Maybe you’ve heard of golden milk—maybe you haven’t. I like to think of it as an anti-inflammatory, caffeine-free chai. Yes, it’s very comforting and tasty. And yes, it is fantastic for you.
Golden milk, although a traditional beverage, has gained momentum recently. Its profound body benefits are finally being acknowledged. It is even showing up at some of my favorite coffee shops. But you may be a little weary of a turmeric beverage. After all, drinking turmeric? Ick… Hear me out.
Turmeric is an incredible spice for your health. Curcumin, the potent anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric, has been researched in conjunction with several hundreds of different ailments and diseases, often yielding positive results. Poor memory? Joint pain? Allergies? Blood sugar issues? Believe it or not, turmeric has been shown to be helpful for all of these ailments. Turmeric boasts antioxidant and anticancer properties, as well as improves and supports immunity, healthy cholesterol levels, liver detoxification, metabolic regulation, blood pressure regulation, skin health, and more. Yes, if there is one spice to add to your wellness protocol, it should probably be turmeric.
But instead of just sprinkling turmeric everywhere, you need to be conscious of how you are consuming it. On its own, curcumin isn’t readily absorbed by the body. That’s where golden paste comes in. Traditionally, golden paste combines turmeric, coconut oil, and black pepper. While this may seem like an odd combination, it is incredibly powerful.
When consumed together, black peppercorns increase your body’s absorption of turmeric by 1,000 to 2,000 percent! This is due to black pepper’s piperine, the compound responsible for black pepper’s pungency. As for the coconut oil, curcumin is fat-soluble. This means that if you do not consume it with a fat source, your body will have a difficult time digesting and absorbing it. With turmeric, black pepper, and coconut oil, golden paste allows you to absorb the most curcumin your body possibly can, meaning you get all of those tasty anti-inflammatory benefits.
This is why traditional curries are so healthful—they contain turmeric along with an oil and black pepper. But you probably don’t want to eat curry every single day. And yet you’d like to reap the benefits of turmeric in a more palatable way than just scooping the pungent golden paste into your mouth. Well, the answer is golden milk. A traditional Ayurvedic beverage, golden milk takes golden paste and turns it into a warming, comforting, nourishing beverage. Here’s a simple recipe to make your own golden milk:
Golden Milk Recipe
2 c. unsweetened, non-dairy milk (coconut, flax, almond, macadamia, et cetera)
1/4 tsp. golden paste (see below for recipe) (you can pre-make it in bulk and store it in the fridge)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
cinnamon stick (optional)
raw honey (to taste, optional)
Combine all ingredients except raw honey in a saucepan and simmer on low heat until warm and homogenous.
Take off heat and stir in honey, if using.
Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy, or let chill in the fridge and enjoy over ice! Enjoy the health benefits of golden paste, along with the blood sugar balancing qualities of cinnamon and digestion-improving ginger.
Beware: you may be tempted to ditch your coffee habit for this delicious and warming beverage instead. For best results, enjoy a 1/4 teaspoon of golden milk or golden paste 2 to 3 times each day. You can also toss the paste into rice, peanut butter, guacamole, or yogurt, if you’re looking for additional ways to get your turmeric fix. But, nothing quite beats starting or finishing a long autumn day with a comforting mug of golden milk. Especially if you wake up the next day feeling a little less achy and a little more vibrant.
For those of you who love chai like I do, you can also just add golden paste to your chai when you make it. I make my chai a gallon at a time and consume it during the week. Here is my recipe for what I call golden chai:
1 gal. purified water
12 black tea bags or a comparable amount of loose tea
8-12 cardamom pods
10 black peppercorns
1 T. anise seed
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 T. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Golden Paste
milk of choice
sweetener of choice if desired
If using loose tea, place it in a tea ball or tea bag that can be cinched tightly. Place all of the other spices, except the cinnamon sticks in a separate tea ball or bag. Bring water to a boil then remove from heat and add all ingredients (tea bags or ball of loose tea and tea ball of spices) except vanilla to the hot water and steep for 2 minutes. Remove the tea bags or ball of loose tea, but allow the spice ball to continue to steep in the tea until the water cools. Add vanilla and store tea in a glass container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When ready to drink tea simply pour or ladle into a mug and heat if desired, add any sweetener desired and stir in golden paste and then milk. Enjoy! This beverage is good heated or chilled, but just know that it is hard to get golden paste and sweetener to dissolve into liquid if not heated, so if you plan to drink this chilled you may have to heat to get sweetener and golden paste into solution and then add ice to chill.
This recipe also makes a great base for smoothies and I will release more recipes for these in the future.
Try this simple recipe to make your own Golden Paste at home.
¼ cup ground turmeric powder
½ cup water
1 tsp. Black pepper
2 Tbls. extra virgin olive or coconut oil.
In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer the water and turmeric for 5-10 minutes. Stir the mixture frequently to avoid sticking, adding more water if the paste becomes too thick.
Remove the paste from the heat, and stir in pepper and oil.
Let cool, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
Once you prepare a jar of golden paste, you can begin to take 2-3 ¼ tsp. doses throughout the day to reduce inflammation and promote healing. If you’re struggling to mask the intense flavor of the paste, try some of these taste-taming ideas:
Stir ¼ tsp of paste into 2 tbsp. peanut butter, and spread it on toast or crackers.
Stir ¼ tsp of paste into a small dish of plain or vanilla yogurt, (add an optional drizzle of honey).
Stir ½ tsp. of paste into a cup of brown rice during cooking.
Stir ¼ tsp. into a cup of warm, sweetened almond milk.
Take it like a supplement: swallow ¼ tsp. of paste along with a gulp of water.