Category Archives: Foundation Drink

Super Matcha Fragilista

Super Matcha Fragilista

Oh brother, another drink. The thing is, I just assumed that everybody was already doing this but it turns out I need to hammer this message home:

YOU NEED TO DRINK MATCHA EVERY DAY

I’m talking tea ceremony! Fancy whisk! Drinking from a bowl!

Matcha is finely stone-ground, high quality shade-grown, steamed green tea leaves. You spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into a lovely bowl, add some water just south of boiling (60-70 degrees Celsius), and whisk it until frothy and dissolved. If it doesn’t froth well, then what you’ve got is crappy powdered green tea, not matcha. The whisk is supposed to be bamboo (called a “chasen”), and your whisking style is supposed to be in a Z pattern. Think Zen. Hey, if no one’s watching: whisk how you like.

GREEN TEA VS MATCHA

Green tea has a ton of benefits; we all know that. But see if you can get through this next paragraph without having a FOMO panic attack and brewing yourself a preventative cup:

Green tea increases the metabolism while also reducing appetite. Polyphenols work to intensify fat oxidation. Green tea regulates glucose levels, preventing high insulin spikes. It relaxes blood vessels so changes in blood pressure don’t lead to heart attacks; also, reduces high blood pressure and protects against blood clotting. It rebalances cholesterol ratios – more good, less bad. It targets cancer cells without damaging the surrounding cells. It delays Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s deterioration, protects brain cells from dying and restores damaged brain cells. Catchetin in green tea is an antioxidant which destroys bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections and cavities. L-Theanine in green tea is an amino acid that imparts tranquility and eases depression. Green tea is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, so will protect against aging and disease in general. Phew, tell me you’re drinking some already!

The problem is, you need to regularly drink at least 2 cups a day for these benefits, and probably a lot more. Drinking that much tea is so exhausting.

SO LET’S CUT TO THE MATCHA

Matcha has all the benefits of green tea (catchetins, amino acids), but possibly 137 times more. That’s kind of a huge multiple, so let me back it up with this study from the University of Colorado in 2003. To break it down, the antioxidants in a bowl of matcha tea are 137 times stronger than in a cup of the green tea specifically available at Starbucks, which is to say: stronger than low quality green tea. Most of the green tea available in the West is low quality. So if you can get your hands on some really fancy imported high quality green tea, and if you infuse the leaves at least 3 times, then possibly matcha is only 3 times richer in antioxidants than your custom import. But why go to all that trouble when high quality, organic matcha powder is readily available at health food stores, tea shops and high end groceries – and is usually sold right next to the bamboo whisk.

Matcha powder was invented by a Buddhist monk, Eisai Myoan in the late 1100’s. He introduced it to his fellow monks as an early biohack – using it helped the monks calm down and prepare for meditation. The secret weapon: L-Theanine. This is an amino acid and a glutamic acid which crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces changes in brain alpha waves and reduces mental and physical stress. Combined with caffeine, L-Theanine improves cognition, promotes faster reaction times, and increases working memory.

You only need one cup a day, and should start with a small amount of matcha powder (1/4 tsp). I’ve been using it for a pretty long time, so I tend to shovel the powder in. But I pay for it. There is A LOT of caffeine in matcha powder, and even though it is slow-release and alkalizing (rather than fast release and acidifying like coffee), you are still going to feel it. Don’t drink this at night unless you are trying to catch up on a whole season of Breaking Bad.

There are also warnings about drinking matcha with milk, as a latté, as conventional dairy milk can reduce the antioxidant effects of the tea. So try almond or cashew milk, especially homemade from soaked organic raw nuts. But I’m not terribly worried about a bit of steamed milk, especially if it gets you to start enjoying matcha. Something is better than nothing.

RITUAL NOT CONVENIENCE

Drinking matcha tea should be a ritual, not a fast-food convenience. See if you can keep a little bowl, a whisk and a small tub of matcha powder at your office or place of work, and enjoy this every morning.

When I’m out and about, I am often tempted to order a Matcha Latté from Starbucks or the Whole Foods café – but be warned that these chains use a matcha powder that is really low quality and diluted with sweeteners. Always ask for unsweetened (it will still be sweetened, just less so), and know that you are having a treat, not a healthful beverage.

Finally, a shout out to my cousin Kyra who forgot her matcha tea ceremony set at my cottage six years ago, which turned into me appropriating it and discovering a new love. THANKS!

