Times are tense right now and there's a lot of us out there dealing with feelings of frustration, anger, fear, helplessness, and despair. It's hard not to get sucked up or overwhelmed by these emotions, but I'm learning one of the best ways to deal with them is channeling them into taking positive, meaningful action to move forward and create a better world.

Along with taking action I think it's important to find ways to lift each other and ourselves up on a daily basis. Now more than ever we need to take care of ourselves and spread as much love as possible in this world. We need to practice gratitude and cultivate joy daily in our lives, which rubs off on others and inspires them to do the same.

Sometimes this starts with the simplest of things, like calling a friend to tell them how much you appreciate them, taking a walk outside (without your phone) and totally unplugging, or making a meal for someone you care about.

In this case, it's creating a healing and stress-reducing tonic in order to calm and relax your mind and body. So you can spend less time dealing with stress and anxiety, and regain the energy and mental clarity you need to take positive action and create meaningful change for your family, your community, and your country.

My go-to morning ritual to get me into a calm and focused state includes meditation (I use the Headspace app) and whipping up this stress-reducing lavender latte. Not only is it abundant in numerous powerful ingredients that taste delicious, but it actually psychologically and physiologically drastically reduces the effects of stress.

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True story: Lavender helps the brain to halt production of the chemicals that cause negative or stressed emotions, helping you restore a sense of calm, while the adaptogenic mushroom reishi has a normalizing effect on the body. This means if the immune system is depressed, adaptogens enhance the immune response. If the immune system is overactive, for instance with inflammation, adaptogens help re-regulate the immune response, decreasing overactivity, thus majorly restoring balance in your bod.

Besides relieving stress and boosting the immune system, reishi specifically helps to protect the liver, improve circulation, and protect against radiation, free radicals, and other environmental stressors.

Oh and let's not forget this latte gets its creamy taste and texture from nutrient-dense nuts rather than inflammation-inducing dairy. Finished off with a touch of sweetness from dates and vanilla bean, it's the ultimate dreamy, creamy concoction when you're in need of some serious Zen vibes.

Stress-Reducing Lavender Vanilla Latte + Homemade Nut Milk

Serves 2 to 4

Lavender Vanilla Nut Milk Ingredients

  • 4½ cup filtered water
  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup raw Brazil nuts
  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • ½ teaspoon dried lavender
  • ½ vanilla bean pod or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 dates pitted and chopped
  • pinch pink Himalayan sea salt

Stress-Reducing Latte Ingredients

  • 2 cups drip coffee or 2 shots espresso (leave out if making as a relaxing bedtime tonic)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, MCT oil, or coconut butter
  • 2 dates pitted and chopped or 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon raw honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1 packet reishi mushroom powder (I use Four Sigmatic Reishi Mushroom Elixir)

Method

  1. The day before, add ALL lavender vanilla nut milk ingredients into a large bowl and cover. Let sit at room temperature overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours (the soaking not only infuses all the flavors but ensures proper digestion of the nuts by removing phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors).
  2. After soaking, transfer all the nut milk ingredients into a blender and blend until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Once blended, grab your bowl you used to soak your nuts and either a nut milk bag or fine-mesh strainer. This is an important step to strain out the pulp/remnants for a silky, smooth, and true "milky" texture. You can purchase nut milk bags online. Pour from blender through strainer and back into bowl or container.
  4. Either drink plain and chilled or pour into a pan over the stovetop if making a latte/warming tonic. Add in latte ingredients and heat over medium heat until warmed. Pour back into blender to get everything well mixed and frothy. Enjoy!

Bonus Tips:

  • Store remaining milk in a clean jar or container in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • You can also make this into a delicious mocha by adding 1 tablespoon cacao powder OR indulgent lavender hot chocolate by adding 1 tablespoon cacao powder and simply leaving out the coffee/espresso.
  • Leave out the espresso at night and drink as a warming and relaxing bedtime tonic.
  • You can use one type of nut if you don't feel like purchasing all three. My favorite is the Brazil nut, both flavor-profile and nutrient-wise.

Sending virtual Zen vibes to all!


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