Coffee was my fuel of choice. I used to work in marketing for a tech company and flew back and forth between Asia and the US. Coffee saved me on those red-eye flights and trade shows.
But those days of climbing the corporate ladder are behind me and I’ve ditched the blazers and heels for cotton shirts and comfy socks. But that coffee habit was hard to break.
When I first began teaching yoga, I was dashing to several yoga studios and gyms in a day. I convinced myself that coffee helped me commute to each venue and keep my energy up for each dynamic vinyasa class.
As my journey to be a better-informed yoga teacher and practitioner deepened, I knew I had to make serious changes to my food and beverage choices. Without going too detailed into Ayurveda, which is the sister science of yoga, I discovered that coffee is one of the worst things I could consume to put my system out of whack.
You see, according to Ayurveda, I have a vata dosha. This means the elements that make up my constitution are mainly air and space. So I’m more sensitive than others to stimulants like caffeine.
Cutting out spicy food, garlic, tomatoes, and my beloved coffee, did wonders for my health.
In addition to following the Ayurvedic guidelines for my dosha, I also made the decision to go plant-based with my food choices. I personally use the term “plant based” rather vegan because I find it less emotionally charged.
Whatever your reasons for going plant-based (or not) are your own. No judgements from me. As a yoga practitioner, I follow ahimsa which means non-violence and compassion for all — including those who have different lifestyle choices from mine.
So, given my vata dosha and choice to go plant-based in my diet, what to do without the convenience of yummy Starbucks lattes for my caffeine and sweet tooth fix?
I wanted to find drinks that could give me the same energy boost and internal heating effects without coffee. I turned again to Ayurveda and found some great recipes that I could easily adapt to make at home with plant-based milks.
(If strictly following Ayurveda, plant-based milk substitutes cannot completely replace cow’s milk. But we can come close to it in terms of nutrition.)
Most store-bought plant-based milks have added sweeteners so check the labels to find out how much sugar is put into it and if the sweetener is artificial or natural.
If you make your own plant-based milk, most recipes list dates as a sweetener. But you can experiment with sweet veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes to add flavor and extra vitamins and minerals into your homemade plant-based milk.
I like to mix up my nuts and proteins when I make my own milk because different ingredients will have different properties based on Ayurveda. For example, coconut milk is cooling and most nut-based milks are heat-generating. Obtain a balance of these qualities by combining them. This will also help to customize the taste of the milk to how you like it.
Now on to the lattes!
Golden milk has somewhat of a cult following. It has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s one of the most well-known Ayurvedic recipes that is suitable for all dosha types.
Here is my simple Golden Milk recipe:
- 1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced (or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder)
- ¼ inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1-2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup of nut milk of your choice
- 1 pinch of pepper
- Sweetener of your choice
Place the turmeric, ginger, and nut milk in a saucepan and bring it to just below boiling.
Lower the heat and simmer for three to five minutes.
Strain into a cup. Add the coconut oil and just a pinch of black pepper.
Stir in sweetener if desired and drink while hot.
This spicy latte caters to my coffee cravings because of the taste of the roasted rice. And ginger is the perfect spice to boost your immunity and keep you warm during the cold winter months.
First, you will need to pre-make the rice “coffee.”
- Approximately 1 cup of uncooked rice (I prefer basmati but any variety will do)
Working with one tablespoon at a time, place uncooked rice grains in a pan over low heat.
Use a wooden spoon to stir them around to ensure they roast evenly. Continue until they turn dark brown.
Remove and add another tablespoon of rice and repeat the process.
Do this enough times to fill a small jar. You can keep this at room temperature for one week or up to a month in the fridge.
Now you have an easy decaf substitute that tastes like coffee for this immunity-boosting ginger latte.
- ½ inch ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 tsp. rice coffee (or any herbal coffee substitute)
- 1 cup of plant-based milk
- Sweetener of your choice
Put the ginger and plant-based milk in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling.
Lower the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
Strain into a cup. Stir in the rice coffee and sweetener according to your taste.
Serve and enjoy while hot.