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5 Warm, Delicious & Chemical Free Vegan Homemade Drinks To Replace Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Why indulge in overpriced, sugary drinks when you can make tastier, healthier ones at home?

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Autumn is upon us here in North America, and that means fast-food chain marketers are set to enter a pumpkin spiced frenzy, playing well into our desires to snuggle up with a hot cup of ‘something’ in hand. Establishments like Starbucks, for example, offer seasonal beverages like the ever-anticipated Pumpkin Spiced Latte — a drink that, despite its virtuous sounding name, contains 50g of sugar (in a grande) and natural flavours. For the most part, when you order any pumpkin spiced delights, what you’re getting is an abundant amount of sugar, which makes them taste good, and genetically modified ingredients, which makes them cheap to manufacture.

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The best way to avoid consuming drinks that are high in sugar and animal fat? Make them yourself of course! The key to these recipes is ensuring that you are starting from scratch with whole ingredients. Sure, you can go out and buy a pre-made packet, but these are unlikely to offer you that powerfully warming, cozy feeling you’ve been craving!

Turmeric Latte 

This drink will provide all the spice you need this fall to keep you warm, all while helping to keep inflammation down. Turmeric contains anti-tumour, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, along with a hefty dose of antioxidants. We already have a lovely turmeric smoothie you can try out here and a Golden Milk recipe here.Ingredients
(1 serving)

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup organic full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (substitute with 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch each of black pepper, sea salt, and ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and gently warm while stirring with a spoon to combine.
  2. Carefully transfer hot liquid into a high-speed blender.
  3. Blend mixture on high for about 30 seconds, until frothy. Serve hot and drink immediately. Note – rinse your blender ASAP too, so you don’t stain it turmeric hued!

Thanks to Kate from Organic Authority for the recipe!

Chai Latte

Another Indian treasure, chai is even more flavourful than turmeric alone, with six spices combined. Chai also comes with a number of its own benefits, like improving digestion, enhancing the immune system, and fighting inflammation, along with its own dose of antioxidants. If you’d like another chai recipe, you can try out our Apple Chai Granola Recipe to go along with your yummy latte.

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Ingredients
(2 servings)

  • For the Chai Spice Mix (yields ⅓ cup):
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • For the Vegan Chai Lattes:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 black tea bags
  • 2 tablespoons chai spice mix (see above)
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full-fat), or other non-dairy milk
 Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until fully combined. Store in an airtight plastic bag or glass jar.
  2. In a small saucepan, place water, tea bags, and 2 tablespoons chai spice mix. Bring to a boil; put the lid on, remove from heat, and let it steep for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags and stir. Pour equally into two mugs. Sweeten with 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup in each latte.
  4. Pour ½ cup milk into each mug; stir until well combined. Garnish with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice mix.
  5. *Optional: Instead of pouring the tea into two mugs, pour the maple syrup and coconut milk into the pot and warm over low heat. Then separate the mix into two mugs and serve.
 Thanks to Emilie from Emilie Eats for this tasty recipe!

Mulled Cranberry Cider

Now this is more of a specialty drink, but also quite potent. Cranberries help to lower the risk of urinary tract infections, improve immune function, and decrease blood pressure. They also helps prevent certain types of cancer, particularly of the breast, thanks to the presence of polyphenols.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of cranberry juice (not cocktail, just cranberry juice)
  • 8 cups of good apple cider (get it fresh from the farm if you can)
  • 2-4 T brown sugar
    4 cinnamon sticks
  • Allspice (just a pinch in)
  • 8 whole cloves
  • Slices of orange

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, combine the cranberry juice and apple cider.
  2. Stir in brown sugar.
  3. Add cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and orange.
  4. Heat until it almost boils and then reduce it to simmer.
  5. Taste it and if it needs a little more sugar or whatever you can add to it.
  6. Strain out your cloves and cinnamon sticks before you serve.

Thanks to Melissa from The Inspired Room for this creative recipe!

Hot Chocolate

This wouldn’t be a proper list of delicious hot food beverages if chocolate weren’t included, and more specifically, cacao. Amazingly, cacao contains bioactive ingredients called flavanols that help to reverse the memory decline that comes with age. Cacao helps to relieve stress, lower cholesterol, and improve brain power, and it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any food. It’s also loaded with minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, fibre, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium.

Ingredients
(2 servings)

  • One 13.5 oz can “lite” coconut milk (this truly is the best milk to make hot chocolate, I would advise against subbing as others I’ve tried were not good. Lite leaves NO coconut taste!)
  • 2 tablespoons (12 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 heaping tablespoons (40 g) semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 1-2 tablespoons (20 g) maple syrup, depending on your sweet-o-meter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso or instant coffee (you can leave out if you want, it just makes the chocolate flavor stronger)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Optional: whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, etc.

