This Saffron Tea Could Be The Next Golden Milk (Recipe)

saffron tea almond milk

I don’t consider myself to be a food blogger (there are tons out there that are much more skilled than I am) but I do find happiness in creating simple, no-BS recipes every once in a while. Plus I get a lot of requests to share more recipes!

While I was in India earlier this year I went to a yoga studio in Mumbai called The Yoga House. Attached to the yoga studio, there was a really cute café which served American classics —like a PB&J — to traditional Indian food with a healthy spin (think quinoa upma).

I saw that they had saffron tea on their menu and I was intrigued because I had never heard of anything like it before! I was surprised how good yet simple it was. Plus I felt like a queen drinking it because saffron ain’t cheap.

I recreated the original recipe and also added my own twist by making one with almond milk and honey. I loved the creaminess of the second one!

Move over turmeric, there’s a new golden milk in town.

The New Golden Milk (i.e. Saffron Tea with Almond Milk):

Serving size: one

  • 4 oz water
  • 4 oz Califia Farms Almond Milk, original (it adds the perfect amount of sweetness)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp of honey (optional)

mortar-pestle

Instructions:

Boil water in a saucepan. Crush cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle (other option is to wrap cardamom pods in a paper towel and crush it with a glass jar if you don’t have a mortar and pestle) and add to the saucepan. Let it boil for a minute or so and then add the almond milk.

Add saffron strands then turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Place the almonds at the bottom of the tea up and pour in the tea. Stir in honey if desired. Enjoy!

Alternative recipe: follow the same instructions but omit the almond milk to create the original saffron tea I tried at The Yoga House in Mumbai.

saffron-tea

Health benefits: Saffron is known to have anti-oxidants

The hardest part of these recipes is making sure you have saffron because it’s not something everyone have lying around in their spice cabinet. Luckily, you can find it easily at any Indian grocery store or even on Amazon.

Like this recipe? Well then I’m sure you’d also like try this one for a raw turmeric latte!

This herbal saffron tea with almond milk and honey may be replacing your turmeric lattes, aka golden milk

How I am Making the Tone it Up Bikini Series My Own

 

tone-it-up-bikini-series

This year I’ve finally decided to participate in the Tone It Up Bikini Series: an 8 week fitness challenge hosted by the founders of Tone It Up, Karena & Katrina. It’s a big step for me because I’ve never successfully completed a fitness challenge before.

Some challenges had way too many rules, other’s didn’t speak to me, but other times I just I didn’t believe in myself. Not too long ago, I was still working on improving my relationship with food & exercise. Whoa, I think that’s the first time I’m ever mentioning that online. That’s a big deal for me.

I’d find myself obsessing over my food & body much more than I’d like. I’d compare myself to others far too much and spent too much time criticizing my own flaws. I was aware of my somewhat “unhealthy mindset” and I knew a fitness challenge may make me focus more on the superficial than I should.

It’s taken me a lot of trial and error to get to where I am now but I am at the point where I feel comfortable and happy with my relationship with fitness. I’m ready to give this challenge a shot.

I’m someone who marches to the beat of their own drum so I don’t think I’d be successful if I tried to follow all the rules of the challenge. For example, I’m not exactly following the TIU meals on their nutrition plan nor I am doing all of the TIU workouts. They do, however, serve as helpful guidelines.

Everyone has different goals for the Bikini Series but here are my top 3 I’d like to achieve:

My Goals:

  1. Successfully complete my first challenge. Really all I want is to keep my motivation going for 8 weeks. And I want to make sure I continuously love and accept myself the way I am the entire way through it. One week down already!
  2. Become a morning person: my goal is to wake up by 6:30 at least 4 times a week to either get in a morning workout (aka “Booty Call”) or to take time to write for my blog. Two of those four days I teach, so it’s really only 2 more days I need to get motivated for.
  3. Prep my meals. I’m lucky to be fed both breakfast and lunch at work so I really only need to prepare one healthy snack and dinner for each day. I easily get stressed/overwhelmed by cooking and I want this challenge to make my life easier! I’ll definitely be using the meal plan for inspiration.

