tract.

Essential oils are another great tool to have.

eucualyptus: breaks up congestion, good to dilute and rub on chest and to put in a diffuser and or humidifier, or in the bath.

peppermint: relieves headache.  Dilute and rub on temples, jaw, forehead to relieve pain.

Clove and cinnamon oils: are potent anti virals, dilute and rub on the bottoms of feet to fight and prevent illness.

lavender: very calming.  Great for massage or in the bath to calm an irritated or sad child.

And lastly, to ensure no one else gets sick, up your intake of immunity boosting foods…mushrooms, greens, vitamin c rich foods, lemons, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc.  If you feel like you are getting sick my favorite remedy is to blend lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and honey all together and drink it.  It really works!  Also, this turmeric-ginger latte is a delicious favorite.  Here’s the recipe:

Turmeric ginger immunity latte

2c plant milk (almond, hemp, coconut, whatever)

A few quarter sized slices of ginger

1t ground turmeric

1/8t fresh ground black pepper (this increases the turmeric’s bioavailability a lot)

honey/sweetener to taste

bring the milk and finger slices to boil in a small saucepan.  Let them simmer for 5 minutes, covered.  Fish out the ginger and add the turmeric, pepper, and sweetener.  Pour into a cup and enjoy!