Latte d’Oro

Cos’è il latte d’oro? Se vi è capitato di provarlo, sapete bene perchè al suo nome viene aggiunto l’appellativo “d’oro”. Questa bevanda calda dal colore brillante è infatti una preparazione a base di curcuma, che le dona il suo classico tono giallo. Il latte alla curcuma è una classica preparazione Ayurvedica ed è veramente facile da fare – una ricetta più tradizionale di quella che leggerete qui sotto, prevede sia l’utilizzo dell’olio di mandorle dolci (quello per uso alimentare), sia la preparazione di una pasta di curcuma che si può poi conservare in frigorifero e sciogliere nella porzione di liquido calda ogni volta che se ne vuole preparare una tazza. Questa è il metodo che ho seguito la prima volta che ho preparato il latte d’oro anni fa: l’olio di mandorle non mi è piaciuto per niente e devo ammettere che è stato difficile finire la bottiglia, che fortunatamente era piccola! Nonostante questo inizio non previsto, successivamente ho trovato un modo che mi piaceva per preparare il latte d’oro e mi sono innamorata di questo sapore del tutto unico. Inoltre, non dimenticate che gli ingredienti presenti nella vostra tazza lavoreranno insieme in maniera sinergica per aumentare il valore nutrizionale di questa bevanda.

Potete anche adattare un po’ la ricetta secondo i vostri gusti – le cose sui cui potete lavorare principalmente sono:

  • la quantità di curcuma (specialmente se non l’avete mai provato prima, vi suggerisco di iniziare con una quantità più piccola di quella che c’è scritta nella ricetta)
  • parte liquida: potete usare una bevanda vegetale o qualsiasi tipo di latte oppure un mix di uno di questi ed acqua 1:1 (a me piace molto preparlo con bevande vegetali e mandorla/anacardi/nocciole sono quelli che, secondo me, si abbinano meglio)
  • questa è una ricetta di base, ma potete decidere di aggiungere altre spezie (ad esempio il cardamomo (tritato in una polvere fine) o dei chiodi di garofano (messi in infusione nella parte liquida) o della vaniglia)
  • potete scegliere se usare la cannella come polvere o stecca
  • se usate una parte liquida molto diluita o se avete deciso di utilizzare solo acqua come base: potete aggiungere al vostro latte d’oro 1/3 di cucchiaino di ghee o di olio di cocco o 1/2 cucchiaino di olio extra vergine d’oliva – la presenza di una piccola quantità di grassi, migliorerà l’assorbimento dei principi attivi della curcuma
  • la ricetta che trovate qui sotto è per un latte d’oro non dolcificato – se volete, potete aggiungere 1/3 di cucchiaino di miele nella tazza quando sarà pronto (specialmente se non l’avete mai provato). Tenete comunque a mente di provarlo senza aggiunta di zuccheri ed usare questa occasione come una possibilità per imparare qualcosa di nuovo sulle vostre papille gustative!

La curcuma è nota per le sue proprietà antinfiammatorie ed il latte d’oro faceva tradizionalmente parte dello stile di vita delle persone che praticavano yoga, come supporto per il benessere delle articolazioni. Se volete saperne di più sulle proprietà della curcuma, pubblicherò presto un post con tutti i dettagli che vi possono essere utili per capire meglio questa spezie e trarne il massimo beneficio – date quindi un’occhiata alle mie pagine social prossimamente per non perderlo!

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LATTE D’ORO

Ingredienti per 1 tazza:

250 ml bevanda alla mandorla o nocciola o anacardi (non zuccherata)
1/2 cucchiaino di curcuma in polvere (abbondante)
un pizzico di cannella in polvere
un pizzico di pepe nero

Potete decidere di mischiare tutti gli ingredienti nel momento in cui volete preparare il latte d’oro, oppure potete prepare una pasta alla curcuma da aggiungere alla parte liquida calda (mischiate 1 parte di acqua, 2 di curcuma ed un po’ di pepe nero in una piccola pentola finchè la pasta non sarà calda e senza grumi – lasciatela raffreddare e conservate questa pasta in frigorifero in un contenitore chiuso fino a 4 giorni).


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Golden Milk

(read in Italian 🇮🇹)

What is golden milk? If you have ever tried it, you know well why it’s called “golden”. This brightly coloured warm drink is indeed based on turmeric, that gives it the typical yellow finish. It’s a classic Ayurvedic preparation and really easy to make – a more traditional recipe uses both almond oil (food grade) and a turmeric paste that you can make ahead then store in the fridge and dissolve in a cup of warm liquid anytime you want. When I have made it for the first time years ago, I have followed this recipe and didn’t like the almond oil at all… it has been really difficult to empty that (luckily) little bottle! Well, after this disappointing start, I have found my own way to make golden milk and I’ve felt in love with its flavour. The ingredients in your cup will work together to increase the nutritional value of this warm drink.