I know I wouldn’t be sticking to this challenge without my accountability groups. I’m part of two group threads with other women who are participating in this challenge. We don’t only talk about working out, but literally everything and anything in life. Everyone is so supportive and kind. I’m a bit introverted so I was scared I’d be overwhelmed but it is quite nice I must say :).

Okay that’s all I have to say about the Bikini Series now. I feel even more accountable sharing this online.

Do you have any questions about it? Shall I do another update in a few weeks? Are you doing it as well? Let me know in the comments below!

Santa Cruz Half Marathon

Hi!

I’m back to the blog. Honestly after this race I felt like I lost my motivation and discipline and needed sometime to get back to my routine. I’ve also been traveling these past few weekends so it was hard to make time for blogging with my 9-5, teaching, and life in general!

Anyways, race recap blog posts hold a special place in my heart. I started writing these posts back in college and it’s always so fun for me to look back at them years later and relive the race experience. I feel like they are posts I write for myself more than anyone else but hopefully you still find them entertaining ☺.

I usually recap the race by breaking it down into mile chunks but honestly I didn’t feel too differently in mile 3 than I did at mile 10! So instead, I’ll focus on three key factors of the race: mind, body, and nutrition.

MIND:

I was genuinely so excited about the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. It was a great excuse for a one-day getaway to a beach town with my parents and my boyfriend and I was excited for a chance to run another race after my IT band injury last year.

I didn’t experience the normal anxiety and nerves I usually do with half marathons and I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, I’ve done a few half marathons by now so I know what to expect at a race; two, I didn’t put too much pressure on myself for a finishing time. Yes I knew I wanted a sub 2 hour final time but if I didn’t achieve it I knew there would be more races.

BODY:

Training was relatively short at eight weeks but it was consistent. I ran three times a week and paired my runs with strength training and POP Pilates training. I feel like core strength and lower body strength made a huge difference in a running. Thanks to Fleet Feet SF’s training program, my runs were a mix of hill training, speed work, and challenging long runs!

NUTRITION:

This was my first half marathon after I started to work with a nutritionist and my diet change helped a lot with my energy levels. In the past I’d feel tired and uncomfortable after long runs and I think it’s because I’d refuel with food that didn’t sit well with my stomach. This time around I had more control of my energy level.

THE OUTCOME:

I PRed at a time of 1:52*!! I shaved off 10 minutes my last PR: part of the difference is due to the fact that SC is far less hilly than SF, but I also think the mind, body, and nutrition prep did wonders.

I felt like a million bucks right after the race but a couple of days later I felt like I lost all discipline. I think I need a new goal again ☺.

*1:52 is my approximated time because for some silly reason the race ended at 12.7 miles…I had so much more energy left in me I wish it kept on going! I added 5 minutes to my official time of 1:47:18 to get my PR time.

Santa-cruz-half-marathon

How to Train for a Half Marathon Like a Boss

So, you’ve signed up for a half-marathon eh? Congrats! I can only imagine the excitement and nerves. One of my happiest moments in my life was when I completed my first half marathon in Fall 2013. It was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (sad they stopped that race) and it was a magical experience. It’s pretty crazy to think that this Sunday I’m going to run my 7th half marathon, this time in Santa Cruz!

Now I am no expert or certified coach, but I am someone who’s had a fair share of trial and error when preparing for half marathons. Here are some tips I wish I had when I first started training:

Planning

  • Select a race! This part is so exciting and what makes training so much more real! When choosing a race think about what matters to you: is it the cost, the location, the scenery, the course terrain, the date? Then use sites like Running in the USA to help you find the perfect race.
  • Find a training plan: The Nike Run Club app is a great place for a customized plan otherwise the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Guide is a reliable resource. Or maybe you want to do some research and join an in-person training group ( I LOVE this option).
  • Choose your long-run day: it’s important to dedicate one day out of the week for your long-run. I’ve personally prefer Saturday as mine!

