Change can be messy like a turmeric latte explosion

I wish I had a picture of my mom’s turmeric latté explosion of last week. If you have cooked with turmeric, you know one speck of the powder stains for life, and so can surely appreciate the enormity of the mess caused by a 16-ounce golden latté splattering all over her living room.

Like many, my sweet mother is not the most welcoming of change. She loves routine, familiarity, and the comfort of life remaining as is.

For as long as I can remember, she has wrestled with symptoms of osteoarthritis in two fingers. The stiffness and discomfort makes even the most basic activities a struggle and painful. She has known turmeric to be beneficial for joint swelling and inflammation for about as long as the pain has been present.

In order to treat naturally, she has been taking turmeric capsules. Grouping the gel caps with other supplements is an easy way to get them in, but she knows eating turmeric with fat and black pepper significantly increases the absorption, and thus efficacy of the curcumin (turmeric’s active plant compound).

No wrong doing here. We all cut corners in our self-care in order to make change. It is fine. It is better than fine, actually. At least we are doing something good for ourselves.

And, we can always do better.

Doing better takes effort though. And in her case, that meant allocating an extra five minutes to her already jammed full days to heat the turmeric, and drink it rather than taking capsules.

About this time last year, I was making her turmeric tonics most days of the week. She expressed then a desire to start making them for herself. She knew doing so would take more time, but that the ritual of creating something deeply nourishing would be even more therapeutic.

And so, I created a recipe for a Turmeric Latté (a.k.a Golden Milk.) I listed the ingredients and instructions on a pretty little card, and secured it to the front of her refrigerator where it hung all these months without being made.

Poor little latté, didn’t get any attention. Sad.

Change. It is hard. I get it. We ALL get it!

Fast forward to last week. The night air was crisp and inviting, and we decided a casual walk through the neighborhood would feel nice. I suggested we bring along hot drinks to keep us cozy. Me––ashwagandha hot chocolate, and for her, she was bubbling with excitement over choosing to make, and bring along her turmeric latté.

Into the kitchen she went, while I relaxed in the living room, waiting for her tonic to come together. She asked a few questions of me to ensure she was preparing it as intended. She was, and I could hear the smile in her voice.

In just a few moments she appeared holding a huge mug that I had given her for Valentine’s Day at least fifteen years earlier. Her grin was bright, and cheery. She was thrilled to have taken the time to do something sweet for herself. From where I sat, I verbally patted her on the back. I knew how much this meant to her.

She took a sip, closed her eyes, and smiled. “Mmm…this is delicious!” She took another sip…”this is…”, and then came the loudest crash and explosive sound I have ever heard inside a house.

I was a foot away from where she stood over the coffee table. The mug had broken away from the handle she still held, and we witnessed bright yellow milk splash onto the table, and then onto the carpet, and splatter on every bit of furniture and every object within five feet of range––shelving, the mirror, books, framed pictures, plants, my computer, and the sofa.

The brightest yellow stains you ever did see.

I could not help but take note of the intake papers and class schedule for a body realignment program she signed up for that same week (another huge leap in the direction of self-care). They were drenched in golden milk.

We rushed to get towels of any sort that could forever be imprinted with the memory of this event. We patted, sopped up, and wiped down all surfaces as best we could.

After about half an hour, we looked at what could not be remedied at that moment (the carpets), put on our sneakers, and went for our walk.

We laughed the whole way, reciting the debacle from our various points of view. We giggled at the timing––that just when she had said ‘Yes’ to herself, she was met with resistance.

I thought then, there is often resistance when we embrace change. It is part of the transformation. It is what we choose to do with that resistance, that contrast, that shapes us into even stronger, more resilient, more appreciating individuals.

My mom did not let this event stop her. She moved forward with her commitment to her new ritual, and has made it to her body realignment class two times this past week.

Like her, we all have the opportunity, in any given moment to choose self-care despite the resistance––to move through it, and press forward no matter how messy it may be.

Just in case you want to make this deeply therapeutic beverage, the recipe is below. Just make sure to use a sturdy mug!


1 teaspoon ghee, coconut oil, or grass-fed butter

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Pinch black pepper

Pinch cinnamon

12 ounces almond or other nut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons liquid sweetener of your choice (I like honey)


In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm oil or butter. Add turmeric, black pepper, and cinnamon, and heat for just a few seconds. Pour in milk, add vanilla, and sweetener. Warm to desired temperature, and then froth with an electric milk whisk. Pour into your favorite mug, and enjoy!

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