You can also slightly adapt the recipe to your taste buds – the main things that you can change are:

  • amount of turmeric (especially if you have never tried it, I would say that’s better to use a little bit less than what’s written in the recipe)
  • liquid: you can use a plant-based drink or any kind of milk or a mix of one of these and water 1:1 (I like to make it with plant-based drinks and almond/cashew/ hazelnut are my favourite options to choose from)
  • this is a basic recipe, but you can decide to add other spices (for example cardamom (crushed into a powder) or cloves (making an infused milk) or vanilla powder)
  • you can choose between powdered cinnamon or use it as a stick
  • if you are using a liquid that is very diluted or you have decided to go for water as base: you can add 1/3 tsp of ghee or coconut oil or 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil to the golden milk – you will do this to ensure that you have a certain amount of fat to improve the absorption of turmeric
  • the recipe below is for an unsweetened golden milk – if you’d like to add 1/3 tsp of honey when the drink is ready (especially if you have never tried it), go ahead. But keep in mind to try it without any sweetener and use this as a chance to learn something more about your taste buds!

Turmeric is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties and the golden milk was traditionally used by people practising yoga to support their joints’ health. If you want to know more about turmeric’s properties, I’ll publish soon a blog post with all the details that you need to take the most out of it – so keep an eye on my social media pages to ensure that you won’t miss that!

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GOLDEN MILK

Ingredients to make 1 cup:

250 ml hazelnut or almond or cashew drink (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (heaping tsp)
a pinch of cinnamon powder
a pinch of black pepper

You can mix all the ingredients when you want to prepare your cup of golden milk or decide to prepare ahead a turmeric paste (mixing 1 part of water, 2 of turmeric, and some black pepper in a small pan until it’s warm and without lumps – allow to cool down and store in the fridge for up to 4 days) to add to the warm milk.


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Kitchari

(recipe in Italian HERE 🇮🇹 – fa parte della mia collaborazione sull’alimentazione consapevole con Gaia di The Green Pantry)

Who knows Kitchari? Or it’s even better to ask… who else loves it? Because this is what happens when you try it for the first time, you suddenly fall in love with this nourishing and simple preparation. Kitchari is a classic Ayurvedic recipe to support your body’s natural balance. It’s a great option when you need to reconnect with your body and you’re looking for an easy (and healthy) way to rebalance – for example, in between seasons, after a stressful time, or in a period with several occasions for overindulging with food.

You can check out my version for this deliciously simple soup below. This is actually only one of the ways in which I prepare Kitchari – not only I try to change the spices and vegetables, especially according to my own needs or to the seasons, but I also sometimes decide to blend part of the mung beans (usually half of them, to get an extra creamy texture). Every time I have some Kitchari left from the day before (a rare occasion!), I try to change it a little by adding extra fresh veggies.

Hope you’ll like it! Chiara x

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KITCHARI

Ingredients:
(x 2)
2 parts of yellow mung dal beans (approx. 100 g)
1 part of brown basmati rice (approx. 50 g)
4 medium-sized carrots
1 shallot
2 bay leaves
1 cardamom pod (open it)
½ tsp cumin seeds
1/3 tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1/3 tsp cinnamon powder
5-6 coriander seeds
a pinch of black pepper
ghee or extra virgin olive oil
fresh coriander or parsley to use as a topping
optional: chopped spinach, kale, or other dark leafy greens

Preparation:
Heat 1 tsp of ghee or ½ tbsp of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and stir until it turns golden. Add the yellow mung beans (previously rinsed with water) and mix well. Add enough water to keep everything covered. Add also the bay leaves and crushed fennel seeds (half of the total amount that you are using for this recipe). While they are cooking, keep adding water in small amounts to be sure that there won’t be water left when they will be ready. After approx. 20 minutes, add the finely chopped carrots, rice, and turmeric. Mix well. Cook for approx. 20 minutes or until everything is cooked and start to become quite creamy. If you are also using
some finely chopped dark leafy vegetables, add them almost at the end (cook for approx. 5 minutes).

To prepare the mix of spices: heat in a pan ½ tbsp of olive oil or 1 tsp of ghee and add the spices (at this stage, you have already used turmeric, bay leaves, and half of the fennel seeds – so just use what is left on the list). Stir well until fragrant. You can crush them in a mortar before or after toasting them. Add your mix of spices into the Kitchari and mix well – remove the bay leaves.