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My Big Fat Coffee: Foundation Drink No. 4

So you’ve smuggled in all this grass-fed butter, now what? It’s not like you can spread it on toast, sandwiches or pancakes. Not in a dream world, anyway. (A dream world is one where you don’t eat sugar and grains, FYI. In case that wasn’t clear).

So you can bake with it (almond/coconut flour to the rescue), melt it on your vegetables, add to sauces and gravies (what a great emulsifier!) but short of just eating it, you might find yourself running out of ways to answer the age-old question: How can I get more butter in my life?

JUST ADD IT TO YOUR COFFEE

This sounds crazy, I know!  But it’s not my idea. This comes from The Bulletproof Executive and tons of people are doing it. Don’t be the last to the party.

coffee butter coconut oil

THE WAY I DRINK IT

1 TBS grass-fed butter
1 TBS quality coconut oil
espresso or coffee

And then I sometimes add a little raw milk to cool it down and make it creamier.

If you only add coconut oil, which I sometimes do, you will get a pool of oil on the surface of your coffee. It’s not the worst and you can just keep stirring it in. But when you also add butter, the butter emulsifies all the fats into a lovely homogenous drink.

Better: throw it in your Vitamix or blender, and blend until it turns a homogenous caramel colour with a beautiful latté foam on top. I mean, come on! The latté photo below is made without milk – just coconut oil and butter in black coffee. Creamy, right?

buttercoffeeTo be clear, The Bulletproof Executive has a much more refined way of doing this. He uses his own proprietary extremely high quality coffee which is guaranteed free of toxins and mould, and then he also uses his own proprietary MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil which is slightly more “fat burning” than coconut oil, in that it promotes ketosis more readily. He has really thought this out, and uses it as a “cheat” for intermittent fasting. His theory is that if you limit your solid eating to between the hours of 2pm and 8pm and fast the rest of the time, your body reaps crazy benefits in longevity, energy, metabolism, healing and whatnot. The way he “cheats” is by allowing as much grass-fed butter, MCT oil and coffee as he wants before 2pm. But he would never add milk because that would stimulate digestion and defeat his purpose. And I think he opposes dairy. It is impossible to be hungry if you are downing all your calories directly from tablespoons of pure fat; your caloric requirements are met. (Though all your other dietary requirements are not met – so if you follow his regimen you better be sure to cram nutrient dense foods into your 6 hour eating window).

I am intrigued by the intermittent fasting, and think it should probably find its way into my life for one day every week or something. It’s probably not a great regimen if you are trying to get pregnant, already pregnant, nursing etc. (Though eating high fat is a great regimen).

BUTTER COFFEE IS FOR ME

Try it. You’ll like it. But if you don’t have grass-fed butter, just use the coconut oil and deal with the oil slick on top. It’s not worth doing this with organic or conventional butter because of all the grain the dairy cows ate. If you just don’t like coffee or you think you should avoid it, you can add grass-fed butter and coconut oil to The Crazy Hot Drink, to unsweetened hot cocoa (preferably raw cacao) or just about any earthy tea – unsweetened chai would be great.

Also remember that FAT + SUGAR = sick and fat. If you’re going to embrace fat, and it’s about time you did, you’ve got to kick sugar to the curb.

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Kefir: Foundation Drink No. 3

I KEEP SEEING THIS IN THE STORE

That’s right, you can now buy “kefir” at the store! Liberté Organics has a version in a plastic jug that you can drink, and it’s also flavored with strawberry or blueberry. Try this if you are new to kefir. It’s just super sweet like YOP! Enjoy, preferably last thing at night before bed.

Once you are ready to graduate to the next level, try buying a better commercial version. Here in Ontario we have Pinehedge Farms, which makes a UNHOMOGENIZED WHOLE MILK version in a glass jar. They also have a low fat version but I do not encourage low fat products.

But I put “kefir” in quotes up above for a reason. The commercial “kefir” that you buy is made from a powdered compilation of beneficial bacteria and yeast cultures – usually containing about 9 strains combined. This is “better” than yoghurt, which usually only contains one or two varieties (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). Just as an aside, there is a story going around that yoghurt cultures are destroyed in the stomach and never make it to the intestines to flourish, but this study suggests otherwise. The cultures in commercial “kefir” are great, and like the yoghurt cultures, they make it through the digestive tract and live to colonize the intestines. The Pinehedge “kefir” is a fantastic product, thick, creamy and great tasting, and I would be happy if you ate a 1/2 cup every night before bed so that it can colonize you in your sleep.

