Healthy Holiday Cheer
There are many special dishes and foods that evoke the holidays: holiday cookies and fruitcakes, hams and rich side dishes, even eggnog. But how many of these foods and drinks ultimately help you to feel good? December is fat with excesses in feasts, gatherings, and meals-on-the-run last minute shopping, leaving many limping along with viruses or just plain fatigue. Sometimes you need something that is delicious in a traditional, holiday way, but also has something to offer in terms supporting your health, like immune-boosting digestive herbs.
This sweet, warm milk recipe, reminiscent of eggnog, will aid the immune system and digest easily, and is spiced to infuse you with that essential holiday cheer. Cow's milk is the star of this drink and it is a supreme rasyana, or rejuvenator, aiding you through the chilly, demanding weeks of the holiday season. Just as milk nurtures a baby, it can satisfy yor every nutritional need. There are many misconceptions about milk and the best ways to consume it. Cow's milk is difficult to digest and many find it downright indigestible.
Wait! Doesn't Milk Cause Congestion?
Milk causes gas in people exhibiting Vata symptoms (debility, dryness, constipation, anxiety) because of their weak agni, or digestive fire. For those with a Kapha-type profile, perhaps tending toward excess weight, lethargy, and mucous buildup in the digestive tract, milk can trigger a lot of congestion. Gold milk, on the other hand, is readily absorb-able by Vata and actually destroys mucous in Kapha, making this essential nutritive tonic and rejuvenator a treat for all.
Here's how: Cinnamon and cardamom stimulate digestive activity and break up stomach mucous making the milk easy to digest. Once digested, nutrient-dense milk has a tendency to cool, congeal, and clog the blood. As circulation stagnates, the lungs, sinuses, and all empty cavities fill up with fluids, especially mucous. This kind of mucous lodges deep in the lungs and can be very difficult for Kapha individuals to expectorate.
The herb that gives this recipe its namesake, the golden turmeric, heats and thins the blood. Honey liquefies mucous, preventing the aforementioned circulatory stagnation and mucus. Thin blood circulates freely and makes a Kapha body warm-blooded during colder winter months!
Additionally, turmeric is a natural antibiotic and antimicrobial that is appropriate for even weak individuals. Cinnamon, the beloved spice that seems to have a place in all fall and winter desserts, can help with rebounding from the colds and flus that are as much a part of the holidays as caroling and jingle bells.
What About Raw Milk?
Many health-conscious people are enthusiastic about raw milk. Thus you be surprised to find out: Ayurveda recommends heating milk, even the prized raw milk. Bringing milk just momentarily to the boiling point breaks up difficult-to-digest molecules. While raw food experts say raw milk contains helpful digestive enzymes, Ayurveda recommends cooking all milk before eating. There is no right answer. Try both and find out what your body prefers.
Sourcing cow's milk from an organic dairy, and preparing the milk correctly for digestion, makes this treasured tonic available to many. Warmed and properly spiced milk enhances the effect of herbs in medicinal preparations, deeply nourishing all tissues, and aiding in calming raw nerves. This heavy, grounding, nutritious soothing beverage helps to heal and build healthy tissue. Gold milk will smooth the bumps of a turbulent and joyous month, supporting good digestion and just plain tasting delicious. This recipe is bound to be a favorite for all, creating whole new culinary holiday memories. A holiday drink that tastes great, keeps illness away, and makes you feel good? It's a gift for the whole family. Spice it right, and reconsider milk!
Comments & Impressions of 'gold milk'
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(4.88 out of 5 stars) 16 reviews
can we have this before going to bed?
- julie, Bangalore, 02-18-10
This is now my all-time favorite cuddle-up-on-the-couch-in-front-of-a-fire drink! Very tasty and makes me feel warm and cozy inside and out!
Yes Julie, we can have this before going to bed. It will promote sleep.
I've recently found out that I am allergic to milk protein, so any milk products containing whey make me break out in a rash. Could I substitute Soy or Almond milk instead of Cow's milk??
- steve, Hamilton, ON, 04-15-10
All my life I have had trouble with milk and it wasn't until I began to understand Ayurvedic principles that I could take and enjoy milk! What about Buffalo milk? Is the same treatment required? ( I am getting buffalo milk where I am now)
- Di, Almora, 04-24-10
I made this with plain soy milk and it turned out fantastic! Thanks for such a great recipe. :)
- Michelle, Winston-salem, NC, 11-01-10
Steve, you could certainly substitute other forms of "milk" for regular dairy, but the underlying principles are simply to modify an existing food product in a way that makes it more digestible for the general population. I suspect that your allergic reaction is a symptom of deeper systemic toxicity, but if soy or almond milk do not cause digestive distress, you probably do not need to make a "gold" version of them to enjoy them. This recipe certainly is tasty and will do no harm to you, but it is meant specifically to "denature" some of the more difficulty aspect of milk for those who have non-allergic reactions to consuming it. Bright blessings!