Instructions

  1. If you have a Vitamix, then add all of the ingredients to the blender and blend for a few minutes on high until completely smooth and frothy. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, then add all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to a blender or food processor and process until smooth and frothy. It will only get frothy on a high speed and after a few minutes.
  2. Add the mixture to a pot over medium heat and then add the chocolate chips. Once it begins to bubble, whisk continuously for about 4 minutes until well heated and has thickened just a bit. You don’t want to overcook it, or it will get too thick. I found this to be the perfect level of sweetness, but if you want yours a tad sweeter, add a little more maple syrup. Remove and pour into mugs and add whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, cinnamon, etc. Enjoy!
  3. This makes enough for 2 mugs. If you are just wanting 1 serving, then place the rest in the fridge and when you are ready to use it, give it a good whisk and reheat on low.

Thank you Brandi from The Vegan 8 for this mouth watering recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Of course we had to add a pumpkin spice latte, and yes, pumpkins also come with a long list of awesome benefits. Pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens, which help prevent hypertension, and contains vitamin A, which promotes good vision. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which can assist the brain in converting tryptophan into serotonin — great for sleep issues — and the flesh, used in the recipe below, is high in fibre, which helps protect the heart, improve digestion, and manage blood glucose.

Ingredients

For the Salted Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup (80 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean, seeded or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  • 2 tablespoons (1 shot/1 ounce) espresso
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons (15 to 20 mL) Salted Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • Coconut Whipped Cream, for garnish (optional—I usually skip it)
  • Dash cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

Instructions

  1. For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup: Whisk together all syrup ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat. Simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Once cool, pour leftovers into a jar and secure lid.
  2. Prepare the espresso or pick some up from a local coffee shop.
  3. Add milk into a small pot. Heat over medium and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat. Froth the milk using a milk frother or a French press. Tip: I use my French press to froth the milk. Simply add the heated milk into the press and secure lid (make sure it’s closed and not vented). Pump the plunger vigorously for about 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful, as the hot milk can shoot out.
  4. Pour hot espresso into a mug. Top with all of the frothy milk. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the syrup, to taste, and gently stir to combine. Top with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and Coconut Whipped Cream, if desired. Serve immediately. The syrup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, most likely longer. You can use it in regular coffee, too, or try stirring it into a bowl of hot oatmeal for a seasonal twist!

*If your pumpkin puree is on the grainy side (some brands are more than others), it might benefit from a quick blend or puree in the blender or food processor before using.

Thanks to Angela of Oh She Glows for delivering another delicious recipe!

If you really want to incorporate more pumpkin spice into your kitchen this fall, check out 5 Delicious Fall Recipes That Actually Include Pumpkin Spice, which has recipes like energy bars, baked apples, and even hummus.

 

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Awareness

Tips On Overcoming Sleep Problems During Pregnancy

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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep in the Third Trimester is a Challenge

As the body changes, a pregnant woman may suddenly find a handful of reasons she can’t get to sleep at night. Try these tips for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

A common complaint among pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester, is the inability to fall (and stay) asleep at night. Many factors are often to blame, making it difficult to know exactly how to address the issue. From growing size to frequent urination, there seems to be no break for a rest. But some very basic techniques can help pregnant women get the sleep they need.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

As the body changes throughout the first and second trimesters, some women may notice changes in their sleeping pattern. Most, however, aren’t too affected until they reach month seven or so. As the body rapidly adapts to the growing baby, some issues may arise:

Frequent urination can be a huge annoyance. As the kidneys do double-duty to filter the increased blood volume (about 40% more than normal), the body produces more urine. At the same time, the baby’s growth has increased pressure on the bladder, making the time between bathroom trips very short. Babies active at night may also increase the number of trips for some mothers.

A rapid heartbeat is needed to pump that extra blood throughout the body, but some women find it difficult to relax in these circumstances.

Shortness of breath, due to pressure on the lungs and the release of certain hormones, can make it a challenge to fall asleep at night. As the fetus grows, the diaphragm will compress more and more, increasing the pressure on the lungs.

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Aches and pains are quite common, since a pregnant woman’s center of balance shifts and places extra pressure on new areas. Leg cramps and lower back pain are a typical night-time complaint since the hormone relaxin is working to stretch out and loosen the ligaments to prepare for delivery. Injuries and strains become more likely later in pregnancy.

Digestive problems, like heartburn and constipation, abound as the process of digestion slows down. Food backs up in the digestive tract, taking longer to break down, and the result is mom’s discomfort.