When the Kitchari is ready, turn off the heat – leave to rest in the covered pot for 5 minutes before serving. You can serve it by itself with just a little bit of olive oil on top or you can decide to use some fresh parsley and/or a dollop of yogurt as a topping.


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Overnight Oats and Chia Seeds Pudding

If you have never tried overnight oats, this recipe will open up thousands of possibilities for your mornings. They really are a delicious option to ensure that you will have a nutrient-rich breakfast even on the busiest days. Perfect for a “breakfast in a jar” to go or even as snack. This is a quite basic recipe… but keep watching my social media pages because more tasty alternatives are on their way since I prepare overnight oats quite often!

Overnight oats have been my best option many times in between my morning yoga class and work. I was using the time to pack my breakfast to go as part of my morning routine: being focused on how I was taking care of myself by preparing the pudding in advance, choosing the ingredients, and then packing my breakfast… I was taking time to focus on myself!

By soaking the oats overnight, many people find them easier to digest compared to dry oats. Let’s be honest, how many times have you just thrown your oats from the package into a bowl, and then added some warm milk or water? I have done it many times! Obviously, the result is far away from a proper porridge (less creamy, less tasty, less easy to digest), but sometimes you need a more practical approach to your breakfast, right? Well, this overnight pudding may be the solution…

 

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Overnight Oats and Chia Seeds Pudding

(serves 2)

pudding:

  • 80 g rolled oats (choose the gluten-free option if needed)
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • approx. 100 ml nut drink
  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt

a delicious idea for the toppings:

  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/3 tsp ginger powder
  • ½ tsp ghee (olive oil for a dairy-free option)
  • 2 small apples
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Stir all the ingredients for the pudding into a bowl (except the yogurt). If you don’t want to measure the liquid, just use enough liquid to keep everything covered + add 4 tbsp. You can use only nut drink or water or half nut drink and half water. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, add some yogurt to the pudding and mix well – if you prefer a more liquid pudding, just add extra liquid. Take the pudding outside from the fridge approx. 15 minutes before eating, to allow it to warm up a little – if you are in a hurry, you can add 2 tbsp of lukewarm water and stir well.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with ½ tsp of ghee and then add the chopped apples, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir for less than a minute – the apples should not become too soft or start breaking.

Use the apples cold or warm as topping together with some pumpkin seeds.



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Lentil and Carrots Dahl

Another lovely idea for #meatlessmonday: a lentil soup inspired by the traditional Indian cuisine, nourishing and rich in flavour!

Chiara x

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Lentil and Carrots Dahl

(serves 4)

200 g red split lentils
3 medium-sized carrots
1 large shallot (or 2 small)
4-5 sundried tomatoes
1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/3 tsp ginger powder)
1 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp tahini per person
extra virgin olive oil or ghee

option 1: ½ tsp garam masala
option 2: ½ tsp cumin and coriander seeds, ½ tsp fennel seeds, ¼ tsp cinnamon powder, 1-2 small cloves.

Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and stir until turns golden. Add the lentils (previously rinsed with water using a colander) and mix well. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes and enough water to keep the lentils covered. Add also the bay leaves and crushed fennel seeds (half of the total amount that you are using for this recipe). While the lentils are cooking, keep adding water in small amounts to be sure that there won’t be water left when they will be ready, but just a nice creamy soup.

After approx. 10 minutes, add the finely chopped carrots, with turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Mix well. If you are using the garam masala mix add that too. Cook the lentils for approx. 25 minutes or until they start to become quite creamy.

If you are using the mix of spices: heat in a pan ½ tbsp of olive oil and add the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir well until fragrant. You can crush them in a mortar before or after toasting them. Add your mix of spices into the dahl and mix well – remove the bay leaves.

When the dahl is ready, turn off the heat – add ½ tsp of tahini per person and mix well. Leave to rest in the covered pot for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can serve it as itself with just a little bit of olive oil on top or you can decide to use some fresh parsley and/or a dollop of yogurt as topping. You can also decide to add a few slices of fresh green chilli on top for some extra spiciness.



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7 basic tips for a healthy skin

Your skin is the body’s largest organ and the fastest-growing one. Unless your skin is damaged or cut, your skin protects your whole body.

The skin has the ability to absorb active compounds that you use with lotions, but at the same time can use compounds that you introduce with the diet.

In this blog post, I will guide you through basic topics and pieces of advice, simple and easily adaptable to everybody’s life.

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What you eat influences not just how you feel “internally”, but it has also an effect on your skin, your energy levels, your sleep pattern, etc. (think for example at how your skin looks after a few days of not drinking enough water). A healthy lifestyle can also be helpful if you have a skin condition like acne, rosacea, or psoriasis: obviously, in this situation, you should be extra careful with your make-up, lotions, and beauty routine in general. Also, sometimes there are specific treatments to follow given by a dermatologist, considering that the reason behind these conditions can be different.

