The Secret Bedtime Drink For People Who Need Better Sleep

In a world where more people are turning to Ambien, benzos, Nyquil and Melatonin, a whole food solution for sleep and health may not be the first choice.  As a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner, whole foods and natural options are my go-to’s.  If a good night’s sleep is a challenge for you, join me and learn about the secret bedtime drink for people who need better sleep.

 

Turmeric is one of the most researched plants on the planet. Over 8000 scientific studies explore and confirm turmeric’s medicinal properties for everything from depression and diabetes, to inflammation and blood pressure regulation, to liver detoxification and immune system support! 

 

This is an ingredient that you definitely want to have on hand. The good news: turmeric is affordable and available, has a neutral taste and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine.  Hint: it’s the star of our bedtime elixir recipe!

 

Traditionally, turmeric is used in teas, curries, broths and herbal supplements. Those are great ways to get turmeric into play and as a healthy foodie, you are probably familiar with adding turmeric to a meal. 

 

Here’s my truth:

I’ve had a relationship with turmeric for years. It’s been in my soups and stews, tossed in with my potatoes and pasta sauces and even creatively added into my morning smoothies. As a student of Ayurveda, I learned that daily use of turmeric could have a profoundly positive impact on my health… so we’ve been in a hot little relationship ever since!  

 

Turmeric tea sipped throughout the day is a go-to if I’m feeling bloated or at all inflamed; I simply slice a piece of turmeric root and a piece of ginger, grate them and add them to a pot with water — simmer, steep and sip. 

 

But overall, incorporating turmeric into my nighttime routine has been magical. Here’s the thing I especially want you to try because you deserve something magical, too!  

 

Turmeric And Coconut Milk Bedtime Elixir

Servings: 4

Turmeric-infused coconut milk is delicious and warming. Try this ancient elixir before bed to improve digestion, calm the nervous system and prepare for restful sleep. Best results will be seen over time as the ingredients in the elixir work to repair and replenish your body.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tsp powdered turmeric or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh turmeric 
  • 2 tsp powdered ginger or 2 tbsp peeled, fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, raw honey OR a squirt of liquid stevia
  • 12 peppercorns, gently crushed

Directions:

  • Combine everything except the coconut oil into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. 
  • Let the mixture bubble gently for about 5 minutes, then shut off the heat.  
  • After about 5 minutes of cooling, strain the mixture through a few layers of cheesecloth or a very fine strainer if you prefer a smoother texture.
  • Stir in the coconut oil.
  • Taste and add maple syrup, honey or stevia if desired! 

 

The Amazing Benefits and WHY You Should Consider This Turmeric Coconut Bedtime Elixir:

  • Coconut Milk And Coconut Oil – The fiber and fat content of coconut are what help coax sound sleep by how each support balanced blood sugar.
  • Ginger Natural anti-inflammatory that can help relieve symptoms of arthritis, bursitis and other musculoskeletal issues; particularly calming for the digestive tract. For sleep, it’s the melatonin present in ginger that seals the deal!
  • NutmegActs as a natural relaxant in small doses.
  • Black PepperThe piperine in black pepper enhances the absorption of turmeric. It also contains essential nutrients, including manganese, iron and vitamin K and is commonly used to calm digestive issues.

 

Bonus Tip –

Some golden milk recipes include cinnamon. As a Functional Nutritionist, I encourage you to skip cinnamon at bedtime. Why? Because cinnamon is more of a stimulant. Traditional aromatherapy uses cassia and cinnamon oil to promote alertness and while the scent is warm and comforting, the actual spice helps light up your digestive fire. So, save cinnamon for the morning cup!

 

Sources:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03511/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Golden-Milk.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

Everything You Need to Know About Turmeric Tea

Before I tell you everything you need to know about turmeric tea, I need to share a bit about turmeric itself.

Turmeric is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia.  It is in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family.  The turmeric root has been used as an herbal ally for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

78 percent of the global supply of turmeric comes from India. While turmeric powder, teas and supplements are available in health stores or online, you can also buy turmeric root in most grocery stores (and you can even grow it at home!).