Get Comfortable

Doctors recommend that pregnant women lay on their side at night to allow proper blood flow throughout the body. For stomach- and back-sleepers this might be difficult, but it’s important. Choosing a comfortable mattress and pillows is a must as they will help make a pregnant woman more comfortable at night. Use pillows under the belly, behind the back, and between the legs. Try experimenting with different pillows (body pillows, wedges, etc.) and different positions.

Get Prepared

When it’s almost time to get to sleep, start preparing the body for bedtime. Take a relaxing bath, have a glass of warm mylk, or a night-time massage. Putting the mind at ease can help make the transition to sleep easier. For some, foods high in carbohydrates, like a snack of bread or crackers, will help with sleep troubles. And to limit bathroom trips, be sure to avoid drinking fluids too close to bedtime!

Get Healthy

The right nutrition and exercise can go a long way, especially during pregnancy. Certain things should be avoided and added to optimize sleep:

Adding calcium to the diet will help to curb those painful leg cramps.

Protein-rich diets can ward off those unpleasant pregnancy nightmares.

Skipping caffeine, or limiting it as much as possible, can have a dramatic effect. Many pregnant women’s bodies cannot break down caffeine, so it remains in the system much longer than usual.

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.

Get enough fibre to reduce constipation.

Try yoga for relaxation, walks to keep joints limber and moderate activity to help promote sleep. Adding exercise every day might be the key to getting to bed at night.

Paying attention to the body, staying relaxed, and getting the right nutrition is essential to quieting the mind and getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Follow these tips and try to stay positive; only a few more months (or weeks) to go!

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Lifestyle

10 Quick & Nourishing Smoothie Recipes That Taste Great

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into a filling, delicious meal any time of the day. In our fast-paced world, they help provide a great way to stay healthy on the go.

  • Reflect On:

    If you find combining sugars and fats bloat you, keep them separate. Sugar that comes from eating whole fruit is not the same as added sugar!

Have you ever compromised on a nourishing and filling breakfast because you are running late for work? Well, it has happened to all of us, especially women with kids.

And the good news is, smoothies! That’s right! Smoothies are nutrient-rich, delicious and can be made within minutes. You can replace it with your coffee on-the-go as it is much more healthy, filling, and tasty.

Here are 10 such smoothies prepared using a variety of fruits, veggies, and other ingredients. Some of the ingredients are rich in antioxidants, some are protein packed, and a few others are the best anti-inflammatory foods. So indulge in a smoothie marathon and try out one of the below smoothies each day; either as a fully-loaded breakfast or as a filling snack.

Breakfast Smoothie

This is a protein-rich breakfast which is clean and detox-friendly. It consists of,

  • 180ml of coconut milk
  • 1tsp cacao 1tsp coconut oil
  • 120 ml coconut water
  • 25 grams of oats
  • half a banana (either fresh or frozen)
  • 1tsp almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes

Blend everything together and you are ready to kick start your day on a super healthy note. It contains protein, fibre and all the essential nutrients required for a wholesome breakfast.

Peanut Butter Banana Apple Smoothie

Another protein packed smoothie that is just delicious! This recipe is as easy as it comes.

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  • Add two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • a banana
  • some sliced apples and
  • a few ice cubes

There you go! Banana will give you instant energy, protein from peanut butter, and loads of vitamins and minerals from apple. Nothing can get better than that!

Watermelon Basil Smoothie

Another simple and quick smoothie with just three ingredients. It is healthy, quick and delicious. This smoothie includes watermelon, basil and coconut water. It is super-hydrating and healthy. Watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. It aids conditions such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. Basil is an amazing source of vitamin K, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. What more do you need?

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Cherries are the best summer fruit ever! Put one cup of cherries along with one cup coconut milk and one scoop of protein powder. It is naturally sweet, creamy and full of deliciousness. This will fulfil your daily dose of protein in a single gulp! Cherries are packed with antioxidants and cancer-preventing elements. Studies show that it also promotes sleep by increasing melatonin levels, relieve arthritis pain, reduce belly fat and is an excellent post-workout snack that can reduce muscle pain.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

 This healthy and tasty smoothie has only three ingredients; Strawberry, banana and non-dairy milk or water. Just throw all the ingredients and then blend! It’s creamy, colourful, healthy and delicious! Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, and dietary fibre good for skin health and can beat the top moisturizers in terms of the benefits offered. It will help to keep skin healthy and glowing and fights aging, acne, and wrinkles. The banana provides increased energy throughout the day. It can be consumed as a perfect healthy breakfast or as a snack.

