Today we were lucky enough to have a visit from the very beautiful Lee Holmes in Food Matters HQ as she headed around Australia on her book tour for her new book 'Heal Your Gut'. We made some yummy recipes with her ( recipe below) and talked all things gut healing! 

Inflammation lies at the root of many chronic illnesses, and a majority of them start within the gut as an autoimmune reaction that develops into systemic inflammation. 

This is my favorite drug-free weapon of choice for combatting inflammation.  It’s a golden hued suit of armour in my arsenal of gut healing recipes taken from my new book Heal Your Gut.

Drinking this toddy will provide you with a natural way of soothing the body in a way that tastes delicious; laced with creamy cashew milk and perfumed with healing spices. 

Inflammation lies at the root of a number of chronic illnesses, and many of them start within the gut as an autoimmune reaction that develops into systemic inflammation. When inflammation strikes, we are conditioned into reaching for a quick fix in the way of pharmaceutical or prescribed drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, temporary panacea’s that come with their own adverse side effects and with long term use have the potential to create a host of health problems independently. 

But not all inflammation is harmful. Acute inflammation is a beneficial thing; it’s the body’s protective and localised response to infection or injury. When you fall off your bike, or when you feel your glands swelling as you fight off a cold, the inflammation you experience is designed to heal your body and to restore normal tissue function. However, if inflammation persists due to an autoimmune reaction, allergy or other health complication, it becomes chronic inflammation which can cause long-term problems.

A number of ancient Ayurvedic Indian spices may help to reduce chronic inflammation and pain. Curcumin, a compound found in the vibrant coloured and subtly flavoured spice, turmeric, significantly reduces inflammation in the body. In fact, the healing properties of curcumin are so effective that they are used in a variety of treatments for arthritis. 

Combining turmeric with black pepper, as I do in this recipe, will help to increase the body’s ability to absorb and digest the curcumin due to its pungent piperine content.  Black pepper has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory properties of its own too. It’s known as the “king of spices”, praised for its antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Black pepper is also great for those of us with digestive issues, as it’s much milder in taste and gentler on the stomach than its feisty counterpart, cayenne.

Another root, similar in appearance to turmeric and frequently cited as being an effective anti-inflammatory, is ginger. Ginger, a zesty spice used in many Asian cuisines, can be purchased powdered, pickled, or as a fresh root in most health food stores, grocers, and major supermarkets. 

Adding a slice of fresh ginger and lemon to a large jug of water in the morning and sipping on it throughout the day is a more flavoursome way to reach your daily hydration quota. Ginger has been used as a traditional medicine to treat stomach upset, headaches, and infections and recent scientific studies confirm that it does indeed have potent anti-inflammatory actions. It’s for this reason that ginger, as well as turmeric, are often prescribed as digestive aids in traditional medicine. Both have the ability to soothe an inflamed stomach and pacify the stomach lining.

Cinnamon, another popular spice incorporated into this Toddy, is known for adding flavour and a subtle sweetness to dishes. It’s also a healthy sugar substitute. Keep a good supply of it on hand and sprinkle it onto your warm beverages, breakfast cereals and yoghurts, Indian-inspired dishes, or even on plain fresh fruit.

Cinnamon is more than just a delicious flavour enhancer. This delicious spice also has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help to ease swelling, especially after acute injury. All nuts and seeds are considered beneficial for bowel regularity and, due to their high monounsaturated fat content, can help line the gut and increase nutrient absorption. 

There are three ways to get the maximum amount of gut healing from nuts, soak them, blend or chew them well and enjoy them in moderate amounts.  Nut butter and nut milk, can also make them much easier to digest as the body doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down. Being one of the softer more pliable nuts, cashews, when blended with water, make a rich, creamy milk that resembles full-fat cow’s milk. 

When trying to heal your gut, for some people minimizing dairy intake can help as dairy is often loaded with sugar and can have an acidic effect in the body.  Many people with sensitive stomachs can also fail to produce enough lactase, the enzyme required to digest dairy, and so it may ferment in the gut and cause a range of tummy upsets.  This is where plant-based milks really step up. 

This anti-inflammatory toddy makes the perfect supper beverage after a day of eating when your digestive symptoms are likely to be at their worst due to the accumulation of food in the stomach and overwork. However, everyone can benefit from the healing properties of this delicious healthy tea which can be enjoyed anytime and by anyone, regardless of their digestive health. 

Anti-Inflammatory Toddy

Serves 1

  • 250 ml (9 Fl oz/1 cup) cashew milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • pinch of vanilla powder
  • pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 6 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • 2 star anise (optional)


  1. Heat the cashew milk in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until just warmed.
  2. Add the spices, ginger, vanilla and pepper, and then stir to remove any lumps.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve to remove the grated ginger. 
  4. Add the stevia and enjoy warm.