Workouts

  1. Run at least 3 times a week: Personally, I usually run no more than 4 times a week because my body does get quite tight from running so I like to cross-train or strength train instead on other days.
  2. Speaking of strength training, Make sure you’re doing. I neglected strength training when I first started running half marathons and it was a big mistake that led to injury. I find it especially important to strengthen your core & glutes because we easily forget about those two when running. I highly recommend POP Pilates videos for core work!
  3. Find a buddy: Running partners are great for accountability and motivation. They are super helpful for long runs.  Ten miles by yourself may sound daunting, but with a friend or two to keep you company, those miles fly by easily.
  4. Foam rolling is your new best friend. Foam roll, stretch, or do yoga on a consistent basis to help relieve muscle tightness for ideal recovery. You should be scheduling time for foam rolling in your training regime.

^ugh I miss these necklaces…

Nutrition

  1. Training for a half marathon isn’t an excuse to eat/drink everything in sight…unfortunately. Eat wholesome, nutrient-dense meals when training for a half marathon. Don’t overdo alcohol, caffeine, and heavy foods.
  2. Be mindful of what you eat the night before and the morning of long-runs and races. For dinner I’ll have a lean protein, vegetables, and complex carbs. For breakfast, I’ll eat a smaller portion of overnight oats, a smoothie or fruit before a run. Then, I like to refuel with some protein and carbs.
  3. For long runs, make sure you are carrying water, enough calories, and possibly electrolytes. I like taking Gu chomps for runs longer than 70-80 minutes and I recently started to hydrate with Nuun after my longer runs.

Mind

  1. Stay relaxed and have fun! Along with physical fitness,  mental fitness is super important when training for a half marathon. Don’t stress if you aren’t following the plan perfectly (here are some tips if you are struggling with motivation). Listen to your body throughout the process. In the end, it’s only a race!

Feeling ready yet? Now go own this race! Please reach out if you’d like any more tips or have any other questions.

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Registered Dietitian Dixya Bhattarai Shares Her Nutrition Tips!

I am so excited to present this interview with blogger and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Dixya Bhattarai! I met Dixya through an online blogger community and I was thrilled to meet another South Asian blogger. I also could not stop drooling over her food pictures on Instagram (find her @foodpleasurehealth). I finally tried her vegan pots de creme recipe for Valentine’s day and from then I knew she was the real deal. A little bit about Dixya: she’s originally from Nepal but currently calls Dallas home. She has a really balanced approach to food & nutrition and I am all for that :).

I’ll let her tell you guys more!

Easy Vegan Pots de Creme

+Introduce yourself to us please 🙂
Hi everyone, my name is Dixya Bhattarai – Registered Dietitian & Food Blogger behind Food, Pleasure, and Health. I am also a daughter, sister, girlfriend, and a chronic tea drinker (among many other things) currently based in Fort Worth, Texas. When I am not at the hospital working as a Clinical Dietitian, I love to cook, read books (with interesting pretty covers), or hanging out with my 4 year old fur child. I used to run regularly but within the last 2 years or so, I have picked up yoga, weight training, and brisk walking.

+How did you get interested in nutrition and then later get a degree as an RD?
When I first moved here [from Nepal] I had no idea what I was really interested in so I took general classes to begin with. My cousin was pursuing her nursing degree at that time and told me about a major in nutrition. I don’t recall if I did any research or anything on becoming an RD (it was long time ago), I simply signed up for a basic nutrition class and loved it. I took couple more nutrition classes and a career as an RD just felt right. I had an excellent academic advisor (Laura Mcknight) and internship director (Golda Ewalt) who has helped me tremendously to become an RD I am today.