WHY BOTHER MAKING MY OWN KEFIR THEN?

As much as I love the Pinehedge “kefir” (or similar glass-bottled whole milk unhomogenized products), they probably don’t have more than 10 strains of bacteria in their makeup. Whereas homemade kefir from “grains” contains 29 strains of bacteria and 27 strains of yeast. Want to see the whole list? Though please note that this isn’t a more = better contest. Actually, change that. It most certainly IS A MORE = BETTER CONTEST as far as intestinal bacteria is concerned. I mean, you want more of the “good bacteria” certainly and less of the “bad bacteria”, but what you are especially looking for is diversity. This is like the rainforest – lots of options give you adaptability but a monoculture or fewer species of bacteria limit your immune system’s ability to deal with all the environmental factors you throw at it. But even beyond this great diversity of bacteria and yeasts, homemade kefir from “grains” derived from the Caucasus Mountains have an even more profound advantage. In fact homemade kefir from these grains is such a very special creation that no commercial enterprise has been able to replicate it, though they have certainly tried and tried. Wikipedia calls kefir a unique “symbiotic consortia of bacteria and yeasts”. And what is most special about these Caucasian grains is that when allowed to ferment on the lactose of dairy milk, they create a substance called kefiran. And it’s all about the kefiran.

KEFIRAN

Kefiran is the polysaccharide that holds the “grains” of kefir together, and is created as a result of the unique relationships between kefir’s bacteria and yeasts. Kefiran tested on rats has reduced and eliminated tumors, induced systemic anti-inflammatory response, reduced serum cholesterol levels and suppressed increased blood pressure. In human studies, kefiran had a preventative effect against breast cancer cells without harming the healthy cells,  and it stimulated body cells to produce 14 times more Interferon-beta, a vital glycoprotein excreted by body cells to combat viral infection, and possibly combat cancer cells. Nobody has compiled the research on kefiran better than Kefir Mentor Dom Anfiteatro, who has the most comprehensive guide to kefir that exists, complete with references to every existing study.

But that two-page list of studies is all there is. Are there ongoing large-scale clinical trials on kefiran? Certainly not. There is no money in it as kefiran just cannot be made commercially. It has to be tended, like a pet, and it is very susceptible to changes in temperature, humidity and the ratios of milk to grains. Is this the inexpensive low-tech answer to curing cancer? I don’t know, but it doesn’t cause any harm (unlike all cancer medicines and conventional protocols),  and costs no more than good quality milk, some cool glass jars with flip-tops and a one-time purchase of grains (under $20 unless you can get them from a friend for free).

YEAST, YUK! RIGHT…?

I get it, you just spent  months on a Candida Cleanse to get rid of your yeast overgrowth, which was characterized by sharp pangs in your stomach (intestines) every time you ate too much sugar, and also by an anti-intuitive out of control craving for that same sugar. You cut out sugar, bread, beer, brewer’s yeast, fermented products of all sorts. So how on earth can it be beneficial now to ingest more yeast?

Well the 27 yeasts in kefir are generally “the good yeasts”! And they will fight off “the bad yeasts”(Candida albicons) that are controlling your sugar appetite and leading to yeast overgrowths. For this reason, sometimes when people start taking kefir, the new yeasts cause a die-off of the old yeasts, called a Herxheimer reaction. These dying Candida albicons can produce up to 79 short-term toxins and be kind of unpleasant (headache, fatigue, bloating) until they are all eliminated. One way to avoid this is by initiating your kefir protocol slowly, like a few TBS at night, and then only over a week or two work up to 1/2 cup or more. If you get constipated, you have taken too much too soon.

stovetop kefir

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? BIG PICTURE

People, let’s start with the problems you don’t know you have yet. Consider that all auto-immune diseases start in the gut. Check out the long, long list of auto-immune diseases. You don’t have any yet? Well your mom or your uncle probably does. And I’m sorry to say this but on a Western diet, they’re coming for you. And what about allergies? If your gut health isn’t optimal, meaning if you don’t have the best balance of beneficial bacteria colonizing your intestines, then the walls of your intestines are leaking partially digested foods directly into your blood where they act as toxins. These toxins affect both your psychology and your physiology. There is a name for this occurrence, it’s called the Gut and Psychology (or Physiology) Syndrome – shortened to GAPS, and coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Haven’t heard of GAPS yet? Have you heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? It’s not exactly recognized by the conventional medical establishment, but it is understood to be the pre-cursor to every auto-immune system. Leaky Gut Syndrome is not a side effect that the medical establishment can treat with commercial drugs, so it doesn’t seem very interesting to them, and nor is healing the gut. In our system, a drug comes first and then an illness is discovered and marketed to sell the drug. The economic problem here is that it is drugs themselves, especially antibiotics, that create imbalances in the gut and harm it. But all that is an aside.  I am here to tell you that healing the gut is EVERYTHING.

