winter care

Cozy Tea Time

Mmmmm, there’s nothing like a warm, comforting cup of tea on a winter day.

Personally, I love chai. It’s my coffee (since I don’t like coffee).

And chai spices have their medicinal benefits. Fennel, cardamom and coriander are great for digestion and black pepper and ginger are fabulous for kicking on a little fire.

I’ve been feeling a little daring lately (yes, changing my tea is about as daring as it gets right now) and decided to mix things up. If you’re down for a tea-sized adventure, here’s a version I’ve been loving. I made a cup for a friend recently and she said it was like drinking a cup of comfort.

Let me know what you think!

Tulsi Astragalus Rose Tea - aka A Cup of Comfort

Tulsi, otherwise known as Holy Basil, is an adaptogen used in Ayurvedic medicine. It supports the body against stress and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Tulsi also used as a treatment for diabetes and asthma. And it’s an herb of wonderful spiritual lore and significance.

Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herb used for all things immune boosting, like colds and ailments, as well as to fend off heart disease and diabetes.

Rose, oh rose. In addition to being sweet and delicate, rose is powerful medicine. Rose has been used for centuries to heal many diseases and ailments. Rose tea aids digestion and tummy trouble, can relieve menstrual cramps, reduce stress, boost the immune system, help with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease and relieve urinary tract infections. Rose is also the herb/oil of beautification and is great for hair and skin.

rose tea

You can get loose herbs at your local natural foods store or order online from a reputable retailer like Mountain Rose Herbs.

How to make

tulsi tea

1 tsp tulsi
1 tsp astragalus
1 tsp dried rose
non-dairy milk
maple syrup
sprinkle of cinnamon

(Start with equal parts of the loose tea, then adapt according to your taste.)

Pour boiling water over herbs in a tea press or teapot and let steep for 10-15 minutes.

Transfer tea to small saucepan and add equal parts non dairy milk (oat milk seems to be having a moment).

Warm to your desired temperature.

Pour into mug and add maple syrup to taste.

Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.



bad news for smoothies

Smoothies in the news

A few years ago there were different versions of a popular post going around called Why Your Smoothie is Making You Fat.

The articles all talked about how smoothies are generally larger than we plan, more calories than we know, full of sugar and digest quickly, leaving us hungry.

Those are all good considerations about your smoothie. But I'm talking about ditching the smoothie for another reason.

Put down that smoothie

At least for now.

Wintertime in Ayurveda is known as Kapha season. There are three doshas, or functional energies in nature, each a combination of the elements. Kapha is predominated by the earth and water elements.

As such, characteristics of kapha season are cold, increased moisture (rain for us here in California), cloud-covered days, and a slow, heavy feeling.

The guiding principle in Ayurveda is Like Increases Like and Opposites Balance.

So just like in the heat of summer it wouldn't make sense to eat a spicy meal and take a run at 3 pm, we want to balance the qualities of winter rather than exacerbate them.

If the qualities of kapha are heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, dense, soft, stable and cloudy (think of the qualities or characteristics of wet earth or soft mud), in general, we don't need to add more of those things with our food.

This is why your smoothie is not the best choice in winter: it is cold, heavy, dense and wet. While it may contain great nutrients, the body has a harder time digesting all those kaphaqualities in kapha season.

Frustratingly, you can end up bloated, feeling heavy and lethargic or even experience weight gain from smoothies in winter.

kapha conditions + kapha food = kapha symptoms + creates more kapha

It's not that kapha is bad -- in Ayurveda, it embodies the energies of love and compassion. Kapha foods can be grounding and nourishing. This is a season that supports beautiful quiet and reflection. It's all about balance.

Seasonal Care

I find Ayurveda practical and helpful, which is why I love sharing it with others.

If you are interested in:

  • learning more about Ayurveda
  • managing the symptoms of winter (like colds and congestion, mucus, lethargy, weight gain, depression or mental heaviness)
  • having a mini spa day

...join me this Sunday for Seasonal Care :: Winter to Spring.

In the meantime, skip the smoothie and have some hot tea... or make some soup spiced with black pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom or cumin. Everything warm for winter!

Let me know how it goes!