In this article, we look at some of the health benefits. I’m also going to share everything you need to know about turmeric tea!  Why turmeric tea?  Let’s find out…

What is Turmeric Tea and Why Drink It?

Turmeric tea is made by simmering grated turmeric or turmeric powder in water. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, is fat soluble.  This is why a little ghee or coconut milk is needed.  To unlock the potential of the curcumin and improve bioavailability, we pair turmeric with a healthy fat.

There is no specific recommendation for daily intake of turmeric. Studies suggest 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric powder, three times daily, or 1 to 3 grams of grated fresh turmeric root is safe.  Your trusted practitioner can help determine a good amount.  Until then, a mug of turmeric tea daily can be an easy way to add a little turmeric goodness into your life.

Making Turmeric Tea

Turmeric tea can be prepared using fresh or dried turmeric root. Here is my easy recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric root OR 1 teaspoon dried, ground turmeric
  • 4 cups water
  • coconut milk

Add the turmeric to the water in a small saucepan.  Stir to combine.  Set the pan on low heat on your stove and bring it to a simmer.  You want small bubbles, but not boiling.  Simmer for 10 minutes and shut off the heat.  Allow the tea to steep for another 10 minutes before straining.  Pour into a cup with a splash of full fat coconut milk or a little coconut oil or ghee to improve absorption (because curcumin needs fat!)

Variations:

  • Add a little raw honey or a few drops of stevia or monk fruit, to sweeten the tea. Raw honey adds to the anti-microbial properties.
  • Add crushed black pepper to the turmeric and water before simmering.  Black pepper contains piperine, which also helps curcumin absorption.
  • Add sliced or grated fresh ginger with the turmeric for a warming, spicy beverage.
  • Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

Some Benefits of Turmeric

A July 2017 review in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine reported that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, can help in treating chronic conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis (other autoimmune arthritis conditions likely too),  Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.  The review also found that turmeric may also help protect from cancers like lung, colon, skin cancers, stomach and breast cancer.  And, curcumin looks promising for treating asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

  • Curcumin has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties; all are known to improve immune function.
  • Curcumin helps reduce pain and inflammation.

Turmeric is a traditional Ayurvedic and TCM remedy for many digestive conditions.  Several studies have found that curcumin reduces pain associated with IBS and improve the quality of life of those people with the condition.

For people with transit time issues, it is possible that turmeric tea can help.  A 2012 study in rats found that curcumin helped with speed gastric emptying (the time it takes for food to empty from the stomach to the small intestine). This may be beneficial for gastroparesis.

Who is this NOT good for?

Believe it or not, turmeric is not a good choice for everyone.

The National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network states no adverse effects are expected at doses of up to 8,000 milligrams per day.

Although turmeric is considered safe and non-toxic as a food, supplement and topical, there are studies that show turmeric can cause gastrointestinal issues in some people. High doses or long term use can cause stomach problems, according to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Because turmeric contains oxalates, people who need a low oxalate diet or who have a history of kidney stones may want to use turmeric more sparingly than others.

People who are anemic likely should not supplement with high doses of turmeric.  If you develop symptoms of anemia while taking or eating turmeric, consult with your doctor.  This study has more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6414192/ 

Use of supplemental turmeric is contraindicated for people who are taking medications including:

  • anticoagulants,
  • antiplatelet meds,
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

If you have stomach issues or take any drugs of these types or if you are unsure, talk to your doctor. These warnings only apply to the supplemental form of turmeric. Turmeric is safe to use in its natural whole food form in cooking or in skin preparations unless you are allergic!

 

A Couple More Things You Should Know

Turmeric is a dark yellow-orange colored root.

  • When you work with the fresh root, your fingers and cutting board may be temporarily stained.
  • Teeth staining may also occur, but swishing with water or brushing normally should remove it immediately.
  • If you have a temporary crown or plastic aligners, turmeric may stain permanently.
  • Turmeric makes a great yellow dye for fabric!

Now you know about turmeric, where it grows, what benefits it offers, how to make it into a delicious tea and how to figure out if it’s a good choice for you!

If you decide to make turmeric a regular part of your diet, consider using a food mood poop journal to document your experience and help yourself assess your body’s response.

