Chai. It’s basically a one word summary of all things I loved in my early twenties. Warm, cozy, with a bit of spice … or cold with an energizing boost. I’d take it either way.
This years-long love affair began with Caribou and a dear friend twenty years my senior. We both had dogs and would meet almost daily to run them in the woods or along the regional trail near our homes. When those mornings included frost or snow, well, then, warm spiced chai.
We shared so much time together (over chai) and made so many memories … it was a friendship much needed for my mental health at the time. We both loved to read, she taught me to sew in her basement so I could then use a machine I had been handed down on my own. With music playing in the background, deep conversation, and chai, all was right for the world during those times when outside of her nurturing space, I didn’t have much certainty.
At the time, I was dealing with my mental health, realizing I had been triggered by a trauma from the year before, but I didn’t know my mental health was also being triggered by my diet. Though there were changes already in place, they weren’t yet consistent enough to ward off the ongoing bacterial infections I dealt with. I hadn’t yet begun to educate myself (nor was this being shared with me) on the gut/brain connection and didn’t yet know about nutrition response testing.
I had no idea my daily sugar consumption was contributing to my ongoing (and building) health concerns. When I look back, goodies like my chai and love of chocolate chip cookies, bagels, cereal, pasta, homemade bread, and cheese were getting me into some big trouble — I just didn’t know it yet.
By age 23, I had been under the care of my acupuncturist for a few years, and we had gotten to the point where dietary changes were necessary to maintain and gain progress on my health. Decreasing my intake of sugars was one of them. Had I known how to find a way to continue my chai habit without the evaporated cane juice, I would have jumped on it.
Fast forward twenty years and here we are, with a special little treat, a delicious rendezvous with my past that I can’t wait to share with you.
Spiced Chai Latte
3 cups water
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp turmeric
⅓ cup honey
5-10 organic chai tea bags, depending upon strength/taste of your chai
2 cups creamer of choice (we use almond milk)
Add spices and honey to water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Steep for 15 minutes. Add creamer and enjoy. Serve hot or iced.