A Warming Tonic for the Final Days of Winter
by Sophie Slater
On a whim, I recently bought a small container of goat’s milk the other day. While drinking the earthy tasting, calcium-loaded substance, I was reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s reference to goat’s milk in his autobiography “The Story of My Experiments with Truth.” After years of complete abstention from animal products in observance of ahimsa (the yogic self-discipline of non-violence) and frequent fasting, Gandhi-ji’s health was in jeopardy. His new doctor, Dr. Dalal insisted the emaciated Gandhi-ji add goat’s milk to his diet. After some resistance, he complied and his health improved in due time. Resentfully, Gandhi-ji committed to drinking goat’s milk for the rest of his life to stay strong.
What makes goat’s milk so nourishing? Quite a few things. Goat’s milk is a complete source of protein and loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and potassium. It’s non-mucus forming and has anti-inflammatory compounds that can help boost immunity and fight bone-demineralization. It’s also less allergenic than cow’s milk as it’s alkaline versus acidic, making it an option for lactose intolerant people. Likewise, it’s naturally homogenized, so nutrients and positive bacterium aren’t lost in the pasteurization process. It has a slightly higher fat content that cow’s milk, though the fat globules in goat’s milk are smaller and easier to digest. While reduced fat versions are available, I prefer to buy the full-fat version and drink it in small quantities.
I decided to mix up the following Ayurveda tonic using goat’s milk, ghee, turmeric, a pinch of dried ginger, and a few strands of saffron. This relaxing concoction benefits digestive and joint health. Ghee, a nutty tasting clarified butter made out of cow, goat, or sheep milk, is considered a medicine in the science of Ayurveda. Increasing my intake of ghee in the dry winter months helps lubricate my joints. Turmeric, an anti-inflammatory miracle spice, is also wonderful for the joints. Read more about it’s medicinal attributes here. Ginger is known as a digestive aid and adds a sinus-clearing kick to this tonic. Saffron, which is a more decadent spice, is believed to alleviate asthma, depression, and menstrual pain. For a little sweetness, you can also add a teaspoon of raw honey. This can be particularly relaxing to drink shortly before bed. You can also use any type of non-dairy milk for this recipe, such as almond or soy.
- In a small saucepan, heat 4 to 6 ounces of goat’s milk (or any non-dairy milk).
- Whisk in a little under 1 tsp of ghee, ½ tsp of turmeric, and a pinch of ginger.
- Heat until warm.
- Pour into cup. (Honey and/or a few strands of saffron are optional.)