Morning Tonics 3 Ways
I am so excited to share all three of these recipes with you! I've been feeling the need to change up my morning ritual of sometimes-coffee, sometimes-green tea, so I've been working on these recipes for a few weeks now. This year is all about adding new things to my diet. It's not going to be about cutting things out or deprivation. For any craving or guilty pleasure you or I may have, let me assure you: there is a healthier, more nutritious and even more sustainable option that is just as satisfying.
#1: Matcha Plus
I love green tea. But there's actually a more nutrient dense option that I love even more, and that's matcha powder. Matcha is made from the leaves of green tea, but the harvesting and processing is quite different. Matcha contains much more of the amino acid L-theanine, a calming and serotonin inducing molecule, and more chlorophyll than green tea. Matcha is consumed by stirring the powder into boiled water instead of being steeped, therefore the whole leaf is consumed, giving it an antioxidant content of over 130 times that of green tea! *
So without further ado, here's how I've been consuming it lately:
Matcha Plus Tonic
1 tbsp matcha powder
1 tsp ashwagandha powder
2 tsp moringa powder
Local, raw, or manuka honey to taste
10 oz (or just over 1 cup) hot water
Let's start with the matcha. To make a good matcha tea, scoop 1 tbsp (or follow the amount on your matcha package) of matcha powder into a mason jar. Boil your water, and pour a small amount into the jar, enough to make a paste with the matcha powder. Whisk matcha until a smooth paste. Here's where you can get creative: I added ashwagandha powder and moringa powder, but you can leave it here and just add your water and honey. Still so packed with antioxidants and enough to get you going for the day! Ashwagandha adds a slight bitter taste, and moringa doesn't offer much of a taste. If you add any powders, you should do it now, while whisking, so the end result will be smooth. Then, add the rest of your hot water, and a tsp or so of honey to sweeten. Once I added all of my ingredients, I placed a lid on the mason jar and shook it slightly (be careful though, because the water is hot and steam wants to escape).
An adaptogen helpful to the adrenal glands which produce stress hormones. If stress is abundant in your life your adrenal glands may be working too hard to produce these hormones in response, and become fatigued. Adaptogen herbs address imbalances within the endocrine system and work to maintain homeostasis over time. Specifically, ashwagandha has been studied to decrease cortisol levels in a double-blind, placebo controlled study.* Over production of cortisol is linked to high blood pressure and excess fat storage around the organs. Adaptogens should be consumed on a regular basis to see these effects (it may be 2-3 months before you notice anything). Ashwagandha has a bitter taste on its own. Chinese medicine sees bitter herbs and plants as being cleansing and helpful in digestion.
A "superfood" high in iron & its co-factors for absorption, antioxidants and calcium.* A good addition to a morning tonic if you tend to be low in iron or have decreasing energy throughout the day. The leaves of the moringa plant are the most nutrient dense, so be sure to look for moringa leaf powder.
An alkalizing and very helpful addition to any morning ritual. The nutrients in the juice of lemon stimulates the liver and gall bladder to secrete bile which is a huge help to the digestion and assimilation of nutrients in the small intestine. The fibre in the pulp of lemon can draw out the release of insulin and keep blood sugar levels stable, so don't forget about the pulp!
A powerful digestive and GERD aid, stomach soother, and anti inflammatory. Ginger relieves pain the same way cayenne does, by affecting the pathways of pain receptors.* But it's also helpful in inflammation, offering a 1-2 punch to pain! Ginger also works well to remove toxins from the body, and helps clean the lymphatic system and improve circulation.
An incredibly anti inflammatory root thanks to one curcuminoid: curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to block specific molecules that turn on inflammatory markers in gene expression.* Along with this, Curcumin has powerful antioxidant properties, with the tendency to neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative damage but also help to increase the body’s own antioxidant potential.
#2: Turmeric & Ginger
For this one I stuck with turmeric's usual pairings: cinnamon and ginger. Those flavours work so well together and act as a synergistic immunity, inflammation and pain tonic. The trio is also very warming at the cellular level, so it's perfect for this time of year. A small amount of black pepper is simply for the absorption of curcumin into the blood stream, as it has been shown to increase absorption by 200x!*
1/4 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp honey to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
8 - 10 oz hot water
Get yourself a little strainer & a mason jar or use a blender: Add all ingredients except honey and either blend up to reduce the ginger pulp, or use the strainer to separate the juice from the pulp of the root. Add honey to taste, and shake up your mason jar or blend for about 1 minute. If you blend, be sure to release the steam from the top of the blender or pressure could build up while you blend! Pour into a mug and add honey to taste.
Used for centuries to prevent illness and shorten the duration of the common cold. Elderberry works to prevent disease by possessing immune enhancing nutrients such as vitamin C and flavanoids, and prevent influenza from infecting host cells.* It's also effective at reducing the duration of the common cold. They prevent the over production of mucous in the upper respiratory tract, which is often a lingering symptom in the common cold.
#3: Elderberry Tonic
THIS is my favourite tonic! This gets me out of bed excited for the day! If you didn't know, Flora released a new product this year: elderberry crystals. Here's the thing: they are delicious and have been studied successfully in regards to shortening the duration of colds and flus! Elderberry is in many syrups and cold and flu remedies but it's often coupled with honey or sugar. Elderberry crystals don't contain any sugar, they are simply dehydrated elderberries. This turned out so frothy and beautiful I felt like I was drinking a latte!
Frothy Elderberry "Latte"
4 heaping scoops of Flora's elderberry crystals
1/2 inch chopped ginger
1/4 cup (a handful) frozen or fresh blueberries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice with pulp
8-10 oz hot water
In a blender, add all of your ingredients. Don't be worried about chopping the ginger too much, and if you can, add the fruit of the lemon as well as the juice (straining out seeds). Let the steam release from the blender before blending, and blend for 1 minute, until the mixture becomes frothy. Pour into your mug and sip!
So there they are! Please let me know if you try any of these tonics or how your morning routine has changed this year so far!