05 March 2014

February is for Heartbreak

February is the month of love. Thanks to that one singular day smack dab in the middle the whole month is flavored with gushy notions of love. Normally I get caught up in the hype, decorate the house, bake treats – but not this year! Nope. February has been a month of heartache and break-ups. It has been a rough month which has wiped me out emotionally. Saying a fond farewell to a long-term relationship was not easy, and there hasn’t been a day yet that I haven’t thought longingly about reuniting. Fantasized, really. I have gone so far as to live vicariously through others – and I must say it isn’t nearly as satisfying. During a snow weekend a few weeks ago I was out for a walk in the freezing cold, enjoying the beautiful white world, when I caught a hint of my forsaken love and it brought me to a full stop. I stood there on the sidewalk, in the snow, breathing deeply to a point of near euphoria. My resolve to end the relationship was worn thin and stretched almost to the breaking point. It was only a sense of social norms that kept me from walking up to the house from which the heavenly scent was coming from and asking for a cup of coffee.

Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about coffee.

Even though I have an obsessive love for that versatile bean, I decided to have a trial separation which started February 1st. I still long, yearn, and crave coffee.

On February 1st I started the auto-immune paleo protocol (AIP for short) which eliminates all high inflammation triggers such as coffee, chocolate, dairy, grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, nightshades, etc. It’s challenging, especially since it means I am making food from scratch for every single meal. (Although there is an awesome food cart called “Cultured Caveman” that has delicious food that is “safe” and has become my Friday treat.) It is a good thing I enjoy cooking because these days just about all my spare time is spent in the kitchen. But of all the things I gave up, coffee has been the hardest.

To help ease the transition, I have been making this weird “drink” that is surprisingly tasty. I found the inspiration on Mark’s Daily Apple. But have tweaked it to my own liking. Here is my variation:

Niffer's Warming Tea
1 Can of whole coconut milk
½ can of water
½ - 1 tablespoon of turmeric
1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated
½ tablespoon of cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons of honey
(Tip: buy fresh ginger, peel it when you get home then stick it in the freezer. When you need ginger for a recipe, grate the frozen ginger using a Microplane grater and you end up with finely ‘shredded’ ginger.)

Place everything into a pot and mix well. The turmeric will turn it bright yellow – be careful – turmeric will stain!! Heat on a low simmer for at least a half hour. Pour, and enjoy!

I leave the pot simmering and sip on small mugs of it during the day. Sometimes I add more honey when I need a sweet fix. Other days I add less water and have a more decadent drink. I've also mixed it up without the water and kept in the fridge overnight and make a mug by using the coconut milk mix and boiling water.

It sounds like a weird concoction but I made my mom try it and even she liked it (I’m still working on her to give kombucha and my homemade ginger kraut another try). Really, it’s a super healthy drink – coconut milk is chock full of good stuff, ginger is great for your digestive system, turmeric is a wonder spice that alleviates inflammation and can help fight cancer, cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and is anti-bacterial, honey is anti-bacterial and soothing. Plus, it has a strong taste and a full mouth feel that mimics my coffee and cream. There are days when I actually crave this drink now. 

While I do hope that my break-up with coffee (and chocolate, and dairy, and nuts... everything that's off limits) isn't forever, for now we are total splitsville. What keeps me going is that I am actually starting to see small improvements. 
Dear Coffee, please just don't say good-bye forever. I miss you horribly. Really it's not you, it's me. I just need some time to heal, but I've never stopped loving you. I hope we can get back together real soon, because breaking up is hard to do.  Much love, Niff  xoxoxoxoxoxo