Soon after my son was born, the weather turned very cold. Although we had plenty of sunshine (I was still in Santa Fe at that time), I was chilled to the bone because I was somewhat anemic from my pregnancy. I soon learned about Hygge, which is the Danish secret (pronounced hoo-gah) for “surviving and enjoying the winter.” I understand it as the art of creating a cozy internal and external environment, where one can feel like they are cuddled up in a large woven wool blanket, by the fire, sipping something hot, and listening to French café music. But that’s just me!
My Hygge secret concoction…
After I was sure my son was sleeping soundly, down for morning nap, I would light the fire and some candles, turn on the radio (low of course) and quietly pull out my secret ingredients for warming and strengthening my body.
Here is the recipe I used…
Milk of choice 4 oz
Brewed green tea 6 oz
Cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon
Cardamom 1/8 teaspoon
Turmeric 1/8 teaspoon
Ginger 1/8 teaspoon
Black or Cayenne pepper just a dash
Cocoa 1 to 2 tablespoons
Honey or stewed dates
In a pot, bring the tea, milk (and stewed dates if that is what you are using) to a simmer. Melt in the cocoa powder, then add in the Cinnamon, Cardamom, Turmeric, Ginger and pepper. Matcha can be substituted for the brewed green tea. In that case you would use 6 oz water in the place of the green tea, and whisk in the matcha at the end, as it is a delicate ingredient. Too much heat can destroy the medicinal compounds. If using honey, place the desired amount into your 10-12 oz coffee/tea mug, and then pour the hot mixture over the honey into the mug.
Once cooled, breathe in the aromas from the steam. Go to your happy place and let the concoction warm your body and soul.
The ingredients are anti-oxidant, circulatory, hormone balancing, calming, cleansing and warming. Coconut milk is very moistening, and can cause loose stool, but is excellent for blood deficient constipation and dryness of the intestines. Cow’s milk can cause gastrointestinal distress but if you can tolerate it, the chai spices in the mixture help to break it down and make it more digestible. I prefer to press house made nut milk with organic almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. Stewed concentrated dates are a blood tonic, and can help in the post partum phase for new mothers.
A side note about chai spices…most of them do have a blood thinning property, so they should be avoided or used in moderation if there is a problem with bruising or if someone is using blood thinning medication.
Your Hygge practice
I hope this information is a great addition to your Hygge practice for the winter months here in Colorado! Stay warm.
Amber Reynolds is an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist. Email her your questions here. Call 720-279-8726 to schedule your consultation.