Did you know that certain spices can actually warm you up from the inside? It sounds odd at first, but if you can think of a time you’ve had an insanely spicy food, you may remember that it made you feel hot, or in extreme cases, you may have even broken a little sweat. There are spices that help improve circulation too, which is part of keeping us warm. I bet you have an experience that relates to this concept as well. Have you ever eaten a spicy soup or dish that made you sniffle? That’s because these spices can open up your nasal passageway, which is one apparent result of improved circulation. You probably care more about keeping your toesies warm right now, and good circulation will help with that also. Aside from wanting to stay toasty when cold weather hits, consuming warming spices can help keep our bodies in balance when the climate changes. In Ayurveda, it is a common practice to shift your diet when the seasons change. A reason for this is to allow our bodies to be in tune with nature. Eating seasonally ensures that we are getting the best quality, minimally processed, closest-to-nature foods at a given time. It also is a way to provide our bodies with what is best for them to function optimally, which, in the winter, means foods that keep us warm. We crave denser, starchier foods, such as winter squash and sweet potatoes, which happen to be foods that are in season in the winter. We also may crave dense food like bread and cake because of this, so let’s reach for those root veggies instead! Long story short, everything goes hand in hand. The seasons change, certain foods grow better in certain seasons, and our bodies naturally crave the foods that are available during a current season as a way for our bodies to function optimally when our external environment changes. Ain’t life beautiful?
Aside from the savory, spicy flavor you may have in mind, there are some amazing, aromatic spices that go great with sweeter flavors. Anise and ginger are two examples that you can experiment with during the winter season, but the warming spices used in the CCC Latte are cinnamon, cardamom, and clove. Aside from the sweet, warm nature of cinnamon, it is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidizing, anti-microbial, and boosts immunity (perfect during allergy and cold season!). There are also studies showing strong evidence of it fighting cancer and detoxifying the liver. Cardamom and clove mix well with the flavor of cinnamon and share all of the same benefits. A delicious way to consume these spices and receive all of their special powers is with our CCC Latte (dairy-free, of course and with a caffeine-free variation). It tastes creamy, spicy, and sweet all at the same time and is so comforting.
~1/4 cup Coconut milk, almond milk, or coconut milk creamer (Califia Farms brand is great)
Dash of ground cinnamon
Dash of ground clove
Dash of ground cardamom
Choice of coffee, chai tea, or just do all steamed milk to go caffeine-free
Steam (or warm up) your choice of dairy-free milk or creamer
Pour into mug
Add cinnamon, clove, and cardamom
Pour your brewed coffee, steeped chai, or additional steamed milk
Sip, and feel the warmth.
*You can find these spices at most grocery stores in the spice section or in the bulk foods and spices aisle.