Do you ever have those moments when you realize you have been go-go-go and weeks have now passed and you haven’t had any time for yourself, let alone your husband?! Well, that was me last week. I had been so busy with school and getting the blog going that I had ran myself into the ground; time for a weekend in the fresh mountain air. We live very close to a few ski resorts in British Columbia and they had just received record high dumps of snow, perfect for skiing and snowboarding. There is something so peaceful about the mountains and being within the trees and the clouds. Just “being”, not having anything to do but whirl down the mountain, fall in the snow and appreciate “this moment”. Boy, did I need that.
It seems as though we are constantly on the go with work, family, and extra-curricular activities that we often times forget about #1: ourselves! Trust me, I’m just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this. However, stress manifests itself in our health in so many negative ways. The constant roller coaster of hormones and blood sugar that stress brings on, wreaks havoc on our immunity, nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system and not to mention our mental health. In today’s society it has become even more essential to take time for ourselves by slowing down and enjoying the present moment. Yes, I know, this sounds extremely hard; it is hard for me too! But, this is where I found myself last week…and craving a coconut chai.
Ironically, we typically reach for caffeine when we are busy and need that extra push, but in fact, coffee is doing the exact opposite for our adrenal glands (adrenals = think how we handle stress). When we drink caffeine, it is actually depleting our adrenals farther, making it even more difficult to handle stressful situations. Kind of funny how that happens, right?! Don’t get me wrong, I still love coffee; the taste is heaven. However, now I limit my caffeine intake to tea, chemical-free decaf coffee, and this coconut chai. This homemade, comforting cup-of-goodness is a delicious treat: it’s sweet, creamy, spicy and the aroma will fill your home like you have been cooking all day. Best of all, it supports healthy adrenals instead of depleting them!
This coconut chai is an anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting powerhouse. Cinnamon is great for blood sugar balancing and is packed with antioxidants. Cardamom, ginger, fennel, cinnamon and anise are all digestive aids and the honey is packed with natural vitamins and minerals. Many of the ingredients like allspice, vanilla, orange zest and cinnamon even have anti-cancer properties. I bet you can’t find that at Starbucks!
If you don’t have all the ingredients, don’t let that deter you from trying this recipe! The first time I made it without ginger and fennel seeds and it was still amazing! Use what you have available and see what you come up with. Most of these ingredients will probably already be in your pantry. If not, you can find them in the bulk section of your local health food store or your local grocery store. If you are like me and can’t have just one cup, double the recipe to make 4 servings and store it in jars in your fridge. Make too much? I cooked my oatmeal in a cup this morning for some chai-spiced oats!
I’m still dreaming about the peaceful weekend in the mountains. At least I have a comforting cup of coconut chai to take me back. Don’t forget to spend some quiet time with yourself today, and I’ll try to do the same. Keep calm and chai on!
- 2 cups of pure, filtered water
- 2-3 Tablespoons of honey or maple syrup for a vegan option*
- 1, 6-inch piece of cinnamon
- 2, 2-inch square pieces of orange peel
- 2 star anise
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 vanilla bean or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1/2 inch square piece of ginger, peeled
- 6 allspice
- 4 black peppercorns
- 6 cardamom pods
- 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 4 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon hibiscus leaves
- 3/4 cup of full fat coconut milk
- 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or homemade)
- In a small sauce-pan, bring water, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, orange peel, star anise, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to a simmer.
- In a mortar and pestle**, gently crush the allspice, peppercorns, cardamom pods and fennel seeds. Add the ground spices to an empty tea bag along with the cloves and hibiscus leaves.
- Add the tea bag to the sauce-pan and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
- Remove the tea bag, cinnamon stick, orange peel, star anise and vanilla bean. Add the coconut milk and almond milk. Stir, let the chai latte heat and pour into mugs. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!
- *I wrote 2-3 Tablespoons because some like it sweeter than others. I advise to start with 2 Tablespoons and adjust accordingly.
- **If you don't have a mortar and pestle, place the allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, and fennel seeds in a bowl and crush lightly with a meat tenderizer or any other heavy kitchen tool.