+What is one change a person can make to their lifestyle to focus more on their nutrition?
Making health and wellness as your top priority is probably one of the challenging yet simplest thing one can do in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Once you prioritize your health and treat it like an important appointment (such as going to the gym at 7 pm, meal planning every Sunday afternoon, or going to bed at 10 pm), you will naturally start paying attention to nutrition.

Sprouted Mung Bean SaladSprouted Mung Bean Salad

+What can one do to make South Asian food a little healthier?
Growing up in a household where rice, daal, and vegetables were eaten twice a day and few snacks in between, I know we can definitely do better at using less oil while cooking vegetables and less sugar in tea especially if you drink tea 3-4 times a day with snacks.

South Asian food can be well-balanced and really nutritious but we tend to fill our plate with more carbs (rice, bread) compared to protein, vegetables, and fruits.

A lot of our snacks are deep-fried, sweet laden, and salty so we can perhaps replace some of those with healthier alternatives such as fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds.

+What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?
I love trail mix, granola, energy bites, or fresh fruit.

+Can you share some of your favorite recipes with us?
I am not a chef or a culinary expert so I do a lot of non-traditional weeknight-friendly wholesome recipes that are delicious. Some of my fav recipes include:

Tofu Palak
Chicken Tikka Lettuce Wrap
Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas
Sprouted Mung Bean Salad
Golden Milk Popsicles

Tofu Tikka Masala

Please do let me know if you try her recipes! I’m particularly craving the Tandoori Roasted Chickpeas :).

DIY Turmeric Face Mask to Moisturize and Brighten Skin

turmeric face mask

Indians use turmeric for everything: food, medicine, drinks, and yes, even for face masks. This easy DIY turmeric face mask is a great at-home remedy to brighten and moisturize your face and skin.

Fun fact: turmeric is also a very important ingredient in Indian weddings – especially for a particular ceremony – the haldi. The haldi (which means turmeric in Hindi) is celebration held for the bride and groom at their respective homes. A turmeric paste is gently applied to the their face and feet. According to Hindu teachings, turmeric is supposed to cleanse the body and soul and marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives for the couple!

There are many variations of different turmeric masks but I picked one that’s easy and convenient. You only need a few ingredients and a few minutes to put it together. FYI – whenever I share a DIY project or recipe, rest assured that it will always be pretty straightforward. Because I can’t deal with complexity.

You’ll only need 4 ingredients: turmeric, yogurt, honey, and oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour you can sub it with rice flour or gram flour, or skip it all together!

turmeric-face-mask-ingredients

 

DIY Turmeric Face Mask to Moisturize and Brighten Skin
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 tbsp of yogurt ( I used plain greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp of oat flour (gram or rice flour works too)
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. If the mask feels too dry you can add a little more yogurt to get the right consistency.
  2. Use a mini rubber spatula to apply the mask to your face, avoiding your eyebrows and hair. If you use your fingers to apply it, be mindful of your nails because turmeric does stain!
  3. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wash your face thoroughly with warm water to remove the mask. You may need a couple of rinses to get it off completely. I like doing it in the shower so I don’t have to worry about staining my clothes. An old towel also helps remove the last bits of color.
  5. You can keep the mask in the refrigerator for about a week. If it starts to dry out, add a little more yogurt (or milk) to fix the consistency.
 

Now why is this so good for you? First turmeric has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Honey has antibacterial properties as well. The lactic acid in yogurt helps remove dead skin cells and moisturizes your skin at the same time. Finally, the oat flour also acts as a gentle exfoliant & hydrates dry skin.

***A few important reminders about turmeric.

1.A slight yellow tint may remain on your face if you don’t wash thoroughly but don’t worry it’ll go away by itself.
2.Turmeric does stain clothes so beware!
3.If you have facial hair (especially if it’s light in color) don’t put turmeric on it.

 

 

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This easy turmeric face mask is made with oats, honey, yogurt and turmeric and is used to brighten and moisturize your skin