I spend a lot of time thinking about inflammation. My mom had an autoimmune disorder called Schleroderma that eventually led to her death, so the topic is important to me on multiple levels. In this modern world that we live in, exposure to inflammation is a constant occurrence. It comes from pesticides in our foods, GMOs, environmental pollutants, chemicals in cleaning products, and so many other things that are part of our everyday lives. Our bodies can ward off a certain amount of these irritants and still be ok, but for some individuals there comes a tipping point when a massive inflammatory response occurs. If this happens enough times, then an autoimmune disorder can follow. We can help to mitigate these factors by first recognizing what the risks are, and then by limiting our exposure to them. Despite our best efforts, a certain amount of susceptibility will always be there, and there are measures we can take to counteract any damage that occurs. By keeping ourselves strong and healthy, we can weather the storm.
So all of this lead me to consider that if we are constantly being exposed to physical irritants that can lead to an inflammatory response, is the same thing occurring emotionally? I think it is. If we start with environmental factors alone, we are being barraged on a daily basis with utter nonsense from the highest office in the land, that is disheartening, frustrating, and frightening. It’s mind-numbing, and we’re all trying to carry on as best as we can without always acknowledging the high level of anxiety that we’re feeling. Added to that is the stress that technology brings into our lives. We now have the capability to be in touch with everything and everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In many ways it’s wonderful, but it doesn’t allow us time to reflect and recharge, and that can be depleting. How many times do you wake up to face a new day already feeling exhausted from the one before it? We all operate at a hectic pace, with unattainable to-do lists that make us focus on the items we didn’t check off rather than the ones that we did. These are the external factors, but then there all the things we internalize, like relationships and conversations that if they are even the slightest bit difficult, they will kick up the level of inflammation even more.
What is the answer or the remedy for all of this? When my kids were teenagers, I would tell them to draw circles on a piece of paper and assign situations and people a level within those circles. Only the most important ones that were closest to their hearts belonged in that innermost circle. I think we need to apply that same kind of thinking now. We need to protect ourselves from that which threatens our emotional well being. We need to keep as much out as possible, and when certain things cross the line and find their way in, we need to to neutralize them as best we can. We need to seek peace, comfort, and healing in the people, places, and things that soothe us the most. We need to concentrate our best efforts only on that which is truly deserving of our focus and attention. And when it’s time to fight, we can rise up if we need to, but we’ll never be able to enter into battle if we already feel depleted and exhausted. So draw your circles, assign your levels, and know that it’s okay to be somewhat protective of your heart. Those that already have it will benefit.
For today’s cocktail, I wanted a drink that soothes the soul. I went with bourbon as my base and then added a honey/turmeric tea syrup and some lemon juice in a simple riff on a Whiskey Daisy. You can use your favorite bourbon, but if you’re local then I’d encourage you to give Cooper River Distiller’s bourbon a try. The second batch was released a few weeks ago and it’s the perfect blend of warmth, sweetness, smoothness, and a bit of spice from the rye component. Cheers, everyone. I wish you all a wonderful weekend filled with the things that matter to you the most.
2 oz Cooper River Distillers bourbon
¾ oz honey turmeric tea syrup*
¾ oz lemon juice
Shake all the ingredients with ice until very cold, Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel. Enjoy!
*Make a honey syrup from ½ cup of water and ½ cup of honey. Add one cup of turmeric tea brewed at double strength.