The last few days I’ve been quite under the weather with a very unexpected cold that hit our home. I rarely fall prey to the common cold or flu, but this past winter has proven anything but easy on my immune system. I speculate it can be attributed to having a harsh and lengthy winter on the West Coast, a very cold/slow start to spring, and being a somewhat sleep deprived new parent. Moreover, once the weather starts turning towards spring, I find myself over-zealous about “do[ing] all the things” related to outdoor activities. This year, I may have done too much too soon and, thus, succumbed to another cold (sigh).
Thankfully, we’re all speedily on the mend.
Regardless of being under the weather, Steve and I managed to get the garden beds cleared and ready for planting in the coming weeks, all the while our son practiced his steady hand while transferring plenty of dirt out of the garden beds and onto the dog (poor Frankie). That healthy dose of fresh air worked wonders for helping me sleep through the annoyances of being a ‘mouth breather’ for two days. Coming in from the garden each day, I soothed myself on this luscious adaptogenic chocolate Reishi mushroom blend.
The term adaptogen is given to any natural substance considered to exert a balancing effect upon the body and aid our ability to adapt to stress. Adaptogenic foods or “functional foods” (i.e. Maca root, Ginseng root, Rhodiola Rosea) have long been revered in traditional medicines around the world. Thankfully, they’re gaining much deserved recognition as of late for their veritable panacea-esque properties. You’ve likely heard of Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) which has become quite popular within the last 10 years. It’s been scientifically tested in several countries for it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, stress reducing, liver protecting and immune boosting properties. Reishi is well prized for it’s numerous documented health benefits and has been my favourite adaptogen for many years.
My history with Reishi is filled with the utmost gratitude, appreciation and respect. There was a time in my life when physical burn out, over-training, and harsh emotional stresses lead to chronic and often debilitating anxiety and panic attacks with regular bouts of insomnia. Those years were some of the hardest I’ve experienced, yet equally some of the best for what they taught me about self-love, equanimity and nutritional healing (not to mention the importance of saying ‘no’, among other treasured lessons). Through those years, I was determined to heal myself as gently and as naturally as possible; I cannot share enough love for the Reishi mushroom. Anyway, I’ll save the details of my healing story for another time…it’s something I’ve been meaning to share for quite a while; look for that post in the near future.
Today, I consume Reishi as a tea or in warm blends, such as this recipe. Reishi has a slightly bitter/woody taste, but is easily hidden in chocolate or other sweet flavours. To be honest, I don’t mind the taste of Reishi on it’s own and often have it straight up with warm water right before bed. But, when I’m in the mood for chocolate or something worth savoring, I love combining it with cacao/cocoa powder to add a subtle uplifting effect. Overall, Reishi’s stress reducing, immune enhancing and balancing effects are quite beneficial for me simply because parenting, amidst it’s joys and laughter, also come with many long nights, early mornings and emotional tests (let’s be honest).
My preferred brand, in case you were wondering, is Organic Duanwood Reishi Extract from Hyperion Herbs; they have a great selection of quality tonic herbs, so feel free to check them out if you want (this post is not sponsored, I’m simply a very happy, long time customer).
One last note I’ll throw out: be mindful when you’re trying a new food or supplement for the first time; we’re all different and sometimes respond differently to new ingredients. Use discernment for yourself, start slow and talk to your trusted health professional in advance, if need be.
Wishing you happiness, health and new found joys as spring makes it way into our lives. Seriously though, is it ever going to look like spring out there?
* this post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links which yield me a small commission (at no extra cost to you) should you purchase through them. Thank you in advance for supporting brands that help make my little blog possible!
ADAPTOGENIC CHOCOLATE REISHI WELLNESS BLEND
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 tbsp organic cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/4-1/2 tsp organic reishi powder I prefer Organic Duanwood Reishi from Hyperion Herbs
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of nutmeg for garnish
In a small saucepan, add the almond milk, cocoa powder, reishi powder and salt. Whisk continuously over medium heat until warmed and steam just starts to rise (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in the coconut oil and maple syrup.
Pour into your favourite mug, and top with a pinch of nutmeg.
as reishi is a very dynamic adaptogen, start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up if need be; start slow when trying any new food ingredient. I have been consuming reishi for many years and use 1/2 tsp in most wellness blends made for myself.