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Is there anything more refreshing than early morning CCF tea sipping in oversized linen shirts with the first glimpse of warm sun rays on your face? July brings mornings when I love waking up before 6am to soak in these precious hours. We open up all the windows wide and start the fans blowing to cut the humidity that built up over night and absorb the early morning bird chirps that flood the neighborhood. During this month too...the oppressive southern humidity starts to settle in, the heat melts onto my skin and the garden is heavy with fresh, heavy, nutrient abundant veggies. Everything just feels thick and laden right now, and anything to take the edge off is most welcome. This time of year, my appetite really shifts into a scant reflection of what is once was six months ago, and I find myself craving more raw fresh fruits and veggies (which is not really great for my vata digestive tract on the regular...) and over the years I've found that the perfect solution to this predictable seasonal shift in digestion is incorporating CCF tea into my daily rotation. 

CCF Tea (Cumin, Coriander, Fennel), is a traditional Ayurvedic tea to support digestion and works as a tonic herbal support for any type of digestive seasonal shift. I find that when my diet shifts towards more raw foods (which are generally harder for the body to digest), my vata constitution has a harder time processing these foods. The combination of cumin, coriander and fennel naturally helps to ignite agni (digestive fire) to break down foods more efficiently and has the added benefit of enhancing absorption of nutrients as well. Coriander has the subtle ability to expel heat, cooling over heated (or excess) areas of the body. Cumin is a more warming and stimulating spice that aids in the absorption of nutrients and promotes detoxification, while fennel is a cooling, gentle carminative in the gut, helping to soothe and calm the lower digestive tract.  This seedy combination of herbs is relatively energetically neutral (not too cool, not too warm) and is truly ideal for almost all Ayurvedic constitutions to consume during any season. During the summer months, I often make a fresh batch in the morning and let it cool for about an hour before I pack it up in a mason jar and take it along with me for the day. 

This month, I've also been craving more minerals (and I've been so thirsty!!), so I've added in a bit of nettles to my CCF tea batch to quench my mineral lusting thirst and it works like a charm. Nettle is jam packed with nutrients and minerals including magnesium, potassium and tannins along with high amounts of zinc, calcium and chromium. It's a beautiful anti-inflammatory as well and I clearly love this herb like no other because it's been added to so many other monthly steeps I've made this year. 

When I prepare my CCF tea, I almost always use equal parts of all herbs, and I also keep a steady supply of Banyan Botanicals CCF Tea on hand as well. Nettle I'm harvesting locally if it's in season, and otherwise I keep lots on hand from  Mountain Rose Herbs who harvest their nettle domestically in the US. 

CCF Tea + Nettle

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried Nettle leaf
Serves 1

Mix all ingredients together and add to a tea steeper or to the bottom of a glass container. Cover with 2 cups hot water and let steep 12 minutes. Strain and sip before or after meals to promote healthy digestion, or strain and let cool to pack away with you for the day. 

 

This month, my April steep is a bit different. Although I love creating new blends every month, experimenting with flavors and energetics and emotionally supportive herbal allies...there are some points in time when I just want to feel tended to. I'll preface by saying that this is not a sponsored post, but rather a genuine outpouring of love for an herbal blend (and herbal company) that I absolutely love. Gaia has been a company that perpetually impresses and inspires me. They formulate the most amazingly therapeutic herbal products, and it's happened more than once over the years that one of their herbal formulas (either a tea blend, or a targeted capsule or an extract) came to the rescue for exactly what I needed. I often feel like sometimes their herbal blends were made just for me, which is kind of a magical thing considering how many thousands of people take their products. That was the case for their Golden Milk blended with my homemade almond milk. At first sip, I melted into the rich flavors and felt immediately taken care of. And it couldn't have come at a better time. At the end of March my grandmother passed away, and with her passing came an array of emotional and mental and physical experiences that I'm sure will persist for many months. But for the month of April, at least, Gaia's Golden milk will be my daily steep because of how warm and nourishing and well tended to it makes me feel. 

Gaia's Golden Milk is a therapeutic and time honored blend of turmeric, dates, ashwagandha, cardamom, vanilla bean & black pepper. When decocted in a warm milk, the medicinal components are extracted beautifully to create a creamy, nourishing, grounding and calming tea that's best sipped in a quiet space, curled up in a blanket with a pup at your feet and a box of old letters. Turmeric is incredibly therapeutic to so many organ systems (largely due to its curcuminoids content), but when taken as a whole in traditional fashion, turmeric is extremely restorative to the liver and functions as a profound anti-inflammatory and immune support. Turmeric is often difficult to absorb, but when combine with black pepper the absorption is enhanced. The added sweetness of dates, vanilla and cardamom make this Golden Milk blend so decadent it's like sipping an indulgent dessert (and the creamy richness of almond milk doesnt hurt either). And then there's wonderfully strong yet subtle ashwagandha, the magical adaptogenic yet calming herbal ally to support both the adrenal glands and central nervous system - making it ideal for both morning and evening consumption. 