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? SMALLER PICTURE

Kefir is high in tryptophan, so has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and can help you get to sleep as well as ease depression and ADHD. It is easily digested, balances and cleanses the intestines with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, and builds up the immune system. The fermentation process creates complete proteins, reduces carbohydrates by pre-digesting sugars and lactose, boosts levels of B Vitamins – especially B12 and folic acid, and in particular creates the important Vitamin K2.

When you take kefir regularly (I prefer at bedtime when it has the best chance of colonizing the intestines) it will reduce gas, promote regular bowel movements and eliminate bloating and other intestinal issues.

ALREADY CONVINCED? WELL TRY MAKING IT

There are so many great sites online that show you how to make kefir. Let me direct you to Dom’s Kefir-Making Site, where he has step by step instructions with photos. If all that info is too much to handle, look at these simpler instructions at Nourished Kitchen.

WHAT I DO

I use 2 glass flip-top jars for the first fermentation and the second fermentation. I use a steel strainer and a wooden spoon. I use raw (unhomogenized organic whole fat) milk that I get in an alley from a cow that I share (thanks for the hassle, Ontario!). I also use lemon peels and sometimes basil leaves for the second fermentation.

FIRST FERMENTATION: WITH KEFIR GRAINS

  1. Before bed, I put a small handful of kefir grains in a flip-top 1 L jar and fill about 3/4 full (3 cups of milk). This is a very high grains to milk ratio, but I have a lot of grains and not a lot of room to store milk.
  2. I put the sealed jar into a dark cupboard, because that is convenient for me. A countertop is fine. When I remember and pass the cupboard, I give the jar a gentle shake.
  3. In the morning, about 12 hours later, I check the kefir. The milk is usually still runny, and it hasn’t thickened or shown signs of “legs” on the glass when shaken.  I put it back in the cupboard.
  4. Usually between 3pm and 6pm, the kefir has started to look like it is thickening up. But I usually don’t have time to deal with it right away. So I move it to the fridge until bedtime, to slow it down.
  5. At bedtime, let’s say 9 or 10pm, I take the kefir out of the fridge and check again to make sure it is ready. Usually the fridge seems to thicken it a bit more, I think because a different form of bacteria is allowed to propagate at the cooler temperature.
  6. At this point if it is ready (has legs, is thick) I pour it through a strainer into a bowl, stirring with a spoon to separate the grains from the kefir.
  7. I put the kefir grains back into the same flip-top jar without rinsing them or the jar (I rinse the jar every 3 or 4 turns), and fill back up with milk, then put the jar back into the cupboard to repeat at step 2 above. This jar is called THE FIRST FERMENT.

THE SECOND FERMENTATION: WITHOUT KEFIR GRAINS

  1. I pour the freshly strained kefir from the bowl into a second glass 1L flip-top jar, and add about a 1/4 of a lemon peel. Sometimes I add a basil leaf as well, or bee pollen and royal jelly. This jar is called THE SECOND FERMENT.
  2. I seal up this jar and put it into the cupboard next to the first ferment. And then I go to sleep.
  3. In the morning, I check both jars and maybe shake them a bit. I am checking for thickness, legs, or separation.
  4. Usually between 3pm -6pm, both the first ferment and the second ferment are ready or almost ready, so I put them both in the fridge. Again, the fridge just makes them a little more drinkable to me, a little smoother and creamier.
  5. At bedtime, I take out the second ferment and check it for doneness. Now is a great time to drink it! It should be bubbly like champagne, slightly tart from the sourness of the milk, zesty from the lemon and/or basil, and mild (to my taste anyway). It should not taste or smell revolting or overly sour. It should definitely not taste or smell like rancid milk.
  6. At this point I usually rinse or don’t rinse the second ferment jar, and pour the strained kefir from the first ferment into it. Etc.

grainsIt’s great when it all works like this, because I like to be able to drink my kefir at night, and do all the work at the same time. However sometimes it’s just not ready in time, and I have to wait until morning. Sometimes I wait until morning and then it has gone too far – characterized by separating into curds and whey. (If this happens, you can then strain the kefir through a cheesecloth and make cream cheese from the curds and drink the whey separately). Sometimes if it has only separated a little, you can put the jar in the fridge and it will sort of “come back together”. The fridge seems to smooth out a lot of human error, I find.