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

The better your kitchen is stocked, the more choices you will have at dinnertime. Here is a list of 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Most are shelf-stable, but a few require refrigeration.

10 Things to Keep in Your Pantry if You Want to Make Healthy Meals Fast

  1. Canned or aseptic pack beans: versatile and convenient. Beans like chickpeas, kidney, cannellini and black beans add protein and nutrients to salads, pastas, quinoa or rice dishes and soups. Puree them to make dressings, sauces, and dips. For veggie burgers, mix with cooked rice or quinoa, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, or nuts.  Mash, shape and bake until crisp on the edges.  The recipe here is one of my favorites – if you try it, post a picture to Facebook or Instagram and tag me!
  2. Bottled/Jarred pasta sauce: great for a quick and easy pasta meal (avoid hidden sugar by reading labels!) To make sauces taste fresh, sauté minced garlic in olive oil, add the sauce and simmer. Season with dried herbs like cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. Top with fresh basil.  A splash of wine can deepen flavor further.
  3. Quick-cooking grains and pastas: rice noodles, kelp noodles, konjac noodles, quinoa, pre-cooked brown rice, chickpea pasta, soba (buckwheat) noodles. Toss with olive oil or sauce.  Cold noodle salads with peanut sauce, sliced veggies, and torn basil.  Add to broth with a baby spinach for a quick soup.
  4. Oats: Blend oats with water to make creamy oat milk.  Mix with an equal amount of water before bed and you will have breakfast ready to go. Roll oats with nut butter and hemp seeds to form snack balls.
  5. Cooked polenta: available in a log shape that you can open and slice. Great topped with marinara sauce, chili or sautéed greens and veggies.  Polenta can be cut into crouton shapes, baked until crispy and used as a crunchy topper for salads and soups!
  6. Hemp hearts: Neutral, almost nutty tasting plant protein with healthy omega-3 fats and micronutrients. Blend with water for hemp milk or a smoothie base.  Make dips and dressings by blending with a little water until smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs for a variety of flavors!  Sprinkle on salads.  Mix with herbs and sprinkle on pasta for a cheese alternative.
  7. Boxed coconut milk: I love boxed coconut milk for a couple of reasons.  First, it is easy to separate the coconut cream from the coconut water.  Coconut cream makes a quick dessert topping sweetened with a little stevia or maple syrup.  Make a yogurt substitute by mixing coconut cream with a squeeze of lemon juice and the contents of a probiotic capsule.  The versatility does not stop there.  Coconut milk can be blended with any fruit you have on hand to make a simple smoothie.  It is a great addition to a lemony broth for noodles; just add a sprinkle of chili pepper for a Thai inspired noodle dish!  Add curry powder and a bit of plain tomato sauce for a delightful curry sauce that you will want to lick off the spoon! (The brand I linked is my favorite – no additives or preservatives.)
  8. Coconut wraps: A shelf-stable pantry alternative to tortillas. Make burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas.  Use them for wrap sandwiches, layered casseroles, or super thin and crispy pizzas.
  9. Jarred artichoke hearts: These tender veggies have great flavor and can elevate a dish from familiar to fancy!  Drain, rinse, and eat.  Add them to pasta, salads, or toss with beans to make a simple meal.
  10. Nuts: Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, pecans, cashews… Add these to salads. Blend with beans for a creamy dip or dressing.  Chop fine and add to veggie burger mix for better texture.  Make nut milk.  Blend with broth and white beans for a creamy soup.  Chop and mix with minced mushrooms, onion, and taco seasoning for an easy raw taco “meat.”

 

Build Your Pantry

Take the stress out of mealtime.  Start building your pantry.  Adding shelf-stable items that are versatile can make mealtime a breeze.  It is also a comfort to have staples on hand that are not only nourishing but also tasty.  Start with these 10 things to keep in your pantry if you want to make healthy meals fast.  Check back for the next blog in this series that will share fridge and freezer basics.

