A Yogi’s Drink: Turmeric, Apple Cider Vinegar Almond Milk

These days, I’m breaking a few patterns. For starters, I never start the day without my morning coffee. I usually practice a bit of intermittent fasting in the mornings, so I don’t eat breakfast — but that cuppa joe? That’s mandatory.

According to Ayurvedic tradition, we should eat foods that are sattvic to nourish the mind and remain in a balanced state. Some sattvic foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, pure fruit juices, nuts, seeds, milk, ghee etc. Common spices used in sattvic cooking are turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, fennel and cardamom.

I try to add superfoods like raw cacao and cinnamon into my daily coffee, but caffeine unfortunately, still falls in the rajasic foods category, which is said to overstimulate the mind.

One morning, I decided to abandon coffee and switch up my morning beverage into a sattvic one instead: this Turmeric Apple Cider Vinegar Almond Milk.

The ingredients like turmeric and apple cider vinegar can be pretty strong but the punchy flavors are softened and balanced out by almond milk. I always feel like my stomach isn’t quite ready to digest a full meal when I wake in the mornings, so this Turmeric Apple Cider Vinegar Almond Milk feels like a perfect drink that’s not too demanding on the digestive system and helps to awaken the body gently but powerfully.

It’s very much Ayurvedic-inspired but experimented in my own kitchen according to my personal preferences — feel free to make it your own!

Ingredients:

4 tbsp grated turmeric

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

200ml almond milk, heated up in a saucepan or frothed with a milk frother

A pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper

A pinch of ground cinnamon

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend on the highest speed until everything is combined. Strain into a glass and drink it hot immediately. I like to make extra and store it in the fridge for up to three days.

Morntime intentions

Confession: I’ve never been a morning sort of person.

If you’d told me that I would be waking up with the sunrise a few months ago, I’d look at you incredulously.

Since I started my ytt journey and incorporated pranayama practices and some chest-opening poses into my daily life, I found that I started to wake earlier in spite of my resentment for early mornings for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps it is my body’s subtle way of breaking the patterns of my sanchitta — I slowly find that early mornings are actually quite a wonderful and sacred time of the day. At the crack of dawn, the world is still and quiet. The momentary stillness allows for a sliver of precious time to slow down and look inward, focusing on thoughts or feelings you may have or setting the intent for a productive yet healthful day ahead.

The fact that you created time to bring attention inwards to yourself before dealing with the demands of the outside world can make you feel more grounded and inspired to take on the day.

The morning is a powerful time for setting goals and intentions, bringing awareness to what you want can give rise a sense of clarity within. Without them, we are swept up in the urgencies of other people’s intentions and life in general — and the last thing we want is to look back in life with regret.

As Master Ram explained in class, defining what intentions you want to set with measurable outcomes and specific time frames can help both your body and mind work in tandem to then help you achieve it. Perhaps due to its specificity, your subconscious comprehends and picks it up as well, helping it to materialise.

The morning is also an influential time to practice gratitude and take a moment to just feel with your senses — a wave of gratitude for all that you have. It could be simple things like the soft sheets you’ve woken up from, the cup of warm coffee you’re drinking, a smile from a loved one. Priming yourself with conscious gratitude can help you feel like you have the ability to tackle any challenges thrown your way and turn problems into possibilities.

Waking with the sunrise, practicing gratitude, doing a few sets of kapalabhati breathing and a few yoga poses are a few powerful, grounding morning rituals that I have come to work into my routine whenever I can. It’s helped me become more appreciative of everything and much less affected by daily challenges or annoyances.

What yoga taught me: mindful eating

Our modern society today runs at a fast pace and as a result of it, our breathing, sleeping, eating patterns have begun to suffer. Functioning at a fast pace all the time is definitely productive and good for the workplace, but it can cause harm to our bodies overtime.

This is particularly true when we eat. When we are stressed or upset when we eat, we can create imbalances in the body. Rushing through a meal or eating when stressed also restricts oxygen from entering our system and our bodies cannot digest the food we eat properly, much less absorb the nutrients from it. 

During these times when we are working from home, it’s easy to slip into a pattern where we continue ploughing through work while eating our lunch at the same time. I definitely did, and know firsthand that it’s not the best. No matter how healthy we are eating, be it a bowl of warm oats or a kale salad, feeling good doesn’t come unequivocally if we don’t slow down when we eat.

Here are four tips to be mindful about eating that helped me:

  1. Eat only when you are hungry. Check in with yourself and assess your appetite. It’s a natural process of your body to get hungry and only eat when it does. There’s no need to force yourself to eat breakfast if you don’t feel like it.
  2. Slow down, and stop what you are doing. Whether you’re working on a presentation or writing a piece of work, consciously take a break from it. Try and be present, sit down and be still as you eat.
  3. Take a few moments to breathe before you start eating. This can help your body take in more oxygen and also fuel up the digestive process.
  4. Eat slowly and take your time to chew and feel your food. Use all of your senses to experience and appreciate the food — its appearance, taste, texture, smell and flavours in its entirety.

I’ve also begun to be more conscious of eating more plant-based foods, trying out more vegan recipes that comprise more sattvic foods and generally practising ahimsa on food choices that do not harm animals or the planet. Besides, plant-based dishes are easier to prepare and cook so I would definitely recommend going veggies-only at least once a week!

The Ins and Outs of Pranayama

The breath is the source of energetic awakening in our body. Outlined in the fourth limb of the eight-limb path of yoga, pranayama is the extension and suspension of breath. Derived from the Sanskrit word prana, it translates to breath or life force.

Though we are constantly breathing all the time and we all but rely on our breath for our very survival, we hardly take heed of it. As a result, our breathing is typically shallow and varied, depending on our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state.

Pranayama — or breathwork — helps us become more mindful of the breath. In yoga, our breath is the bridge between the mind and the body. As we deepen our practice, we slowly find that our breath nourishes, guides and steadies our asana practice, allowing the mind and body to flow as one.

Today, scientific studies have found that pranayama can reduce stress and increase the parasympathetic activity that is responsible for the body’s rest and digest state, cultivating feelings of invigoration and alertness. In fact, pranayama has also been adopted as therapy for those suffering from mental illnesses such as depression and panic attacks.

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