Pineapple smoothie

With just two ingredients, it is possible to have a tropical beach experience at home. Don’t know how? This pineapple smoothie is just what everyone needs. Frozen or fresh pineapple and almond milk are the only ingredients in this. It is quick, easy and a perfect after workout drink. This combination can never go wrong. Pineapples improve bone strength, eyesight, delays muscle degeneration and aids in digestion. Having this smoothie first thing in the morning can help with smooth bowel movement.

Banana Blueberry Chocolate Smoothie

Who doesn’t love chocolates? This smoothie can fix the craving for chocolate and in a healthy way. Adding sugar and other sweeteners can ruin the whole purpose of having a healthy smoothie. Cocoa powder is a perfect substitute that can solve this issue. And blueberries offer a myriad of benefits such as regulate cholesterol and heart diseases. It has fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

The ingredients are

  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Water or crushed ice can be added.

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

This is a nutrient-packed smoothie with simple and easily available ingredients. Simply put 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop of green powder, one tablespoon vegan yogurt, two handfuls of spinach, some almond milk, few mint leaves and 1tsp cocoa powder. The greens offer plenty of vitamins and minerals along with the benefits of avocado. Mint acts as a palate cleanser and improves digestion and bowel movements. It also reduces the symptoms of inflammation, depression, asthma, respiratory diseases, promotes oral care, cures nausea and headache and even prevents cancer.

Post-Workout Smoothie

Tired of the same old peanut butter? Try this smoothie recipe with non-dairy milk, almond butter, bananas, one tablespoon of flaxseeds, natural oats, and honey. It is packed with protein, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of other nutrients. Needless to say, extremely delicious. Makes up for an excellent post-workout snack that promotes muscle strength, repair of damaged cells and provides energy.

Beetroot Cinnamon Smoothie

The ingredients are,

  • 1 small raw beetroot
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • ripe banana
  • ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

This smoothie can be customized by adding more fruits or greens. It is perfect for breakfast or as a snack option. Beetroot is a good source of iron, nitrates, magnesium and other antioxidants. It also improves skin health and glows, lower blood pressure and prevent dementia. This smoothie is an ideal option for a pre-workout meal.

So what are you waiting for? Try out these incredibly easy and healthy smoothies and pamper yourself with a great breakfast that nourishes your soul. It’s time for some self-love!

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266886.php
https://bellatory.com/skin/Top-5-Benefits-of-Strawberry-for-Skin
https://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

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So far, the response to this interview has been off the charts as people are calling it the most concise update of what's happening in our world today.

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Consciousness

8 Comics Showing How Much Today’s Childhood Differs From Ours

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The childhood experience today is inevitably affected by--and sometimes even centered on--technology.

  • Reflect On:

    What is technology giving to our children, and what is it taking away? Should we be more proactive about our children's exposure to technology?

When I was a child, there was no shortage of getting told by our parents and other adults about how much better we had things than they did when they were children.  Stories of having to walk for miles to go to school, sleeping in the same bed until they became an adult, having the same food all the time, and having only a few simple toys to last them several years were not uncommon at all. There was a definite sense that as society modernized, things were getting better for children.

And as children we certainly didn’t disagree — hearing our parents’ stories did indeed make us feel that we were better off than they were. We certainly would not be inclined to exchange our childhood for their more rugged, austere version. And yes, to some extent these stories gave us a bit more ‘appreciation’ for what we had, despite not showing enough of it to satisfy our parents.

How About Today?

Today, I’m not sure that familiar line of conversation that has spanned many generations is going on anymore between parents and children. As the father of a 4-year old, the most immediate difference I notice is that we seem to have less time for our children than our parents did, especially if both parents are working full-time, which is just about a requirement these days.

The other major difference is the level of technology children have access to. And in some ways, technology has come in and ‘filled the gap’ where a parent’s attention is absent. Now, undoubtedly, there are some benefits to technology for our children. But when we take time to reflect on it, we might recognize that we have come to a particular stage in the modernization of our society where most of us are not sure that ‘newer, bigger, faster, more convenient’ is necessarily better, especially with regards to the type of childhood that serves as a foundation for a happy and prosperous adult life.

Here are 8 pictures comparing childhoods then and now, where technology has become ubiquitous in the lives of our children. Do you think our children have it better than we did?

Are they having more fun?

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Are they being more creative?

Are they more ambitious?

Are they healthier?

Are they understanding consequences better?

Are they feeling things more deeply?

Are they experiencing more frustration?

Is their sense of wonder being cultivated more?

How Did You Score It?

How you answer these questions might give you some insight into how much you want your children’s early experiences to be influenced by technology. As everyone knows, childhood is the most formative time of a person’s life, which is why, as parents, some of the choices within our control that we make about our children’s exposure to technology might have a significant impact.

Drawings courtesy of Sergey Raskovalov.

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