I flew home to Los Angeles yesterday afternoon and was greeted by a cacophony of iPhone alerts: Urgent emails and meeting notifications, love notes from friends I got to catch up with in San Francisco, and a warning that my car battery might be dead by the time I got to it—an interior light was left on, noticed by a neighbor, reported to my landlord. Stress abounded! I took a deep breath and steeled myself for the long Lyft wait at LAX.
Luckily I was still high off the buzz of an amazing book event at Omnivore Books on Saturday, vibrating with the excitement of sharing Kale & Caramel with all of you. By the time I got home to West Hollywood (handily ignoring my potentially dead batteried-car for just a few minutes longer), I needed fuel. And fortunately for me, a batch of Phoebe Lapine’s golden milk chia pudding with cinnamon yogurt was waiting for me in the fridge (spiked with my favorite golden milk shortcut: Big Heart Tea’s Cup of Sunshine Dust blend of turmeric, ginger, and spices).
Phoebe’s book, The Wellness Project, has been a faithful companion over the past month, a reminder that no matter how busy I am, it’s ok to take a breath, ask myself what I need, and deliver that nourishment however possible. Without judgment. With love. Phoebe herself is an emissary of this wellness gospel, having lived through the hell of autoimmune disease and returned with a generous, humorous, and insightful tale to tell.
Phoebe’s words feel less like gospel, though, and more like conversation exchanged with a wise best friend. That friend who knows you, knows just what you need, and knows exactly how to make advice feel like innate wisdom you’ve known all along. In large part, that’s because The Wellness Project began as a simple yet transformative question that Phoebe asked both herself and experts in their field: “If you could tell someone to make just one lifestyle change that would have a profound effect on their general well-being, what would it be?”
From there, as she writes, “The Wellness Project was born.” Phoebe spent the rest of her year as her own wellness guinea pig, seeking to pinpoint the precise foods, habits, and supplements that would bolster her ailing immune system, under the supervision of some of those same experts.
From taking complex herbal cocktails and completely rebooting her diet to rewilding her microbiome, taking meditation classes, and starting an Artist’s Way morning pages writing routine, Phoebe’s wellness journey is breathtaking in scope. Her curiosity and willingness are heartening. And her gritty admission of all the muck along the way to balance is a salve in and of itself.
Now, when I wake up and grab my Sunshine Dust to make a golden milk latte or blend into Phoebe’s delicious, anti-inflammatory golden milk chia pudding, I am reminded of the patience and humor that steeled Phoebe every step of the way.
I won’t spoil anything for you, but there’s a passage towards the end of The Wellness Project that struck some deep soul chords:
As I connected the dots of my health, I realized how the internal dialogue of doubt I always thought just made me human—the self-deprecation I had mistaken for modesty—was actually causing me the most harm. Discovering that underlying anxiety was behind my back problems, my insomnia, my adrenal fatigue, and perhaps my autoimmune disease itself was a big revelation that came up again and again during my project.
Get this book for every part of your being, and revel in its imminent relatability and candor. Phoebe has created a wellness masterpiece, and a book to keep close as an ally in health for many decades. Lucky for me, I get to be with Phoebe in vivo on June 15th for a panel discussion here in Los Angeles with Pamela Salzman, moderated by Suzanne Hall, editor-in-chief of The Chalkboard Magazine. More details soon!
Golden Milk Chia Pudding with Cinnamon Yogurt
Reprinted with permission of the author from The Wellness Project, copyright 2017 Phoebe Lapine, Pam Krauss Books.
- 2 15-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk (4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (or Cup of Sunshine Dust)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (omit if using Sunshine Dust)
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 3/4 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt (about one 7-ounce container)
- additional toppings: fruit, coconut flakes, bee pollen
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, the vanilla, turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and the ginger. Bring to a simmer, whisking until the spices are well incorporated and the milk is a vibrant golden hue, about 2 minutes. Be careful that the milk doesn't boil over! Transfer the golden milk to a mixing bowl and chill in the fridge, covered, until room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Add the chia seeds to the golden milk, stirring to distribute. Cover and refrigerate until the chia seeds are plumped, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt, the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
Stir the pudding to make sure there are no clumps, then spoon into individual bowls, 8-ounce mason jars, or ramekins (about 3/4 cup per container). Add 2 heaping tablespoons of the cinnamon yogurt, garnish with other toppings if desired, and enjoy. The pre-made chia pudding cups will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.