- Stephen, El paso, TX, 12-23-11
Can a mix this combo with my Quionoa in the AM to have a more digestable milk? Or do you not suggest mixing the combo. What about this in the AM with an apple?
- Antoinette, Noumea, 03-20-12
Does the pasteurization process make the milk more easily digested? Scott, 09-16-12
- Scott Murn, 09-16-12
how many times can you drink the golden milk?
- cynthia, 11-11-12
how many times shuld take and which time also?
- bichitra, 11-20-12
Since these ingredients are all natural and with minimal processing, you can follow your natural cravings - as long as they aren't emotionally based. Otherwise, once a day is probably enough - before bed is a good time.
Isn't that considered heating the honey? Shouldn't you use sugar?
- Lisa, Nicasio, CA, 12-13-12
Is this drink not recommended for Pittas?
- Murrill, 12-13-12
I usually add some saffron threads and a bit of cloves to this for flavor.
- Bhairavi Gabrielle Jones, CA, 12-13-12
@ Lisa - Warming honey is okay - but not cooking it. It depends on the temperature of the milk. @Bhairavi - Great suggestions!
Where do I get a similar cup? It's so nice !
Thanks for the recipe-it's delicious and comforting.
if raw cow's milk is unavailable where I live, can just organic pasteurized cow's milk be used?
- sammy, HI, 12-17-12
Pasteurized cow's milk is simple cooked cow's milk - it will not affect the results of this recipe. However, most pasteurized cow's milk tends to homogenized as well. Homogenized milk causes digestive problems and should be avoided.
Always loved warm milk before bed and this lovely concoction takes it to he next level!
Ive been drinking this before bedtime, for more than 5 years. I use Almond milk or Coconut milk because I don't drink cow milk. I add a touch of ginger, too, and grind my own Ceylon cinnamon and cardamom.
Is the drink with all it's ingredients OK for vata-constitution or should vatas omit honey from the recipe?
- Valves Gunnarsson, Reykjavík, 04-19-13
This was recommended to me by my Ayurvedic therapist or the 'grounding' qualities as my vata is completely unbalanced.. I can't believe how delicious it is! So nourishing and comforting. Thank you! I love this website and the recipes.
can we use this recipe with commercially available pasteurised, homogenised, standardised cow milk?
Thank you for this lovely holiday gift. Delicious!
Dear Lavanya, Homogenized milk may create digestive problems, as the altered milk fat molecules are absorbed directly by the intestines without proper digestion. Pasteurized milk is okay though.
Dear Valves, Yes - since milk pacifies Vata, Vata people can safely enjoy honey in this recipe.
Yet another fantastic recipe! What a great and helpful website! Thanks for being there!! - Den M.
Can I use goats milk?
- mari1804, 12-12-13
We have not tried goat's milk....give us an update if you try it.
We have not tried goat's milk....give us an update if you try it.
as yummy as i expected. added 1/8 tsp. ground ginger and used raw milk from my goat.
Hi Y'all - pasteurization heats just to below boiling temp, and makes the milk proteins glom together, harder to digest. At home, we can take it up to boil three times, to break up the proteins into smaller molecules again. That is, let it climb the pot, slide pot off burner to drop the froth, then slide back on and repeat 2X more. Per Dr. RamaKant Mishra. I find it helps me personally. Am sensitive to the whey, though the spices and making sure it is not low fat milk also helps. Mari, Goat milk is lighter, drier, more astringent, with diff properties. It is more suited to Kaphas and to those with more ama. It is still yummy this way, needing less spices. If using, I prefer it plain, in summer, or with something to make it thicker and more soothing to Vata in winter. A tsp of ghee in either type of milk is especially nice at night, or to build ojas even better, add ghee, a few almonds, and a couple soaked medjool dates (or as desired) and few threads saffron. Blend a little of the milk with the nuts and dates, then add the rest so it doesn't spit, you know? Yum!
Thank you for all this info John! Also a thank you to Ysha Oakes for your comment / info too.
Lovely and filling -- a nice pre-bedtime drink.
My favourite evening drink, thank you :)