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The Truth About Chai & 2 Ways to Drink Chai That Is Actually Healthy.

28 Comment(s)

chai-tea-latte

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Last week’s interview with Nancy Appleton on “Suicide By Sugar” got a lot of people talking. One listener wrote in and asked me about chai tea.

Listener Theresa 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.

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28 Responses to “The Truth About Chai & 2 Ways to Drink Chai That Is Actually Healthy.”

  1. Anonymous

    The first time I drank a Chai latte from Starbucks I was 2 sips into the drink when I started to calculate how long I would have to wait before I could come back to buy another! Serious red flag. Thank you for your recipe.

    Reply
  2. Stacey Trogdon

    Hello Ben,

    Great interview last week on sugar. Beverages are the number one contributor to sugar intake in my clients. There aren’t many alternatives out there that don’t have artifical sweeeteners. Case in point with Oregon Chai, they have a sugar-free product, but with sucralose which I am never a fan of. The slightly sweet version for 1/2 cup has 7g grams of sugar better than the 19 anyway.

    Reply
  3. Barb

    I would be interested in recipes in the mail

    Reply
  4. Susan

    A vote for mail recipes here! Call it? Benefits by Ben.

    Reply
  5. Jeff Hoening

    The only items on the menu at Starbucks without sugar are black coffee (my choice) and brewed tea. Interesting how these two items are also the items with the lowest price. Chai latte – run far, run fast.

    Reply
  6. JD

    I like the idea of a weekly postcard recipe. Call it just Postcard Notes.

    Reply
  7. BC

    I'm interested in the mailing.

    Reply
  8. Dieta Verde 2º Día (Té Chai Latte en Starbucks¿?) | Comunidad Kundalini

    [...] de la imagen click aquí This entry was posted in Sin categoría. Bookmark the permalink. ← Dieta Verde 1º [...]

    Reply
  9. paty

    We brew our chai at home and our children start craving as soon as the aroma takes over the entire house. Our family recipe also has vanilla bean and a few drops of almond extract and I have been adding two generous tablespoons of flaxseed, which doesn't add any flavor but makes it thicker and healthier.

    Reply
  10. Sheba

    I don't see any actual tea in your recipe. What kind of tea do you use and how much?

    Reply
  11. Karen

    I have a question about the trick you mentioned for the coffee shop? will they do that at Starbucks? I always order Chai Latte, thinking it was better than the coffee drinks I usually ordered. Do they have the loose chai tea or packets. Just trying to figure out how to put it into practice there.

    Reply
    • ben_greenfield

      Yes, it works at Starbucks and although they don't have loose leaf per se, they have chai tea packets – with far less sugar than the regular Chai…

      Reply
  12. Pirates Chai

    Or, simply, get a Pirates Chai.

    Reply
  13. Kimberly

    Mmm great recipe! Here's another suggestion for Chai lovers OR Chai newbs: http://bit.ly/ZRra9r
    You'll love it! I promise :)

    Reply
  14. Charlotte Freeman

    I have been drinking chai tea for 2 weeks and I started losing weight. I make it with 2 percent milk and splenda. It tastes yummy and satisfies my sweet tooth. I am not hungry after my treat and can't understand my unexpected weight loss. Has anyone else experienced this effect?

    Reply
  15. Lisa Magoulas

    I Love Chai Tea but never drink it because of the calories. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I'll have to get some cardamom pods and try it. Currently, I only have ground cardamom.

    Reply
  16. anon

    Starbucks drinks are not only sugar filled and fattening, they also contain a ton of toxic and artificial ingredients. I did a lot of research to find what’s actually in their drinks. I’m so glad that people are making their own healthy versions, homemade Chai is simply amazing!
    @charlotte splenda is awful for you. Even table sugar is better than that toxic stuff. Try some stevia leaves instead.

    Reply
  17. Kym

    Hello, i have just stumbled upon this lovely recipe, thank you! I might be missing something but need to ask, once the water is boiled, do you simmer for 30mins WITH the ingredients in it?

    Reply
  18. Idapie

    Frikkin love chai masala! I add yerba mate most of the time and use honey..and oatmilk. Yumyum in the tumtum!
    Also LOVE postcards ! I send quite a few but receive lesser and lesser ! Emailin wil never be as fun as postcarding!

    Reply
  19. Surya Bhattacharya

    The first recipe is the one we drink at home (more or less). It's a comfort drink at its finest. The BEST ones are the ones you get at the roadside stalls back home in India. The world should know :)

    Reply
  20. Sarah

    Chai tea is a black tea, so technically there is some caffeine in the tea.

    Reply
  21. sarinord

    If I made the spiced water, could I store in the fridge to use anytime and just add heated almond milk prior to drinking? I'm looking for a way to make spiced chai at work or grab & take in the morning without the full effort of planning ahead to make before I head out the door. Or could I make the whole recipe (including the heated alt. milk) and store in fridge and just heat up when I want it? Thanks so much!

    Reply

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