A NOTE ON JARS

You can do this in mason jars, so long as you don’t make them too tight. The fermentation process produces CO2 which can cause the jar to explode. But the problem with a loose mason jar lid is that it also lets random yeasts and bacterias in, which changes the final product (can make it extra sour etc.). The best results happen in an air-lock jar where the carbon dioxide can get out but nothing can get in. You can see every method of jar tested here, on 28-day sauerkraut. Even better results happen when there is a bit of pressure on the jar, but not enough to burst it. Which means you don’t have to spend big money on a fancy Pickl-it jar, as any old Fido or European brand of glass flip-top jars will do. Ikea jars, not so sure. Let’s leave the Chinese glass in China.

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ACV: Foundation Drink No. 2

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, known to the in-crowd as ACV, is my second foundation drink, after the Crazy Hot Drink. I like to take about a tablespoon (or less if you are starting out) in a glass of appropriate water.  The taste is slightly tangy, like a weak, refreshing wine. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are drinking wine all day?

I just find that drinking water can get a little monotonous. But when I add some ACV to it, all of a sudden it is a flashy beverage! It’s my diet coke.

I have tried lots of different varieties of ACV, hoping to find an organic local version that I like. But it turns out the Bragg Organic, Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” is my favorite.

WHEN AND WHY?

We’ve all heard that the best way to start your day is with a squeeze of lemon in a glass of water. Totally! But guess what? It gets kind of expensive to buy all these organic lemons and cut them up and sometimes forget about them. So while I love lemon in water, I save it for when I have leftover lemon kicking around, or when I am in a restaurant or traveling (let them spend the money on lemons!).

IMG_3117So instead I start the day with a glass of appropriate water and some ACV. This will restore your body’s pH balance, making it just slightly alkaline. Possibly this will give your kidneys a little breathing room. The ACV will also stimulate your stomach acid, which will help digestion. Since ACV is prebiotic, it will feed probiotics, which will strengthen your body’s immunity and gut health.

ACV should also be taken with a little water before meals, especially if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD. The idea is that the acetic and malic acids in ACV increase the acidity of the stomach, which signals the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) to tighten and strengthen to protect the esophagus. Raising the acid levels actually protects the esophagus and makes digestion more efficient. This higher acidity allows your body to better absorb essential minerals that are locked in foods. By contrast, taking antacids or acid-blockers lowers the stomach pH, which sends indifferent signals to the LES causing it to weaken and allowing stomach acid to slip up through it into the esophagus in a relentless cycle of pain, discomfort, malnutrition and eventual destruction of the esophageal lining.

As well as being full of enzymes, raw organic ACV is rich in potassium (11mg/TBS), which can help relieve symptoms of the common cold, allergies, mucus and sinus congestion. Tooth decay and brittle fingernails are another sign of potassium deficiency. ACV has also been used to treat headaches, depression, joint pain, kidney and bladder issues, depression and constipation. High levels of pectin in ACV, which act like high fiber, control blood sugar and make it an ideal supplement for diabetics. Taking ACV before meals has shown to lower blood glucose in both healthy people and diabetics, reducing the need for supplementary insulin. It is also known to cleanse the organs and blood by binding with toxins and breaking them down for elimination.

HISTORY

Not only did Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribe ACV for everything, but the Egyptians were into it 3000 years ago, and there are indications it was being used to treat ailments at least 10,000 years ago. That’s a much better human record than a 6 month clinical trial.

BE SMART

Don’t drink ACV straight: too hard on the tooth enamel and linings of the mouth and esophagus. Don’t drink crazy amounts like a cup a day. Don’t get an ACV pill stuck in your throat. People did these things and it didn’t work out for them.

BONUS PROJECT

Almost finished your bottle of ACV? Still see a generous helping of “the mother”, that webby brown stuff, settled on the bottom? Then just top up your bottle with your favorite tasting raw, organic apple cider – cover the opening with a cloth and an elastic, and put it in the cupboard for 4 months. Look at what you just did! You made your own ACV, girl.

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The Crazy Hot Drink: Foundation Drink No. 1

The Crazy Hot Drink

SERVE IT IN CRYSTAL ALREADY

This drink was inspired by my husband’s cousin, who is obsessed with anti-oxidants. Last April 2012, he literally mailed me some brown powder from British Columbia in a Ziploc baggie, and suggested I try a TBSP every day. Fishy, right? But how could I resist?

