I’m someone who feels pretty mindful about my health. I eat a varied, not-too-processed plant-based diet, exercise, and try to keep my stress levels down with meditation and regular sleep. Nevertheless, I still often feel like I miss the benchmark of some sort of “vibrant health” that may or may not be an actual obtainable goal for human beings.
Our bodies often don’t behave exactly the way we would wish, and that’s okay. Wellness should be a daily process, not necessarily some idealized end goal – though it never hurts to keep working towards a healthier you. In my journey with wellness, I have a few unique challenges. I’ve struggled with intense seasonal allergies for most of my life that several times a year leave me clinging to boxes of tissues while my whole face becomes an itchy, weeping mess. I also have Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), an inherited blood vessel disorder, which causes a lifetime of nearly daily nosebleeds as well as potentially some other serious bleeding issues. Right now, I manage my nosebleeds by keeping the insides on my nostrils moisturized (yes, it sounds and definitely is weird, but it helps) and taking iron supplements whenever I am at the risk of anemia from blood loss. Allergies, though, with the associated inflammation and irritation from excessive sneezing, aggravate the issue intensely.
Recently, I was talking to Victor, the owner of The Metta Space, and he challenged me to commit to forty days (the time it takes to build a habit) to work on my health. My allergies are starting in again as we get into spring and that’s causing more frequent nosebleeds. I wanted something easy and accessible that wouldn’t be too time consuming to incorporate into my daily routine. Being long immersed in the yoga world, I often turn to Ayurveda, the classical healing science of India and sister science to Yoga, for wellness recommendations. According to Ayurveda, turmeric has the ability to “cure the whole person” and is particularly good at fighting inflammation in the body. What’s more, being a fan of Indian food, I already have a lot of it in my pantry – easy!
One of the simplest ways to get medicinal quantities of turmeric into the body is by drinking Golden Milk. This creamy golden concoction has been getting a lot of attention as of late, but it has, in fact, been a go to recipe for Kundalini yogis for decades. There is a ton of variety of Golden Milk recipes, but I’ve always been told to make a paste out of the turmeric first. This saves time in the long run because the paste lasts well in the refrigerator and the cooking process activates more of the healing properties of the turmeric.
Today will mark the beginning of forty days of golden milk. I’ll be drinking it every evening because mornings are usually a bit rushed for me. My intention is to reduce the number of nosebleeds and smoothly transition into the spring season without any major allergy attacks. Since turmeric is known for a wide range of benefits, I am open to see if I notice any other changes in my wellbeing.
Here’s a quick recipe I adapted for my constitution* (I tend to need more cooling foods so I’m using coconut oil and removing some of the spices that might be too heating for me):
Turmeric Paste Recipe
- ½ cup of turmeric powder
- ½ cup of coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (helps the body absorb the turmeric better)
- 2 teaspoons cardamom powder
- 1–1 ½ cups filtered water
- A pinch of natural mineral salt
- A clean glass jar (or jars) for storage
Mix the cardamom, salt, and pepper into a bowl and set it aside. Simmer the turmeric powder and 1 cup of water together in a saucepan on low-medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the turmeric has been thoroughly stirred in, add an additional ½ cup of water if desired. Keep stirring until the mixture has reached a paste-like consistency. This can take anywhere from 3–10 minutes. Simmer the mixture down and slowly stir in the other spices. Next, add the coconut oil and blend thoroughly.
While the paste is still warm and runny, pour it into the glass container (or containers), let cool, and refrigerate. The mixture will thicken as it cools. It may be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You may also add more or less water if you want a thicker or thinner consistency. The more water you add, the runnier the paste will be.
For Golden Milk:
Add 1-2 teaspoons of the paste to 1–2 cups of milk (your choice). In a small pot, gently heat the milk on low until warm (not hot). Add the turmeric paste, stirring until mixed completely. You can add sweetener, but I try to keep it simple.
*To learn more about Ayurveda and find recommendations for your specific constitution, I recommend Banyan Botanicals. They even offer an online quiz.