While I absolutely LOVE my locally roasted organic coffee, I also think that there is something to be said for keeping things varied, and for not loading the body with tons of caffeine every morning. Variety is the spice of life, you know. Plus, studies have shown that consuming high amounts of caffeine can negatively impact cortisol. Caffeine acts to increase cortisol secretion by elevating production of adrenocorticotropic hormone by the pituitary gland. Excessive cortisol production can lead to a variety of health issues, including an overactive immune system, disrupted sleep, impaired digestion, and depression. When you consume caffeine, your cortisol level increases and can stay elevated for up to 6 hours. With daily consumption, your body will adapt somewhat and not produce quite as much cortisol, however true immunity cannot happen, and your cortisol will increase more dramatically in response to stress. If you have difficult managing stress as it is, caffeine is not helpful to you. Plus, it’s nice to be able to say that you aren’t dependent on anything – coffee included.
Anyways, with all of this in mind, I decided to dive into new ways to have a morning cup of goodness (we are creatures of habit, after all) that would add a little spice (literally) to my life. Tea is a great way to ween off of the high caffeine content of coffee without losing it all together. I have actually never been that into chai until now, but the smell always intrigued me, and I thought I would try something new out. This new recipe knocked my socks off (third try was a charm), and I can’t wait to try out different types of tea (green is next) and report back. But first, let’s talk about some of the benefits of chai and why I went in this direction to start.
First of all “chai” simply means tea, so to say chai tea is a bit redundant. Let’s start broad here; TEA (black, green, white, oolong, etc) is one of the best sources of dietary antioxidants there is. And there is no shortage of benefits that can be gained from drinking it.
Now let’s talk about the SPICES commonly included in the chai that so many have grown to love.
Cinnamon – delicious and nutritious! This stuff boasts tons of benefits, from improving insulin sensitivity and blood lipids to providing antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic properties. ( and MANY more too)
Clove – Clove has one of the highest levels of antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic activity around.
Ginger – We’ve got a great anti-inflammatory spice here; ginger is a potent source of antioxidants with beneficial effects on blood sugar, carcinogens, and those pesky “bad” blood lipids.
Cardamom – Here we have another anti-carcinogenic spice that can lower high blood pressure and provide all kinds of great antioxidants.
Now let’s talk about what makes this recipe special. Have you heard of the whole concept of adding butter and coconut oil to coffee? Well, it stems from Tibetan practice of Yak Butter Tea (or pho cha). We know of the health benefits of coconut oil (MCT oil for an extra boost) and that beautiful stuff called butter (grass fed butter or ghee, specifically), and the benefits of chai are made clear now too. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.
So clearly, I was sold from the research, but after trying this stuff, I am hooked! Next up? Finding myself some yak butter. How cool is it to imagine starting your day with a warm bowl of pho cha, laughing with a group of Tibetan monks? It warms my soul just thinking about it.
So here is my first recipe for coco butter tea. Chai is great, but any high quality, organic tea will work wonders!
coco-butter tea (GF, NF)
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1 cup organic hot tea brewed per instructions (I have tried chai, green macha, black tea, and cacao tea – THIS is my favorite)
- 1 TB grass fed butter or ghee
- 1 TB organic coconut oil (or MCT oil for an extra health kick)
- For an extra flavor kick: 1/2 tsp organic vanilla, cinnamon, and/or raw honey
- OPTIONAL: If you are trying to get more protein in to your day (especially in the morning when it’s harder to eat big meals for some people) add 1 serving of Vital Proteins
WHAT YOU DO:
- brew hot tea
- put it in the blender with remaining ingredients
- blend and ENJOY!
NOTE: You can let this sit for an hour or so, add some ice and enjoy cold on a warm summer day!
I find a sense of peace and calm (with a burst of energy) when I drink this, especially when sitting out back on the lawn. The creative juices just flow…. Live Rad, my friends!