 

Get More Great Tips AND Recipes

I love helping to take the stress out of mealtimes!  If you have not already, signup for my mailing list below to get exclusive recipes and more simple strategies like this list of pantry staples.  I want to help you use nutrition to support and improve your health.  We are in this together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Secrets to Creamy Coconut Milk Yogurt

Why am I sharing my 5 secrets to creamy coconut milk yogurt?  Don’t all plant-based foodies dream of creamy non-dairy yogurt?  I don’t know — but I can say that finding a delicious, healthy dairy free yogurt is something I’ve been engaged in for many years. Now, you name the brand and I’ve likely tried it! Unfortunately, great tasting dairy free yogurts usually have a couple of problems… they are:

  1. filled with sugar
  2. incredibly expensive and/or
  3. hard to find

Making delicious, nutritious DIY dairy-free yogurt tested my skills as a recipe developer! I made tasty yogurt that was super runny… thick yogurt that lacked taste or has a weird texture… and everything in between!  Nothing goes to waste, because — smoothies, lol!  Smoothies are a great place for DIY yogurt fails to be utilized!  But, I’m going to save you time and trials with my 6 secrets to fail proof creamy coconut milk yogurt (5 in the list below and a BONUS in the Notes!)

The Secrets to Success

  1. Use full fat coconut milk.  Aryo-D Coconut milk is what’s worked best for me.  You can purchase it on Amazon https://amzn.to/30z9glN 
  2. Use a starter that is designed for non-dairy milks.  I tried several, but settled on one which has a small amount of rice starch that acts as a thickening agent.  Non-dairy milks lack the protein structure to develop the same texture as dairy milk.  A small amount of thickening agent really helps, and while you can add this separately, I find it more efficient and cost effective to just buy an all in one starter.  If you have a corn allergy, please note that most non-dairy starters use corn starch as their thickener.  My favorite, and the one you can grab at this link on Amazon, uses rice instead of corn.  https://amzn.to/3cVKaQy
  3. Feed the bacteria!  A little maple syrup is just the right thing to feed your starter and help the bacteria flourish.  Dairy milk has an abundance of lactose that bacteria uses to fuel growth.  Non-dairy milks lack the simple sugars, so just a touch of maple syrup is key.  You may wonder about adding honey.  I advise against it simply because honey is beautifully antibacterial and actually prevents the culture from growing well.  If you like the flavor of honey, hold off and use it as a drizzle once your culture is ready!
  4. Be consistent.  Temperature fluctuations will stall the growth of your culture and in some cases, really make the process miss.  A crock pot, dehydrator, Instant Pot or yogurt maker will offer you a consistent, warm environment for the culture to develop!
  5. Be patient.  Unlike dairy yogurt that seems to set up in a few hours, non-dairy cultures require more time.  In my trials, I tested at 4 hour intervals and found that my preferred texture is developed at the 30-36 hour mark.  If you prefer a looser yogurt, try a spoon after 24 hours and see where things are at!

Sarah’s Creamy Coconut Yogurt Recipe

32oz Aryo d coconut milk or Aryo-D Coconut Cream

1 sachet Country Trading Co. Non-dairy starter OR 4 Bio Kult probiotic caps (opened – you want the powder, not the capsule!)

1 Tablespoon maple syrup (the real stuff, not a sugar syrup maple flavored substitute)

  1. Whisk everything together and pour into 3 clean quart mason jars.
  2. Place these onto a trivet in your instant pot.
  3. Cover and hit the button for your yogurt setting; use the plus button to adjust the incubation time.
  4. You need at least 8 hours but can go 24-36 hours for thicker yogurt!
  5. After incubating, remove your jars. Cover them and place them in the fridge.

Your non-dairy yogurt will get thicker by the day.

 

NOTES

  • The Aryo-D coconut cream makes a naturally thicker and creamier end product and does fine with Bio Kult instead of the non-dairy starter.  If you prefer to make your yogurt with any added thickener, this is definitely the way to go!  Also, Bio Kult capsules are economical and can be used as your daily probiotic.
  • For Greek style yogurt, I’ve got one final secret for you… When you’re whisking in your starter or probiotic powder, also mix in 1/3 cup Laird Superfood Creamer powder!  I have the best results when I blend 1 cup coconut milk with the creamer in my Vitamix and then whisk that back into the rest of the coconut milk.  The creamer is powdered coconut milk and, just like those dairy recipes that call for powdered milk to make them thicker, we’re calling on coconut milk powder to work a little more magic here.

