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My Adaptogen Potion

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. It started with a simple google search “what is Ashwagandha?” The next thing I know, I’d fallen down the rabbit hole and had 6 adaptogens in my cart, I was sucked in eager to try everything. What started this new obsession?

It’s no secret, I am not a coffee person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell, I love the idea of coffee – the ritual of making it – but I do not have the palate for it. I only really started drinking coffee a few years ago, and I realized, I was only drinking it because I enjoy drinking the copious amounts of cream that I was putting in my cup. I LOVE dairy, it just doesn’t love me back. So I went back to my old roots: tea.

I love tea for the same reason I enjoy the idea of coffee. I love the ritual of it: boiling the water, waiting for it to steep . . . I am not a major caffeine junky, but like everyone else, I need a little kick in the morning and my dandelion tea, while great for detoxing the kidneys and liver, isn’t going to add any pep to my step.

As a result, I have been searching for an alternative. Something that will provide health benefits, while increasing my energy and doesn’t tempt me to add heaps of sugar and 1/2 a cup of cream. After falling down a deep internet rabbit hole (hours and hours of research) I stumbled upon an article on adaptogenic herbs. The hook, line, and sinker was that they labeled it as a “potion”. I am such a sucker for magical marketing and once I read that, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

What are adaptogenic herbs? Ginseng, aloe vera, and rosemary are well-known adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances that work with your body and help it adapt to stress. They help you deal with stress and fatigue by working to regulate important hormones. Depending on the adaptogen they can:

  • Offer a boost for the immune system
  • Support for managing a healthy weight
  • Increased physical endurance and mental focus
  • Reduction in discomfort caused by poor health
  • Encouraging a balanced mood

How do they work?  The chemicals that adaptogens contain help to normalize adrenal fatigue. If you’ve taken a yoga class, then you’ve probably heard a lot about adrenal function. Adaptogens calm and nourish and support the adrenal glands and support the processes that are controlled by adrenals: from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure. It is important to keep in mind that, while you are going to get an immediate “boost”, the real benefits come from long-term, consistent use.

Think of it this way, stress is a hormonal reaction, if you are stressed out most of the day, it’s going to throw your hormones out of balance and that can affect everything from your digestive system, your mental well-being, and your energy levels. If you know you’re going to encounter stress throughout the day, arm yourself with some adaptogens to counter the stressors.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have found that drinking my morning “potion” does help provide a boost of energy and I handle things like traffic, and annoying emails in a much calmer, composed way.

These are the herbs I take on a daily basis:

  • Ashwagandha: Benefits brain health. Protects the brain from degeneration and improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.
  • Reishi: Helps the immune system, treats anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma
  • Cordyceps: Improves respiratory health, increases oxygen uptake, boosts heart health, detoxifies the body, slows the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.
  • Mucuna Puriens: Supports a healthy central & peripheral nervous system, helps the body’s ability to handle stress. Is a natural source of levodopa (L-dopa)*. Improves energy and endurance.

Keep in mind, these herbs do NOT taste good. They are earthy and can be strong, so it took some trial and error to find a recipe that I actually enjoyed drinking. Lucky for you, I will save you from the bitter taste tests and provide you my recipe:

My Adaptogen Potion (Or my chai recipe with Adaptogens)

  •  ½ teaspoon ashwagandha
  • ½ teaspoon cordyceps
  •  ½ teaspoon mucuna puriens
  • ½ teaspoon reishi
  • ½ teaspoon collagen
  • 2 servings of chai: I use Blue Lotus 
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla (vanilla powder works too)
  • 1 date, pitted
  • splash of almond milk

Boil some water, enough for a cup, add all of the above to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Drink slowly.

I am not a doctor, nor am I an herbalist or a nutritionist. Please speak with a doctor before incorporating any adaptogens into your diet. Most of my adaptogens are from Sun Potion, I got the reishi and collagen from Thrive Market.

There it is, do some research, find what you think will work for you. There are so many ways to consume adaptogens, you can take them in pill form, or add them to soups, you can make a matcha latte with them. The possibilities are endless. If you try my recipe above, let me know what you think!

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Atole – My Favorite Winter Breakfast


I know what you’re thinking, it’s May, why would I write about my favorite winter breakfast? On April 1st, my dad passed away while playing the congas. My father was a lot of things, an artist, a musician, a poet, but he was also a really great cook. My love for food has a lot do with him and his cooking. While he introduced me to so many dishes, it’s the memory of him making “atole” that I really hold dear. What’s atole? In the southern United States, you have grits. In Mexico and New Mexico, we have atole. It is usually made thick like a porridge or thin and drinkable. While you can make it using regular cornmeal, I grew up eating it made from blue cornmeal.

I am the youngest of 3 and by the time I was born, my mom was ready to go back to work, and my dad happily volunteered to be a stay-at-home dad. I was lucky to have this time with him. While I could go on for hours with memories and hilarious “dad-raising-daughters” mishaps (allowing me to dress myself – think polka dot shirts with contrasting striped pants and the ever present ” my dad did my hair” messy side ponytail) it is him making me atole that I will offer up today. After my sisters would go to school, my dad would make us breakfast and it was often our favorite – atole. No one else in the family liked it. My sisters were put off by the color, my mom didn’t like the flavor. My dad and I loved it, it was our thing. He would make it with milk, cinnamon and maple syrup (I would sneak extra sugar when he wasn’t looking).

As I grew up, he’d send me to school with a thermos of atole to drink until I graduated from high school. As time moves on, I find I am reflecting on “little” memories the most. The everyday moments we shared.

Every time I eat atole I will make a little extra for him.

So, here it is, an adaptation of my dad’s Atole:

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cups atole (blue corn meal)
2 cups milk (less for a thicker porridge style. I subbed almond milk because reg. milk doesn’t love me anymore)
Maple syrup and cinnamon to taste (you can sub honey, agave or sugar)

Bring your water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly whisk the Atole in, avoiding clumping.
Bring to a boil and add the cinnamon and syrup; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in milk as desired (no more than ½ cup for porridge style Atole).

You can flavor this however you want. Add vanilla? Sure! Make it savory? Why not!

 

My Favorite Granola Recipe 

Regardless of the season, this is one of my favorite, easy, go-to breakfasts. Not only is it comforting, but it’s so versatile – you can use any nuts you want, spice it to make it more season appropriate and add any fruit that you wish. I promise you, make this once and it will soon be a staple in your breakfast repertoire 😋.

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Combine the oats, pepitas, and chopped nuts

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Mix in the vanilla, maple syrup and melted coconut oil

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Top with salt and mix until combined. You have no idea how good this smells! Once it’s finished you can wait for it to cool or dig in when it’s warm and fresh from the oven.


I like to top mine with almond milk and pomegranates 😍

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Whole Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts ( I used Pecans)
2 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Large Pinch Fine Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you start to smell it.