At this time of year, your body is craving warmth. Cooked foods nourish your body and soul. Avoid cold drinks and smoothies, switch instead to healing teas and cocoas. The key is to find a drink that is both delicious but also nutritious. Most take out beverages are full of sugars that cause inflammation. The following homemade drink is anti-inflammatory, easy to make, and full of nutritional benefits. This latte features Rooibos Tea which is Native to South Africa, and comes from the Aspalathus linearis plant. It has been used for centuries and is highly regarded for its health benefits. A serving of this tea contains iron, potassium, zinc, copper and magnesium and has been shown to balance hormones, prevent diabetes, soothe digestion, regulate blood pressure and prevent aging. On top of all that, it’s anti-inflammatory! The spices in this latte also have many health benefits. Enjoy!
Chai Rooibos Tea Latte
1 cup water
1 rooiboos tea bag
½ cup lite canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves, allspice, and cardamom
Pinch of black pepper
1 tsp. raw honey (optional)
In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Prepare a mug for the tea bag, pour the boiling water over it and allow it to steep for 5 to 7 minutes. While the tea steeps, place the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until totally combined and smooth. Return this mixture to the small pot and heat over medium heat until hot, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the tea bag from the mug and add the milk mixture. Stir in the honey (optional).
Check out other healthy drink options in my book, Fight Fire with Food. Check it out at susannej.com.
If you have ever had trouble sleeping you are well aware of the consequences of lack of sleep: fatigue,decreased brain function, cognitive decline, skin problems, insulin resistance, obesity, increased risk of major disease and accelerated aging. A good night sleep is paramount in maintaining good health and preventing aging. Here are some important tips to help increase deep sleep:
1. Your circadian rhythm is your internal biological clock triggering hormones like melatonin that
we need for adequate sleep. Sunlight is required to produce the melatonin we need at night.
The best time to get this dose of sunlight is first thing in the morning. So going for a walk in the
morning is the best way to get a good sleep at night. Cloudy day? No worries, there are still
melatonin producing rays.
2. No screen time for two hours preceding bedtime. Take a warm bath, read a book, and do some
3. Make your room pitch black, or as dark as possible. Black out curtains, getting rid of night lights
and electronics with lights on them, and wearing a sleep mask or hood all help. You will not
produce melatonin when there is light in the room.
4. Eating late at night dramatically affects your sleep. Try to finish your supper by 7 and avoid late
night munching. Eating something sugary leads to a blood sugar spike and then a crash that
triggers a release of adrenaline which keeps you up until 3 p.m.
5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol or drug use before 2 p.m. All suppress REM sleep.
6. Go to bed before 10 p.m. for better quality sleep and a balanced circadian rhythm. Try to be
consistent regarding going to bed and getting out of bed times.
7. Exercise regularly but no aerobic exercise before bed.
8. Drink herbal teas before bed such as chamomile, valerian, passion flower, lemon balm, talsa or
holy basil, kava or lavender. I rarely recommend a particular product, but I do like Distinctly
Tea’s Good Night tea blend. I have found it to be the most effective. Their website is
9. A warm glass of milk and some ashwaganda are my go to, but there are many supplements that
help sleep. Magnesium, melatonin, passionflower, valerian root, lemon balm, GABA, L-
Theanine (from green tea), Vitamin B6 and Lactam ( bioactive milk-derived peptides) are some
10. After my last restorative yoga class one of my students told me she slept 9 hours straight and
woke up pain free for the first time in months. We need to activate the parasympathetic
nervous system (versus sympathetic, fight or flight, system) in order to sleep and heal. Come to
a class or start a home practice of restorative poses before bed. (Read previous blog on
restorative yoga at susannej.com)
Getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep is recommended by most professionals but the quality of sleep is even more important. During deep sleep our body and mind renews, heals and regenerates. This is important for our cells, brains, energy level maintenance, and for strengthening our immune system. I hope these tips help. Sweet dreams.
I love to have soup ready for busy lunches and dinners when I am on the run, but have you ever tried combining squash and broccoli? This week I’m sharing a new recipe for broccoli squash soup that is thick and rich and can be made to taste like broccoli cheddar soup if you like. Make it totally dairy free and gluten free, as well. Win/win!
Check out other great soups in my cookbook, Fight Fire with Food.
Here’s my version of broccoli squash soup.
2 to 4 tbsp. (30 to 60 ml) avocado or coconut oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup diced onion and celery
3 cups (420 g) cubed butternut squash
2 cups (500 ml) unsweetened almond, or coconut milk
2 cups (500 ml) vegetable broth (or bone broth)
3 cups (273 g) broccoli, chopped
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 to 2 tbsp. maple sugar
*½ cup (24 g) nutritional yeast, parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese
*I love the soup without this ingredient but the yeast or cheese give it a more true broccoli cheddar taste. Try it both ways.
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, celery and onion. Cook until onion and celery soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the squash.
Cover and cook for 4 minutes or until squash is soft and golden brown. Add the broccoli, milk, broth, spices, vinegar and maple syrup. Add nutritional yeast, if using. Bring to a low boil and cook until vegetables are soft. Blend using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until creamy and smooth.
If using cheese, add just before serving. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.