A Healthy and Delicious Coffee Alternative: Dandelion and Ashwaganda Latte
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
When I gave up coffee several years ago it felt (and still feels) wonderful to get up in the morning and not have to grope my way to the coffee maker. However it took a long time to find a morning drink that really satisfied me. When your body depends on stimulants to wake it up and keep it going, and when you keep pouring in those stimulants every day, sooner or later you run into adrenal fatigue. If you are tired all the time and you never allow yourself to rest, chances are you suffer from it. One sign is nagging lower back pain. The bottom line is, if you want to get healthy and stay healthy you must allow your body time to rest and recuperate when it feels tired rather than cramming it full stimulants. An occasional cup of coffee on a special occasion is okay now and then but depending on coffee for your vital life force energy is a bad idea even though, unfortunately, that's what most of us do.
So here is an idea for a tasty and delicious drink that will help you get over the cravings for caffeine. Even if you can't bring yourself to give up coffee, this is a great drink to take at bedtime to help you sleep well or any time during the day when you just want a refresh. It has a unique flavor of its own so don't expect it to taste like coffee.
This drink has several really-good-for-you ingredients: dandelion root, ashwaganda, almonds, cashews, cardamom, nutmeg and raw, unfiltered honey. In combination these ingredients support digestive health, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, lower stress, and support weight loss. They are packed with anti-oxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, manganese as well as essential fats that support brain health and heart health. You can't get that from coffee.
Here's how to make it:
Add 1-2 tablespoons of roasted dandelion root to a blank teabag or tea ball and put in a teapot.
Add several grates of fresh nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or 2 cardamom pods
Add 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of ashwaganda powder.
Pour in boiling water to fill the teapot.
Let the tea brew for at least 10 minutes. You can leave it on the warmer ring of your stove if you have one.
Using a milk frother, froth up a small amount of almond and cashew milk (homemade is best)
Pour the milk into a mug and top up with tea. Add a teaspoon of honey or to taste.
Enjoy your latte.
Dandelion Root: I buy the raw bulk roots and roast them myself. It costs substantially less to do that but you can also buy them roasted. I spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them on 300 (F) for 20 minutes. I live at 6300 feet. If you live closer to sea level try 250 (F) for 15-20 minutes. Dandelion root is on the top ten list of essential Chinese herbs for good health. It supports liver and digestive functions. The liver is like grand central station of the body. It works really hard to keep your body working properly. Keeping it healthy is vital to your overall health.
Ashwaganda Root: You can use the powder or the root pieces. Ashwaganda is expensive if you buy it as a supplement but its quite cheap to buy ashwaganda in bulk from a herbal store and you can then use it in soups, stews, casseroles, teas, smoothies etc. Ashwaganda is called an adaptogenic herb which means it supports the nervous system. Ashwaganda has many health benefits and among them it helps to lower the stress hormone, cortisol. This means it supports weight loss and reduces the results of physical and emotional stress in the body.
Almonds and Cashews: I make my own nut milk using 50% almonds and 50% cashews. I use almonds for their abundance of health supporting properties. Almonds are higher in calcium per ounce than cow's milk and they are high in protein but they have a strong, unique flavor. This is why I blend them with cashews. Cashews have a mild, creamy flavor and are packed with essential minerals, just like almonds. Cashews are high in copper and iron, essential for healthy red blood cell development and they are also high in magnesium. Together almonds and cashews support healthy bones and bone marrow. Nut milks from the grocery store have too many thickeners and preservatives. You can look up how to make your own nut milk online. It's very easy. I make it fresh once a week but you can also freeze it. I use a greek yogurt strainer to filter the milk. It's so much easier than a nut milk bag. It is easy to clean and it does a fast job of straining the nutmilk.
Honey: Natural, raw and unfiltered honey provides energy, boosts the immune system and supports a good night's sleep. Honey also helps to overcome pollen allergies (getting rid of processed food in the diet also helps a lot with allergies). Commercial honey has been heat treated and refined is no better than regular sugar. Look for honey in a container you can dig a spoon into. You can tell a good honey because it crystallizes. Don't microwave your honey! That kills the enzymes, but instead, use a spoon to scoop it out and allow it to remain crystallized. It's much better for you that way. Honey will melt even in cold liquid if you can be patient and give it a stir.
Cardamom and Nutmeg: Cardamom has lots of anti-oxidants and supports good digestive health. Nutmeg is a carminative spice that also supports good digestion. Nutmeg is calming and has trace minerals too. It works with ashwaganda to reduce stress and lower cholesterol and, like ashwaganda, will support sleeping well if you drink your latte in the evening before bed. I grind whole nutmeg using a dedicated nutmeg grinder but you can also use ground nutmeg.