It’s officially pumpkin spice season and I am definitely not mad about it. I have been on the pumpkin spice train since I can remember. It truly is my favorite blends of spices and there is actually a reason our bodies crave it this time of here. We are moving from the warmer months where our bodies get heat from the outside to the cooler months where we need to create that heat from the inside out. This time of year it is important to switch our diet from cooling to warming. Eating more winter squash, warming spices and cooked foods.
As you may have noticed, your body is naturally drawn to these types of foods and spices. Your body starts to crave that pumpkin spice. Here’s why:
Pumpkin spice traditionally has cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Some recipes omit or add different spices, but I wanted to give you some information as to why your body is craving these spices:
Cinnamon is a warming spice that is also high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, balances blood sugar and has been found to fight bacterial and fungal infections as well as having an anti-viral effect. This spice packs a punch, especially during cold and fly season. Inflammation in the body weakens the immune system leading to illness. By incorporating cinnamon you are providing your body with the extra support it needs to fight off cold and flu during the colder months.
One of the best spices for digestion, ginger can help ease nausea, calm inflammation in the body and help with menstrual cramps. It is a warming spice that particularly warms the digestive system to help aid in digestion and fights indigestion. It also helps to fight infection.
High in antioxidants, kills bacteria and helps to improve liver health. It is also a natural analgesic (pain killer) and can treat toothaches and oral pain.
Cardamom is one of my all time favorite spices. It is in the ginger family and has many of the same properties: anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, anti-bacterial and treats infection. It also helps to fight cavities and bad breath, has a neutralizing effect on acidity in the body and can even help to treat anxiety.
Also a natural pain reliever as well as helps with oral and digestive health. It too has an amazing effect on your anxiety and insomnia. This little nugget packs a punch and in high doses can be toxic to the body, so a little goes a long way.
You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now: all of these spices help aid in digestion, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and help to fight or treat viral or bacterial infections. All of these things are what can lead to weakness in the immune system. If you start the season off by loading your body up on things that support you immune system then if you do get sick, your body will have the support it needs to move through the illness more quickly.
So enough with why we crave all these things, where’s the recipe?
To make this latte extra special, I added a few immune boosting adaptogens. If you don’t have these, you can just omit them, but I will say that during cold and flu season, I always have these three around.
Astragalus for a power immune boost
Ashwagandha to strengthen the adrenal and nervous system. It’s a warming adaptogen so its perfect to add this time of year. This adaptogen helps to balance the whole body and give strength.
Reishi to fight fatigue, inflammation, provide adrenal support and help with anxiety and depression (use code bodyblisslife for a discount)
This latte is a great way to start your day or make with decaf coffee and use as your afternoon pick me up. I used organic pureed pumpkin from Trader Joe’s. You could also roast a sugar pumpkin at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and use in place of the canned pumpkin (yum!). I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. It truly satisfies all my cravings (and quite honestly is WAY better) for that overly sweet, pumpkin-less alternative.
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup homemade nut milk (or your favorite store bought)
1 T pumpkin puree
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
a pinch of ground clove, nutmeg and fennel seeds (fennel seeds are optional, but add a lovely flavor)
splash of vanilla
pinch of himalayan pink salt
1/2-1 Date (or 1 tsp honey or maple. You could also use stevia)
1 tsp-1 T ghee or coconut butter
1/2 tsp astragalus, reishi and ashwagandha
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the nut milk, spices, pumpkin, sweetener of choice, vanilla and salt. Whisk until hot, but not boiling. In a high speed blender add the milk blend, coffee, adaptogens and ghee. Blend on high for about 30 seconds until everything is combined. Pour into your favorite fall mug and enjoy.
Notes: If you don’t want to use all the individual spices you can use a pumpkin pie spice mix. Natural Grocer’s has a great one in their bulk section. I would say use 1/2 to 1 tsp of the blend depending on how spicy you like it.
To make your own ghee at home (its’ super easy), check out THIS blog post.
To make your own nut milk, check out THIS post.