So here’s how spacey I can be: I put a sweet potato in the oven on Monday, thinking I’d have it later in the day with ghee and a sprinkle of Autumn spices. After an hour, its sweet aroma called me from my office. “Done!” it was signaling. I went and turned the oven off.
On Tuesday night, 3 hours away on a road trip with my mother, just before falling asleep, I remembered that little packet of Ojas, still sitting all by its lonesome in that now cold oven. Uh!
What happened? Too embarrassed to tell my husband, I let it remain there until I got home late the following night, whereupon I gently drew it from those dark cavernous racks, slid it into a safe, cozy place in the fridge, and then in the morning, knowing I had to use it or lose it, popped it in the blender and made a breakfast smoothie.
Being morning, following a full week of teaching and traveling, I knew it would offer the grounding I needed, but also wanted warming spices to rev up the morning fires. So I added a bit of fresh ginger, splashes of cinnamon, dashes of cardamom, and a sprinkle of fresh grated nutmeg. That, along with fresh Almond Milk, made for the gentlest, Autumn-welcoming, home-coming breakfast I can remember. Ever.
But then, as I mentioned, my memory is not that reliable… especially in Autumn. You see, in Ayurveda, Autumn is what we call the “Vata” season. Vata relates to the air element, which is windy and can make us restless, scattered, spacey. To balance the light, mobile, dry, cool qualities of Vata, we want to favor foods that are substantial, nourishing, wet and warm (either by lightly cooking and/or spicing). It’s almost like we are looking for foods we can sink into, foods we know will love and take care of us, foods we can trust.
I was having what we call in our house “a Vata moment,” and that sweet potato was just what I needed to restore balance. Amazingly, given how long it had sat, it was as good as if it had just been baked. That’s a food you can trust.
So here’s the recipe. If you omit the water, you’ll have something like a Sweet Potato Pudding, a great healthy dessert or snack. But I made it into a Smoothie because I needed something drinkable. That’s just the way mornings are for me.
Sweet Potato Chai Smoothie (or, Sweet Potato Pudding)
Makes enough for 2
1 small Sweet Potato (or half a large one)
1 cup Almond Milk
1/2″ inch coin Ginger, peeled
1 generous shake of cinnamon
A more reserved shake each of Nutmeg, Clove, Cardamom
1 t Raw Honey
1/4 cup Purified Water
Option: 1/8 t orange zest
Pierce your sweet potato and bake at 400° F for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Put it in your blender with everything, except the water, and mix on high until it is smooth. At this point, you’ll have something like a pudding. You could spoon this into dessert bowls and enjoy it like a sweet snack, or for a Smoothie, add water until you get the consistency you desire. Pour and serve, with a spoon!
This is so good you won’t believe it is good for you: tonifying, balancing, grounding, it is both Vata and Pitta pacifying. For Kapha, add more water, more ginger and clove, and maybe even a good shake of cayenne.
Given how healing and hormone-balancing sweet potatoes are, this is another truly delicious example of Mother Nature loving you. To Mother’s nature in you, Namaste!