These Two Sexy Low-Sugar Smoothies Are Your New Secret Weapon

Low Sugar Smoothie Ideas  

Smoothies are a filling and nutrient-dense, but I can’t tell you how many of my clients come in wondering why their weight loss has stalled or why they are breaking out when everything seems to be on point… smoothies included.

The problem with many smoothies is that they are loaded with high glycemic fruits which spike blood sugar and can trigger hormone imbalance and a host of other health issues.

Don’t ditch your blender just yet, though!

Healthy smoothies are not only possible, but they’re easy and delicious! 

The keys to making smoothies that will be your new secret weapon on the journey to health:

  1. Take a break from sugar-laden fruits like bananas, mango, and papaya.
  2. Opt for fiber, fat, and protein from flaxseeds, hemp seeds, dark leafy greens, and avocados.  Believe it or not, cauliflower is another great substitute for banana when it comes to creaminess and neutral flavor!

Your body will get the nutrients it needs to remove toxins, boost weight loss, and help to strengthen your immune system, minus the blood sugar spike from traditional smoothie recipes.  

I love drinking a green smoothie first thing in the morning to get my day started.

The Green Magic Smoothie (see below) is my favorite energy booster.  If you’re struggling with extra stress, try the additional cacao or maca for magnesium and minerals known to help keep stress levels in check. 

Green Magic Smoothie  

  • 1 ½ cups dairy-free milk or water 
  • 2 cups baby spinach 
  • ½ avocado 
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
  • 2 Tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder or 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)

  

Wellness 101 Smoothie  

  • 1 ½ cups dairy-free milk or water 
  • 2 cups baby spinach 
  • ½ avocado 
  • ½ orange, peeled 
  • 2 Tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds 
  • Dash of cinnamon 

For both smoothies, simply add all ingredients to your high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add ice if you prefer a colder drink.  Do try to drink your smoothie right away as these are best fresh. 

Tip: If 2 cups of spinach grosses you out, start with 1/2 cup and work your way up.  Baby stepping is a-ok when it comes to shifting into healthier habits!

 

Your Action Steps:

  1. Comment below and share your favorite low-glycemic smoothie combo.
  2. Post a pic of your secret-weapon smoothie on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @yourholistichealthcoach and hashtag #smoothieswsarah 
  3. Join me over on Facebook and on Instagram (Like and Follow so you don’t miss a thing!)
  4. Check out my new partnership with Soul Path Wellness — we are offering off a FREE 7-Day Sugar Challenge October 20-26. Don’t miss out on this goodness — trust me!  Get all the details here! 

 

Cheers,

Sarah

 

Greens with Creamy Cashew Herb Dressing


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Gorgeous Greek Salad with Creamy Cashew Herb Dressing
Greens, roasted veggies, fresh heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions with a creamy cashew dressing studded with herbs.
greens with creamy herb cashew dressing
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Keyword creamy
Prep Time 5 minutes
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Servings
Ingredients
Keyword creamy
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0
Passive Time 0
Servings
Ingredients
greens with creamy herb cashew dressing
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Put greens and veggies into a bowl. Soak the cashews in 1 cup of cool water for 15 minutes, drain and then add to a blender with 1/2 cup of the water and the juice of 1 lemon. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add more water to thin if preferred. Scrape the dressing out of the blender and into a bowl using a spatula or spoon. Stir in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste. The dressing will become more flavorful in about an hour but can be used right away. Leftovers may be stored, refrigerated for up to 1 week. To serve, top your salad with some dressing and dig in!
Recipe Notes

Swap the roasted beets for any roasted veg you have in the fridge.
If nut allergies are an issue, swap raw sunflower seeds for the cashews and enjoy a creamy nut-free dressing that you'll want to lick off the spoon!

Make it?
1. Post a pic on Instagram or Facebook
2. Tag me @yourholistichealthcoach
3. Hashtag it #yourholistichealthcoach
4. Comment below and share what you used in your salad creation!

If gas and bloating are a problem when you eat raw foods, check out this post to learn how you can use herbs to improve digestion and make gas a thing of the past!  Pick up my favorite organic fennel seeds here on Amazon so you always have this helpful herb on hand!

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