Remember that what worked for someone can be useless for you, or your skin can even react badly. That’s why is always better to do little patch tests on an arm when buying a new cream or make-up. Also “the more, the better” is not always true: putting too many products on your skin won’t make you look great faster – just find a few that work well for you and have a good list of ingredients, and use them on a daily basis. It’s like a healthy diet, you need to be consistent and slowly you will see results, but the body needs time to adapt!

7 basic tips for a healthy skin

1. Drink plenty of water: seems like the most useless advice, but it’s actually something good to remind. We are reading everywhere different pieces of advice related to health: drink this, drink that, drink those daily, a healthy shot of this, 10 glasses of that. Go back to the basics: are you drinking enough water? Your skin can tell you, also your lips, your digestive system, your ability to concentrate, your tiredness, and much more. Sometimes your body is telling you in many ways that you need more water – you should just pay more attention to the signs! There isn’t a fixed amount of water that is good for everyone, the classic rule of 8 glasses may not work for you. Consider how is your day, diet, exercise routine, etc. You will notice a big difference by start drinking more water: one of the first positive effects will be on your face’s skin!

2. Green tea: you can use it both as a beverage and as a skin treatment. It’s rich in antioxidants, that will help you fighting free-radicals and keeping a younger skin. Much research has been done about green tea, and the powerful effect of its catechins and polyphenols both for skin cells and protection from environmental damages has been proved. Using it topically, it will also help with inflammation and will give a good cleanse: you can make a concentrated cup of green tea, cool it down, and mix it with some aloe vera, then use as a cleanser with a cotton pad (after removing the makeup).

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3. Good fats: this is an important part of a balanced diet. Your body needs good fats: they are important for things like cells, metabolic processes, and vitamin absorption, just to name a few. Of course, you need them in the right amounts. Use extra virgin olive oil (that is also rich in vitamin E, great for skin), or nuts (for example almonds, that contain also minerals, vitamin A and E), or avocado (source of vitamin E, C, antioxidants, and vitamins from the B group), or seeds (source of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals).

4. Minerals: reduce sodium, go for fruit and vegetables rich in potassium (to keep a healthy sodium-potassium balance). Include foods rich in magnesium (that will also help with stress), and iron (lack of this mineral can give you a dry, itchy, aged skin). Overall, a good amount of minerals will help in keeping a radiant and hydrated skin. Green leafy vegetables, beetroots, spirulina, dried apricots, nuts, whole grains, cocoa powder, etc. are good vegetable sources of iron. Magnesium can be found in oats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, cocoa powder, etc. Examples of food rich in potassium are bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, apricots, etc.

5. De-stress: high levels of stress can mess up with your whole body, skin included. Find some relaxation techniques that work well for you, whether it’s yoga, meditation, cooking, reading, exercising, massage, or walking… find the most effective one (or ones) and include it in your daily routine. Stress is often related to emotional eating, digestive issues, lack of absorption of nutrients, high blood pressure, skin problems, etc. Also, staying active boosts your happiness-related hormones, helps to keep your digestive system working well, helps the body’s natural detox by sweating, etc.

6. Healthy gut: the more we know about our gut, the more we understand that there is a deep relationship between its health and our well-being. Your skin health is related to your internal balance because it’s related to diet, absorption of nutrients, hydration, hormones. Embrace a healthy lifestyle rich in fibre, fresh fruit, and vegetables, together with a variety of foods to get all the nutrients that you need daily. Include also healthy sources of probiotics, fermented foods, spices (like turmeric), and herbs.

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7. Exfoliate and massage: when doing a simple scrub, the important thing is using just a few basic ingredients that you know are good for your skin and don’t do this deep cleanse too often. You can easily prepare your own face scrub: taking inspiration from Ayurveda, you can use gram flour, honey, and rosewater. Or the simpler and cheaper option is using sugar as base. You can add spices like turmeric, but use small quantities and try it first on a small hidden piece of arm’s skin (it may be too much for a pale skin). By exfoliating, you will help your skin giving a breath of fresh air from dying cells, and you will also do a nice massage to stimulate the micro-circulation. To massage, or for a face mask (maybe together with honey), you can use coconut oil or ghee (they are both  rich in nutrients, that will help your skin in re-build a good external protective layer and will deeply nourish your skin): there are several kinds of oil/butter that you can use on your body or face skin, but among many options, these two are good alternatives both for nutrients (ghee is a staple in Ayurvedic treatments) and for adaptability to sensitive skin.

Fancy reading more about this topic? Below there are a few links to scientific publications related to skin health and some of the foods that are mentioned in the post.



 

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