[Anti-inflammatory latte is a rich-tasting, comforting hot or cold beverage that’s vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, yeast-free, low glycemic and suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet.]
Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that the HH and I live with two dogs, Elsie and Chaser (who were kind of miffed when I changed the name of the blog last year, effectively removing them from the header). At twelve (human) years old, Elsie has naturally fallen into (dog) retirement mode: whereas she previously scampered down the stairs the second the HH’s key turned in the lock at dinnertime, she now labors down slowly, favoring her arthritic joints and looking a little like a furry slinky as it moves one step at a time. (Having torn my achilles tendon a few months ago, I kind of know how she feels). What was formerly a glossy, jet-black coat from crown to tail is now covered in white splotches surrounding the muzzle, on the belly and between the toes. She’s even passed the title of “Household Guard Dog” on to Chaser, moving to the back of the hallway while her sister takes up the position of Bark Alarm any time someone approaches our front door.
Thankfully, one thing that hasn’t changed is Elsie’s enormous enthusiasm for food. Mention the word, “treat,” and she’ll wobble down the stairs at breakneck speed, tendrils of drool already escaping the sides of her mouth before she even reaches the kitchen. (On that score, too, I kind of know how she feels).
Despite various health crises that have ranged from annoying to alarming over the past 15 years, for me, food has remained the one constant positive note (a good thing, I guess, since I develop recipes and write about food for a living). No matter that I was forced to remove 60% of my dietary staples from the picture, first in 1999 and again in 2009; I never felt as if food had become a hindrance. To me, there are always so many options still left on the table–or wherever you happen to be eating–no matter the dietary restrictions that there’s always a way to appreciate the freshness, the flavors, the textures and the tastes of all good-for-you, healthy, foods.
I mean, what else compares to the snap of a juicy green apple? The tang and crunch of a pomegranate aril? The garlicky grit of a homemade hummus? Or the chewy pungency of a raw dandelion salad? And let’s not forget my favorite, homemade chocolate. Along with superior health benefits, all these dishes bring joy to the tastebuds, too. And it’s a bonus, really, that something so delicious can also be good for you. It brings me immense pleasure to know know that food really can be medicine–medicine that tastes great.
[Things are about to get hot in here: anti-inflammatory latte ready for the whisk.]
After my annual checkup last year, I was surprised to learn that my levels of CRP (C-reactive protein, a blood-based marker of inflammation in the body that correlates to increased heart attack risk) were elevated, even though I lack most of the risk factors such as diabetes, smoking, eating junk food or consuming alcohol. In my case, this predisposition is partly hereditary (my mom suffered four heart attacks at fairly young ages), but, according to my naturopath, it could also be linked to residual effects of dealing with candida for so many years.
I’ve decided the best way to tackle the issue is with food. Not in the “I’m going to pig out because I’m upset and this will comfort me” sort of way (though of course I’ve been known to use that tactic on occasion, too); but more in the “food offers health-enhancing properties that I can take advantage of–while still enjoying something delicious and satisfying” sort of way.
Remember that list of top anti-inflammatory herbs and spices I shared last time? Well, today’s recipe uses five of them, resulting in a sweet treat that’s not only incredibly tasty, but comforting, too. I’ve sipped on this latte several times over the past few of weeks, and even the HH is enamored. The flavor is rich and fragrant, a little reminiscent of chai tea (though oddly, I don’t much enjoy chai, and I do love this latte). You won’t really notice any strong notes of turmeric or rosemary, but they do add a subtle perfume and their own unique anti-inflammatory properties.
Next up, I may try sneaking some of this beverage into Elsie’s water bowl. Who knows? It may help to reinstate her as Chief Barking Officer at our front door. As long as I call it a “treat,” I’m sure she’ll be game.
Looking at the list of ingredients, you’ll understand why chai tea, with its cloves, cinnamon and black pepper, is so good for you; this latte is reminiscent of that aromatic beverage without tasting like chai. It’s one of the most soothing, comforting drinks you’ll have, and a perfect sipper to help you relax after a busy day. For a summertime variation, this is also lovely served cold over ice.
1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened alternative milk of choice, plus additional if desired
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground turmeric
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 ml) grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried rosemary (10-15 sprigs, crushed slightly, or pinch of ground rosemary)
pinch cayenne (optional)
In a medium post, whisk together the one cup (240 ml) milk, water, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary and cayenne, if using. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately turn down heat and allow to simmer 5 minutes. Strain into a large mug and top up with additional water, if desired. Makes one large or two snack servings.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages; sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, yeast-free, vegan, low glycemic.
[Ooops. Just be sure not to spill your latte on your props. . . !]
Other recipes with turmeric you might enjoy:
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“Mum, the latte sounds good, but let’s forget about getting that job back as Guarder of the Front Door. I’m pretty happy just relaxing here while Chaser takes care of it . . . or not.”