Here is the simple 5-ingredient recipe:

  • 12 parts raw cacao powder
  • 1 part cayenne
  • 1 part cinnamon
  • 1 part turmeric
  • 1 part dried ginger

Shake it up in a container of your choosing and store in the freezer. Every morning, my preference is to dissolve about 1TBSP of this “magic powder” into a small goblet of very hot water. Sometimes I add a little milk to make it creamy (try freshly made cashew milk, or raw milk).

The first morning I tried it, I thought it was painfully hot and disgusting, and I cursed my husband’s cousin and his little baggie. The next morning I was still curious, so I tried it again. Not so bad. By the third morning, I was CRAVING the magic powder! Now I make it fresh every few weeks, store it in the freezer, and enjoy 1-2 TBSP every morning. This drink makes me more alert, gives me energy, stimulates digestion (I’m talking BMs here!), and is the greatest start to the day.

Way you will not enjoy it: in a smoothie. It is so spicy and strange, why ruin a giant smoothie. This is better enjoyed in a small serving. Way you might enjoy it: cold. But it will be more difficult to dissolve the spices.

WHY BOTHER?

Consider this a FOUNDATION DRINK. This will replace so many synthetic supplements and make sure that you are getting the micro nutrients and anti-oxidants that your body and mind need. The lowdown:

RAW CACAO: the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate. Contains 54% heart-healthy fat in cacao butter: 34% oleic acid, 33% stearic acid, 26% palmitic acid, 6% other; 31% carbohydrates: 1% sugar, 16% fiber; 11% protein: arginine, glutamine, leucine; 3% polyphenols: flavonols, proanthrocyanins; 1% minerals: iron, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, manganese; and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and E. Raw Cacao can lower blood pressure, improve circulation, promote cardiovascular function, neutralize free radicals, improve digestion and enhance physical and mental well-being by relaxing smooth muscles, dilating blood vessels, increasing circulation of serotonin and other essential neurotransmitters in the brain.

CAYENNE: the dried powder of the hot cayenne pepper. Contains alkaloids, apasaicine, capsacutin, capsaicin, capsanthine, capsico PABA, fatty acids, flavonoids, carotene, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and C. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, anti-bacterial, anti-cold and flu, anti-fungal, anti-allergen, stimulates saliva and digestion, relieves joint pain, normalizes blood pressure, supports detox and weight loss, and prevents migraines and blood clots. Cayenne can raise the metabolism as much as 25%, and you will notice this magic powder gives you a lot of energy!

GINGER: the dried, powdered root. Contains essential oils of gingerol, zingerone, shogaol, farnesene, vitamins B5 and B6, potassium, manganese, copper and magnesium. Improves intestinal motility, soothes nerves, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, relieves pain, headaches and is the best remedy for motion sickness, nausea and morning sickness.

TURMERIC: the dried yellow roots of the turmeric plant, related to ginger. Circumin is the principal pigment, rich in antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory properties and seems to prevent Alzheimer’s in India when prepared in traditional curries combined with pepper. Contains Vitamins B3, B6, C, E, iron, potassium, manganese, zinc.

CINNAMON: the dried bark of a group of trees in the cinnamon family, though “true cinnamon” comes from Sri Lanka. A single TSP of cinnamon contains 28 mg of calcium, 1 mg iron, 1 g fiber, and considerable vitamin C, K and manganese. Cinnamon improves insulin resistance, digestion, is anti-inflammatory and slows the decomposition of food (it was used as an embalming agent in ancient Egypt). Sniffing cinnamon improves brain function, but don’t try it; stick to sprinkling it on your apples to lower the glycemic load.

As you become more accustomed to the magic powder, you can adjust the ratios. It would be more beneficial to increase the ratio of cayenne, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon: raw cacao. Consider the raw cacao the treat that makes it all go down. I am probably down to 8 parts cacao: 1 part each of the other four spices.

I have also tried adding maca powder for its fertility powers (steer clear teenagers, stay in school), but I didn’t like the resulting flavor and couldn’t really add enough maca to make it beneficial.

Sarah Britton at My New Roots has a delicious spicy “Haute Chocolate” recipe which is much more palatable, as it includes coconut sugar, honey, vanilla, maca and sea salt – which makes it more of a superfood indulgence than a daily foundation drink.

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