February 8, 2010
Listener There'sa asks: “Is chai tea OK for me or my kids to be drinking? We order it nearly every time we go to Starbucks.”
So is Chai Tea healthy? Is it an alternative to calorie-laden frappucinos or other beverages you might find at the coffee shop? With comfortable and warming flavors of clover and cinnamon, it can't be all that bad, right?
I checked out a few of the recipes out there for Chai Tea. Cane sugar, honey and citric acid are three of the primary ingredients in the syrupy concentrate that is used to make the chai tea latte at Starbucks, which hammers you with 220-300 calories per drink.
Another version of chai, Oregan Chai Tea Concentrate, is probably the most popular version of chai used by most coffeeshops and restaurants, and although quite tasty, delivers a walloping 19 grams of sugar from “organic” evaporated cane juice. Don't let the “organic” part of that fool you. Organic sugar is just the pure, nutrient and fiber stripped extract from sugar cane. Sure, they may not have sprayed the sugar cane with herbicides and pesticides. But it's just pure sugar.
Now I've been drinking quite a bit of chai tea lately. I keep a pot on the stove, simmering and prepared to sip on as a low-calorie beverage while I'm chilling at home.
Wait a second…did I say, “low-calorie”?
Certainly I did.
So what are 2 ways you can drink chai tea that is actually healthy? I'll tell you. But make sure you carefully read the last couple paragraphs of this article, because there's a couple important things you should do.
1. Use the recipe I drink at home. This will make you about 5 cups worth, and it's caffeine free, so your kids can drink it too.
4 cups water. Boil it. Then bring to simmer and add all the ingredients below. The longer it sits (i.e. 30+ minutes), the better it tastes.
10 whole cloves
12 whole cardamom pods
12 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
4 slices fresh ginger (that's the root, just chop it up)
1 cup light coconut milk, rice milk or almond milk
1 tablespoons raw honey or 1 teaspoon stevia
2. If you're at a coffeeshop, just do this:
Order the loose leaf tea or little packets of tea that are chai flavored. Ask your server to leave about an inch at the top, and fill the rest up with soy milk, rice milk or light milk, and just a small amount of honey, then top with cinnamon.
Alright folks! There are your healthy recipes for chai tea.
Do you have some other drinks that you utilize at the coffeeshop or home that you think are healthy? Or maybe you just have a comment or question about healthy chai. Did you try this recipe and like it? Either way, just leave your comment below.
AND ONE MORE THING: I'm pretty seriously considering the idea of actually sending you PHYSICAL recipes via postcard in the mail every week, along with weekly workouts. To cover my costs, something like this would probably be about $7 a month. If you'd be interested in something like this, also let me know in the comments section below. I'm also curious what you this I should name this weekly service.