I think amber teething necklaces are largely placebo effect but I'll help you find the best one if you want me to, because you are an awesome mom and you deserve to have it work whether I believe in it or not. I tend to roll my eyes at new "superfood trends" but if they're delicious, they end up in my cupboard just the same — which, if you've been in my house, explains the chia seeds and my weird thing about kale.
I've been known to buy so many boxes of medicinal teas that Jason can no longer figure out where to even put them. We're basically putting the child of someone who works at Traditional Medicinals through college with the enormous amount of their "Cold Season Sampler" we buy each year.
I voluntarily paid five dollars for a two-serving bottle of "immune booster" at a semi-vegan restaurant in Asheville and it was delicious.
I genuinely love to go into natural health and hippie stores and wander around, touching this crystal or looking at the warmth of that salt lamp. I marvel at the sheer immenseity of supplements and tinctures and herbs and teas and vitamins and things that are in vitamin bottles but apparently are not vitamins and just... all of it. There are even fancy lip balms.
Those of you who have been following along here for a while may remember the last time I wrote about going to the hippie store, when my willingness to impulse-buy led to me accidentally kind of buying drugs.
While I've been back to the store a few times, I've largely managed to keep myself from buying mysterious packets I don't understand... until this week.
I ran in on my lunch break to pick up a brand of shampoo I'd seen there about three dollars cheaper than anywhere else. That was all I intended to buy.
Tea tree shampoo with something called "neem" in it.
Ten dollars, in and out.
I walked out thirty dollars later with a bag full of things, including something that definitely wasn't drugs this time.
Out on a table just inside the entrance I saw a pile of boxes, opened up to show the single-serve packets inside. They were about a dollar-fifty apiece and I felt the urge to impulse-buy rising.
The one I looked at first was labeled "Hot cacao mix with reishi mushroom powder".
I was intrigued. I'm intrigued by anything that is almost but not quite entirely unlike a thing I love.
Just behind it were several variations on reishi mushroom coffee mix but honestly, even for me that is a bridge too far.
There wasn't much information on the packet itself. I didn't know what a reishi mushroom was, or why it would be desirable in something that wasn't hot chocolate.
I asked the cashier what she thought of it.
"Oh, I tried that!" she said brightly. "Once I poured a lot of almond milk in there, it got way better!"
This did not seem to be a ringing endorsement.
Still, I'm always up for spending a couple of bucks to maybe one day teach myself a lesson about why I need to stop being up for this, so I bought it and away I went.
I returned to my office at work, boiled up some hot water, and poured it into a mug over the powdered mix. The packet is carefully noted to be used with just three ounces of water.
Honestly, this seems like maybe the people who make this sort of thing wildly miscalculated how much liquid most people expect to drink at once, but hey — they're making money and this is America, you want to sell three ounces of not-hot-chocolate mix for two dollars, find someone willing to buy it and then go bathe in those bathtubs full of mushroom powder money.
"Oh good, it'll be WATERED DOWN not-quite-chocolate," I said out loud, before remembering I was the only person on my side of the building.
I added in some milk, like the cashier had suggested. I stirred and spent a moment staring into the cloudy liquid, which mostly looked right.
I took a sip.
The first thing was that I felt like cinnamon punched me in the face, bitter mushroom flavor showed up to kick me while I was down, then cacao (which tastes like chocolate's refined French-Canadian cousin who wishes I would stop mispronouncing "poutine") finished things off by patting me nicely on the shoulder and apologizing for the other two.
I finished the whole mug, because I am a grown up and I had spent two dollars on this.
Then I looked up what a reishi mushroom is. If you were thinking I would have done this before I purchased and consumed a strange packet of powder at the hippie store, you are wrong.
The websites I found suggested that reishi might be the key to near-immorality. Okay, I could put up with getting my senses assaulted by really bitter and angry cinnamon every day if I lived to do yoga when I was 102.
I'd have to use two packets to get a decent mug's worth of it, but hey, it'd still be less than a third of the sugar in your hazelnut latte. I don't like how those taste either, even though I inexplicably keep ordering them.
I looked up the brand for this "hot cacao mix" online, and saw that a box contained ten packets. So, one box would make approximately five drink-sized drinks.
Or ten drinks for very small elves.
It would also cost twenty dollars.
Well, I don't need to do yoga at 102. If you're 102, every single stretch you could possibly do is like yoga.