Almond milk, or badam milk, is a great homemade sleeping remedy and a comforting warm drink for evenings. Traditional Indian badam milk is made with cow’s milk, almonds (badam), saffron, cardamom (and maybe some other spices, such as nutmeg) and sugar.
A Natural Sleep Remedy
Indian badam milk is not vegan/non-dairy almond “milk”, but real dairy milk with added almonds. Milk is an important source of protein and calcium in India, especially for its large vegetarian population, and in the traditional Indian medicine Ayurveda it is appreciated for its nutrients. If you have problems digesting milk, boiled milk is easier for the stomach than un-boiled milk. Boiling also helps to reduce milk’s mucus-creating effects.
Badam milk is especially useful for sleeping problems that relate to vata or pitta imbalances. A vata type may wake up in the very early hours of the morning (after 2 am) and not be able to fall asleep again. A pitta type may have similar insomnia symptoms but wakes up in the middle of the night (before 2 am) and has trouble getting back to sleep.
A Nourishing Evening Drink
Warm badam milk is one of the most comforting drinks you can possibly have in the evening. It will help you to fall asleep and it is highly nourishing too. Milk and almonds give you protein and calcium as well as many other nutrients. Saffron is a valued spice and it is used in Ayurvedic cooking and medicine for its many health-giving properties, including as a remedy for stomach troubles. It is the most expensive spice in the world, but you only need a tiny pinch of saffron to make badam milk. Saffron will also give the drink a yellowish color. Jaggery (unrefined whole cane sugar) is used in India as a sweetener; you may want to use brown sugar or raw cane sugar.
After searching online for a good recipe that would resemble real Indian badam milk, I have found three:
- Homemade Badam Milk on Easycooking
- Badam Milk on Rice Spice and Everything Nice
- Indian Badam Milk (with added rose petals!) on Flavors of Mumbai (“kesar” in the recipe means saffron)
Each recipe is a little different but it can only be fun to try every one of them.
Nora Isaacs: Ayurvedic sleep aids on Yogajournal.com
Photo: Badam Milk by Divya Kudua (photo from Flickr.com)