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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!

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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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Autistic, Alzheimer’s & Multiple Sclerosis Brain Tissues Have Significant Amounts of Aluminum In Them

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CE Staff Writer 5 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 2020 study found that the aluminum content in brain tissue of people with Alzheimer's disease, familial Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis is significantly higher compared to tissues used in the study as controls.

  • Reflect On:

    Could aluminum be playing a role in these, as well as other diseases? How does it get into our brain?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

There is no shortage of studies demonstrating that aluminum is present in human brain tissue. This is a problem given the fact that aluminum is neurotoxic and wreaks nothing but havoc on biology. This is firmly established in scientific literature. There is no debate on whether or not aluminum exists within human brain tissue, the science is settled. The debate is now focused on how much aluminum is too much. How much aluminum does it take to impact the health of a human being in a negative way?

A study published in the journal Nature compared the aluminum content in human brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease, familial Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis with healthy controls. According to the authors, “detailed statistical analyses showed that aluminum was significantly increased in each of these disease groups compared to control tissues.” They go on to mention that,

We have confirmed previous conclusions that the aluminum content of brain tissue in Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis is significantly elevated. Further research is required to understand the role played by high levels of aluminum in the aetiology of human neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disease.

The researchers used tissue from twenty control brains of healthy individuals to compare against the brain tissue of people who have had a diagnosis of the neurodegenerative conditions mentioned. The fact that all disease groups had significantly higher brain aluminum content than the control group is quite concerning. That being said, it’s not proof that aluminum actually plays a direct role in each of these diseases. The important takeaway from the study and what we know about aluminum toxicology is that there is absolutely no debate, at all, as to the neurotoxicity of aluminum in humans. It’s just not a good thing to have in your body.

The study emphasizes,

Animal models of aluminum intoxication reproduce the neuropathologies and neurodevelopmental effects of human neurodegenerative disease, if not the diseases per se. Cell models and in vitro studies demonstrate mechanisms of aluminum toxicity known to be involved in human neurodegenerative disease. Perhaps the information that is still missing from understanding of aluminum’s role in each of the diseases compared herein is how much aluminum is too much in human brain tissue. The comparison we have made herein between control brain tissue showing no signs of neurodegenerative disease and the disease groups…is beginning to answer this question. Only further measurements on more donor brains will enable a definitive conclusion to be reached on the role played by aluminum in human neurodegenerative disease.

The authors make it clear that aluminum and its presence in human brain tissue “cannot be without consequence” given everything that’s been discovered about aluminum toxicity. There is a great need for further study here and to determine how much aluminum the brain, and other organs for that matter, can tolerate before there are detrimental effects. These effects may be short term as well as long term, and they may play a role in neurodegenerative disease like the ones the study examine. It’s hard to think that the high aluminum content in the brain tissue of people with these diseases  is simply a coincidence, especially given the fact that the aluminum content in “normal” brains is significantly less.

Once you start to see these sort of data together, once you start to see the levels of a known neurotoxic metal accumulate to these levels, it is absolutely inevitable that they will contribute to disease. – Professor Christopher Exley, lead author of the study, taken from the interview below.

Exley is a Professor at Keele University, and arguably the world’s leading expert in aluminum toxicology. Exley and his work is supported by many scientists from around the world, yet he is facing a potential set back with regards to continuing his research on aluminum and disease. One hundred scientists came together and recently wrote a letter of support, stating,

We are writing to express our concern over the possible interruption of research on aluminum and disease conducted by Christopher Exley and his group in your (Keele) University. We feel that Christopher Exley’s work conducted for so many years in line with the previous research of late Pr Birchall at Keele University has been an important service to the scientific community, patients and society in Europe and globally. We firmly declare that Pr Exley has always defended rigorous research independent of commercial conflicts of interest, and has freely carried out his research without any control by any of his sponsors.

You can read more about what’s going on with regards to this situation, and access the correspondence that’s happened between Keele University (Exley’s employer), Exley, and the academics who support his work, here.

Below is a very informative interview with Exley if you’d like to learn more about aluminum and its accumulation within humans. On a side note, ask yourself, what products and substances may contain aluminum that could be contributing its accumulation in various human organs like the brain?

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Awareness

Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Awareness

Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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