Everything about chai makes me melt so I was delighted when I was offered a cup at work the other day. My full-time job is customer service on the commuter trains. A family from India who just moved to Toronto joined me in my coach on their way to Brampton. Out for a day trip to Toronto, they brought a thermos of homemade chai along for the ride. They were generous to offer me a cup too. Traditional chai is made with black tea and a combination of the following spices.
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits:
- - Cardamom: aids digestion and helps bring circulation to the lungs.
- - Cinnamon: helps prevent unwanted clotting of blood platelets, helps the body utilize blood sugar and it is also an anti-inflammatory food.
- - Ginger: helps eliminate gastrointestinal distress and gives relief from nausea, vomiting and dizziness. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
- - Cloves: has anti-inflammatory properties and is high in minerals
- - Nutmeg: has antibacterial properties and aids digestion
Unfortunately, some chai also contains sweetened condensed milk and refined sugar. I went on the hunt for a chai-makeover because I knew there had to be a way to make this bevie healthier but still retain deliciousness. I came across a recipe for a warming chai inspired beverage while perusing other health and nutrition websites (I do that a lot for inspiration... how about you??). I added my own spin to the recipe and came up with something delicious and very chai-like. This drink has even more health benefits.
- - Roobios tea: this tea made from a flowering shrub is in the legume family and it is high in anti-oxidants, flavanoids and has a soothing effect on the digestive tract.
- - Maca root: increase energy and endurance and regulates hormonal processes. It is said that maca increases libido and acts as an aphrodisiac.
- - Almond milk: high in calcium, iron and good fats. It is a great alternative to dairy milk.
Vanillla Almond Roobios Chai
Inspired by a recipe at be.Natural in Pemberton, B.C.
Makes 2 cups.
2 bags Rooibos tea 2 C almond milk ¼ of a vanilla bean (inside contents) or ¼ tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick 1 tsp fresh ginger, sliced pinch of grated nutmeg and clove 4-5 pods of cardamom pinch of cayenne 1 tbsp honey 1 tsp maca powder Make it rich option: once the tea has been strained put into the blender with 1 tbsp almond butter. Blend for 20 seconds and enjoy a rich, frothy beverage.
- Warm almond milk on the stove over medium heat until hot and steaming. Do not boil. Turn down to low.
- Add all of the ingredients except for the honey and almond butter.
- Steep tea bags for 5-6 minutes then take out.
- Steep for another 5 minutes.
- Add the honey and almond butter. Stir until mixed in.
- Strain the liquid in to 2 mugs and enjoy