I started sipping this the day I heard the news about my grandmother, and I never realized it before, but the taste and smell of turmeric remind me of her. When sipping this golden milk blend with my homemade almond milk every day since, I feel completely taken care of. Sort of like a time when you just want your mom and a teddy bear and all of your responsibilities to go away for a while. This is how golden milk makes me feel - even if it only lasts for one mug full of warmth. I drink it in the morning to begin my days, and also in the evening while Greg sips is nighttime herbal tea, and the calming restorative turmeric + ashwagandha combo helps me ease into peaceful and restorative sleeps. 

Now through April 19th, you can enter to win a years supply of Gaia's Golden Milk + a 1 year supply of Califia Farms Almond milk. 

Almond Milk + Golden Milk

For the Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds, soaked at least 6 hours
4 pitted dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
4 cups filtered water
For the Golden milk
1 serving Gaia Golden Milk
1 tsp organic ghee
8 ounces almond milk

Combine soaked almonds, dates, pink salt, vanilla and filtered water in a high speed blender (I use a vitamix) and blend very well until frothy and creamy, about 1 full minute. Strain through a nut milk bag or finely meshed cheese cloth. Store in a glass container for up to 5 days, shaking before each use. 

Golden Milk : pour 8 ounces of almond milk into a small pot and add 1 serving Gaia Golden milk and 1 tsp organic ghee. Heat slowly and stir often until very hot but not boiling. Remove from heat, pour in your favorite mug and sip consciously. 


 




Simple. Easy. Nourishing. I love a good salad. This time of year however, the last thing I want is a cold, raw salad. Summer yes. Autumn, not so much. I'm craving squashes and warming spices and greens and colorful roots and gourds. I'm basically craving the season. In Ayurvedic nutrition, your body (and your health) is never stagnant. Your diet should change as your body - and your external environment - changes. This means altering your diet with the flexibility of the season, and relying on the abundance of what is available to balance, nourish and align your physical body. As we ease into Autumn, the weather becomes more crisp, the chill in the air penetrates our sun kissed skin, and our digestive tract subtly reflects this change in the season by hinting at new cravings.

As we transition out of Summer, foods like soups, stews, casseroles, roasted roots and warming pots are what many of us crave, and for good reason. Balancing our internal environment with our external environment is a major way that our body remains in homeostasis and becomes neither too cool or too warm. In the heat of summer, cooling moist foods like milks and coconut and raw veggies help to balance that external sweltering heat. Likewise, in the autumn and winter, foods like ginger, roasted squashes and cooked beans and turmerics help to warm our body from the chill outdoors. This makes the transition easier, and allows for less strain on our organ systems during seasonal change. Also, NUTRIENTS. In all seasons, if you're lucky enough to have access to colorful fruits, vegetables and proteins, that means you have access to essential nutrients the body needs to perform basic physiological functions like liver detoxification, thyroid function, kidney filtration, cardiovascular function and overall cellular health. 

I'm not a huge fan of taking multi-vitamins, which is why when I create meals I like to keep them as nutrient dense as possible to make sure I'm getting what I need from the foods that naturally pack a powerful nutrient punch. Butternut squash, quinoa, greens, pomegranate, onions, sea salt - all in all, this has everything a multi vitamin will give you and then some. Quinoa alone is packed with minerals including zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, B-vitamins, fiber and protein. I add a whole grain like this to almost every dish I eat for the mineral content alone (and they taste amazing - added bonus). Butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C. Pomegranates are high in polyphenol antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. And greens - well, seasonal micro greens are magical little things that have all of the above AND give you that hint of bitter flavor that's so supportive of overall digestion AND liver function. 

But let's get out of this tiny micro-view of food and step back to the big picture. You don't have to know the mineral and nutrient value of every single food you eat to put a simple, nourishing meal together. Keep it seasonal, keep it colorful and you've pretty much got it. That's what I did with my Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl. With 8 ingredients, 5 colors and 1 hour, I'll have this all week, and all week it's going to be chilly, so this will be an addition to breakfast AND lunch if my little Vata body is feeling the chill....which it always does. 









Optional: add your favorite dressing to this hearty savory salad, as I like to add some Flaming Elixir to mine, with a dash or olive oil and sea salt!

Savory Autumn Nourish Bowl

2 small Butternut Squashes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried Sage
1 tsp sea salt
1 Pomegranate
3 cups seasonal micro greens
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup soaked quinoa
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Peel and chop the butternut squash into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sage and salt and stir to coat well. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife can insert easily into the cubes. 

While the squash is cooking, combine the soaked quinoa with 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth and let simmer (covered) for 15 minutes. 

While the quinoa is simmering, chop and seed the pomegranate and place the seeds in a small bowl. 

Chop about 1/2 cup scallions and place in a small bowl. 

Once everything is prepared, in a large bowl, add the micro greens. Top with about 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 cup quinoa, pomegranate seeds, scallions and eat throughout the week. You will have leftover squash and quinoa to eat throughout the week to add to other meals. 

 


HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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