Spiced milk is a truly delicious treat that promotes sound, sweet sleep when drunk at night (especially when made with nutmeg). This is the only substance Ayurveda recommends consuming just before sleeping. You can also enjoy it anytime — in the morning for breakfast, or as a lunch or dinner meal substitute. When consumed during the day, it will give you energy and strength.
This special milk gives your mind a wonderful feeling of clarity, balance, and peacefulness, called sattva in Sanskrit. What’s more, according to Ayurveda, warm milk is the best aphrodisiac food, helps delay the aging process, reduces constipation (it has a mild laxative effect and hence is not recommended if you have diarrhea), and soothes your heart and bleeding conditions. I drink it daily. I’m officially in love with it.
Note: Enjoy this recipe as a meal by itself, or at least 3 hours after your last meal. (Remember: milk is not compatible with meat, fish, lentils, fruits, or vegetables.) If you find cow’s milk too heavy, the best alternative is goat’s milk. However, many who are lactose intolerant find they can digest spiced milk. If your digestion is strong, you can simply warm 1 cup of milk; you don’t need to add water or reduce the mixture.
2 cups organic whole cow’s milk
8 cups water (optional; see note above)
4–6 saffron threads
4–6 crushed green cardamom pods
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
Pinch of dry ginger powder (optional)
Pinch of nutmeg powder (optional; only at night)
2–4 teaspoons organic sugar (optional)
1. Place the milk and water, if using, in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Crush the saffron with your fingertips as you add it to the milk.
3. Add the cardamom and turmeric, and the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, if using, and then increase the heat to high.
4. When the milk starts boiling, reduce the heat slightly and stir periodically to make sure the milk doesn’t boil over. If using water, cook until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 45 minutes. If not using water, allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain if needed.
5. Stir in the sugar, if using, and enjoy when sufficiently cooled.
Excerpted from The Ayurveda Way, © by Ananta Ripa Ajmera, photography by © Liz Daly, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
This original healhy living article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.